We're going to conclude our series on how the Wild have been so terrible in overtime! Here are the three OT games we haven't covered yet, followed by trends that I saw throughout the season.
If you haven't read the first two parts of this, we watched every minute of overtime the Wild played this season, breaking down what the Wild have done well, and done poorly. You can read them by clicking below.
February 9th: Minnesota vs. Dallas
March 5th: Minnesota @ Buffalo
The Result: Shootout. The Wild would go on to win this game.
March 15th: Minnesota @ Ottawa
What the Wild did well: Kill penalties. Well, just one penalty- but it was a big one! The Wild managed to hold their positioning well and get some timely clears, limiting Ottawa's power play to just one shot in overtime.
Anyway, here are some things that I took away from doing this. Some will be obvious, some less so.
Those three shouldn't be on the ice together. Like, in any combination. I think it can make sense to sacrifice the speed or shooting threat, so long as you can supplement one of those three with players that can take advantage of those weaknesses. Putting, say, Granlund and Suter both on the ice means there's only one Wild player who's a threat to score, which is easier for defenses to work with.
Two-way is not the way? The Wild's game plan in overtime (both under Yeo and Torchetti) seems to be geared more towards trying to reign in the chaos of 3v3 as best as they can. That's why you see, say, Mikko Koivu- a good faceoff man and defender- log a lot of minutes in overtime. But Koivu in OT hasn't worked. He thrives in 5v5, where he can cover up his lack of foot speed by using his size and instincts to clamp down on defenses. But the more room there is on the ice, the less the game is suited to Koivu's strengths. And that's just defensively.
Offensively, Koivu's been as dynamic on 3v3 as a potato, generally not moving the puck quickly or acting as a threat to score- an issue that gets compounded when paired with Suter or Granlund (which happens far too often). When you look at who's on the ice when the Wild've gotten chances, it's often been Granlund or Haula at center. And if that's the case, and the speed of the game nullifies Koivu's defensive value, what's he doing out on the ice?
...But they've been reluctant to replicate that for themselves. Given that those guys have created such problems for the Wild, don't you'd think they'd want to try replicating that with Matt Dumba, their most dynamic defenseman? Guys like Karlsson wreak havoc by using their skating and shot to open space for themselves and their teammates. But when Dumba's been on the ice for the Wild, they've seemed content to keep him relatively stationary to wait for the one-timer. And granted- it's a huge weapon to have- but using Dumba one-dimensionally hasn't been the answer for injecting offense onto this team.