The Minnesota Wild are content to zig when many other franchises are zagging. As many teams try load up on smaller, faster skaters during a season that has featured an unexpected, but welcome offensive explosion, the Wild are content to stockpile a roster full of size and bulk.
Minnesota has no interest in engaging in your foot race. They’re lining up massive trees specifically designed to send your sports car crashing into the boards. By willfully slowing down the pace of games and bringing the physicality every night, the Wild are attempting to engage in playoff hockey for an entire season. There are worse ways to take to the ice, even if it might not make for the most aesthetic encounters.
The Washington Capitals have a ways to go before they can focus on the postseason. For now, they’re much more focused on getting their core players back into the rotation after an absurd amount of games lost to injury during the first half of the regular season.
With their focus inward, the Capitals failed to recognize and/or counter the Wild’s straightforward tactic of placing a large gentleman in front of the opposing goalie, thereby limiting his ability to read and react to incoming shots. Minnesota scored three goals in this manner and headed home with a 4-2 win, leaving the Capitals to contemplate how they were done in by traffic in a town that has ample experience with the topic.