Stanley Cup Playoffs Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. St. Louis Blues
There might not be a tremendous amount of hype for the midwestern matchup taking place in the Central Division between the St. Louis Blues and the Minnesota Wild, but there should be. Both of these teams are often typecast as heavy, slow, defensive squads, but the emergence of dynamic high-end talent on both rosters in the past two seasons definitely contradicts that narrative.
The Blues and Wild may boast talented shutdown players, but do not go into this series expected a set of 1-0 slogs.
While each of these teams was expected to qualify for the playoffs before the season began, I don't think it would be unreasonable to say that they each exceeded expectations. It was fair to project that they would land in the high 90s in terms of points, comfortably in the postseason but not exactly a contender. But both of them will end the season above 109 points, the best result for St. Louis since 2015 and the best result for Minnesota since, well, ever.
This is no Mid-Fest in the Mid-West, but who's got the edge?
My playoff previews are stats-based, going off of both macro- and micro-level statistics gathered by TopDownHockey and AllThreeZones respectively. This allows us to look not only at high-level results (like goals, shots, and expected goals) but also the stylistic process that creates them (like passes, shot types, and transition play) to get a better sense of how the teams match up. Instead of comparing offence to offence and defence to defence, I'll be breaking down the offence vs. defence matchups.
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