Throughout the season, coach Dean Evans was never shy to criticize Wilde for his collective struggles on special teams. Iveson was the only thing to constantly go out of his way to criticize. And for good reason.
Despite being highly skilled players such as Kirill Kaprizov, Kevin Fiala and Matt Zucarello, as well as depth scorers such as Ryan Hartmann, Joel Eriksson and Marcus Foligno, Wilde finished 18th in the NHL on the power play, converting only 20.5. . Percentage of time during the regular season. They were somehow even worse on penalty kills, finishing 25th in the league with a 76.1 percent success rate.
Perhaps that’s why Ivson preached the importance of wild keeping things 5-on-5 during his opening-round playoff series against the St. Louis Blues. He had to know deep down that his team could not hang if it turned into a special teams fight.
That proved to be the case as the Wilds crashed out of the playoffs in a 5-1 loss to the Blues in Game 6 in St. While it was a back-and-forth series between a few teams that were evenly matched, the difference was that Wilde was terrible on special teams.
“They have to get better,” said Evans. “They literally sucked the whole year.”
In the six-game series, Wilde scored 4 for 24 on the power play, while the Blues scored 8 for 26. The series-clincher was a perfect encapsulation as Wilds scored 0 for 5 on the power play and the Blues were 2. for 6
“The biggest difference was that the special teams weren’t special to us and were special to the Blues,” Foligno said. He said, ‘When we won some matches, we were very good. Just inconsistent throughout the series. ,
There was a specific section of Game 6 that stands out as the most damaging display of disqualification. With a chance to tie the score in the middle of the game, Wilde got a power play and failed to hit the goal. Well, the Blues got a power play a few minutes later and scored what proved to be a back-breaker.
“Everyone is doing their (rear end) work,” Foligno said. “We have to find ways to do it in critical situations. we did not. they did. So they are moving forward.”
In the two matches Wilde won in the series, he was able to score 2 for 7 on the power play. Wild lost in four games, scoring 2 for 17.
“It was a similar series,” Zucarello said. “The matches we lost, they beat us in special teams,” he said. That was the difference.”
that’s an understatement. Not only did the Blues cash in on the Power Play at least once in every game of the series, they always came through in the biggest moments. There was no cheap target to pad the stats for.
“We gave them power-play goals every game,” said goaltender Cam Talbot, who started in the elimination game after not playing at all in the first five games of the series. “The penalty kill had to get better. I don’t think we’ve lost a 5-on-5 series in any way. We were right there with them, if not then maybe a little bit better.”
Unfortunately for Wilde, they were very bad on special teams.
“Obviously we were just a team (whose) special teams beat way better than ours,” Evans said. “We have to be better than day 1 next year.”