How the Wild dominated the neutral zone in Game 3 victory
Minnesota effectively grounded the Dallas attack that ran wild in Game 2.
The Minnesota Wild flipped the script on the Dallas Stars in a 5-1 Game 3 victory.
In Game 2 the Stars gashed the Wild through the neutral zone, getting up and running on the rush and dominating in Dallas.
In Game 3, the Wild grounded the Stars rush attack. Dallas struggled with any consistency in transition, and Minnesota effectively got to play the game it wanted with both teams slogging through neutral zone.
For the larger Wild, who are built on “grit” and a physical forecheck, it works great. For the Stars, who need to skate to be effective, it was a frustrating night.
With that in mind, I manually tracked how the teams entered the offensive zone throughout the game during 5-on-5 play.
This is not scientific, to be clear it is hand-tracked, but I do think it’s a good way to breakdown what happened in a game where the Wild effectively dictated and owned the night stylistically.
I tracked three types of entries: dump-ins, carry-ins, and pass-ins. If a pass was attempted but failed, it was counted as a dump-in.
For the game, the Stars had 50 dump-ins, 24 carry-ins, and 5 pass-ins.
The Wild had 41 dump-ins, 25 carry-ins, and 3 pass-ins.
(The Stars did do a half-way decent job not icing the puck, while the Wild were more content to ice the puck. That’s partially the reason for the Stars having 10 more entries than the Wild.)
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