You can probably forgive Minnesota Wild coach Bruce Boudreau for living in denial after his NHL team was knocked out of the playoffs on Saturday. After all, the Wild had just completed the best season in their history and had favorable seeding in the playoffs after the Chicago Blackhawks were upset.
Only things didn’t go as planned for the Wild who had their asses kicked from one end of the ice to the other in a prolonged beating spanning ten days and two cities.
But while Boudreau claimed that the St. Louis Blues “weren’t the better team”, the scoreboard said otherwise after his squad was ousted four games to one.
— NHL (@NHL) April 23, 2017
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) April 23, 2017
According to Yahoo Sports “Wild coach Boudreau says Blues ‘weren’t the better team’”:
Bruce Boudreau’s philosophy on the Stanley Cup Playoffs is that the best team usually wins each series.
“Every team is capable of winning, but usually the best team does win,” he said.
So were the St. Louis Blues, who eliminated the Wild in five games on Saturday, the best team in the series?
“They weren’t the better team,” he said, “but they won four games.”
This might sound petulant, coming from a coach whose team was dispatched in the first round in five games after a 106-point season, going from 3.31 goals per game in the regular season to 1.60 against the Blues.
But the fact is that the Wild carried the play in these games. They had 36.4 shots per game to the Blues’ 26.8, which was last in the postseason. They had a significant puck possession advantage: a Corsi-For percentage – 5-on-5, adjusted for score and venue – of 60.11 percent, best in the playoffs, to the Blues’ 39.89, the lowest.
So why couldn’t the Wild manage more than four even-strength goals in five games?
“Seriously?” Boudreau answered, dumbfounded, when asked about the offensive struggles. “We averaged 40 shots on goal per game. The goalie obviously was pretty good.”
Mr. Boudreau’s comments are an indication of the crushing disappointment of his team running into the most feared thing in NHL playoff lore – a red hot goalie and the Blues’ Jake Allen stood on his head through the entire series. Still though, the fact of the matter is that there are winners and losers and only one team will triumph in its last game to hoist Lord Stanley’s cup.
One would think that a veteran coach like Boudreau would understand how to lose with class and his snippy comments only serve to embarrass his team and deprive the Blues of their due credit.
A tip of the hat to the Wild for their outstanding regular season but everyone is 0-0 once the puck is dropped in the playoffs.