Wild Check-In: Gaudreau, Steel, Boldy & Rossi

The Minnesota Wild’s last week of hockey started out rough but ended on a good note. They played three games, one on the road against the Nashville Predators and two at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins and Carolina Hurricanes. They lost the first two games to the Predators and Penguins, but then they found a way to come from behind and take down the Hurricanes, one of the best teams in the NHL at the moment.

After the Wild lost the first two games of the week, things didn’t look great and when they fell down a goal early against the Hurricanes it looked like the losing spiral was going to continue. However, the Wild had a number of players step up and fight back to get their only win of the week. Even though they didn’t have a great week, they did have a number of players step up and a few took a step back.

Wild’s Gaudreau Leads Way

Being part of the top six is definitely a good way to score some points, and that worked out for Frédérick Gaudreau who led the team with a goal and two assists for three points. He tallied a point in each of the Wild’s three games just like his teammate Kirill Kaprizov who had an assist in each game for three points and tied with Gaudreau for the team lead.

Frederick Gaudreau Minnesota Wild
Frédérick Gaudreau, Minnesota Wild (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

While Mats Zuccarello and Joel Eriksson Ek each had two points and were right behind the team leaders, there was also Sam Steel, who after struggling for the last few weeks finally found a way to get on the scoresheet. Steel was one of the heroes in their win over the Hurricanes, as he scored the game-tying goal and set up the game-winner that was scored by Alex Goligoski.

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The final player that deserves a mention in the success list is Goligoski. On the night of his 1,000th game ceremony, and after being sat for the last six games, he scored the game-winner in overtime. The Wild needed that boost a close overtime win can give, and it was even more emotional thanks to Goligoski scoring the game-winner on his big night.

Wild’s Boldy & Rossi Bring Up Rear

The two names that struggled the most for the Wild, are the two that were expected to be among the best. The first player was Matt Boldy who looked like he’d be scoring goals left and right when the season started, but this last week he couldn’t find a way to score. He does have 11 points in 18 games, but that’s quite a drop from last season when he was averaging nearly a point per game.

That leaves Marco Rossi, and while many had high expectations for him, he’s had trouble accumulating any points. He’s tried many times to score but has struggled to find the back of the net, in 16 games played, he’s only recorded one assist. While his struggle is surprising due to his reputation, in reality, he is still a rookie and it takes time for new players to adjust to the NHL. Hopefully, he can figure it out soon and become an important part of this team moving forward.

Marco Rossi Minnesota Wild
Marco Rossi, Minnesota Wild (Photo by M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The last player to be mentioned in this section is goaltender Filip Gustavsson who has played better the last few weeks, but he’s still making some glaring mistakes that need to be fixed if he’s going to continue to play while Marc-André Fleury recovers from injury. During their win over the Hurricanes, he struggled a bit but he also showed some improvement and hopefully those improvements can continue until Fleury makes his return to the roster.

Wild’s Next Week

It’s going to be another week of difficult opponents for the Wild, but thankfully they’ll be at home for all three. They’ll be facing the Winnipeg Jets first who they always seem to struggle against and then they’ll face the Toronto Maple Leafs and Arizona Coyotes to finish out the month before they start a very busy month of December. They’ll play 15 games where they’ll see teams like the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Dallas Stars, and the Detroit Red Wings, all teams that will be difficult for the Wild to beat.

The Jets will be coming off a close loss to the Hurricanes so they’ll be even harder to beat and the Wild will have to act fast to keep Josh Morrissey, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Kyle Connor, and Mark Scheifele off the scoreboard. They’ll also have to find a way past goaltender Connor Hellebuyck who has a winning record of 8-4-1.

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Next up will be the Maple Leafs who the Wild only get to see twice a season and they’ll have to play good defense against Mitchell Marner, John Tavares, William Nylander, and Auston Matthews. The Maple Leafs have struggled in the goaltending department and the Wild may be in luck as they will face either Matt Murray or Erik Kallgren.

Their final game of the week will be against the Coyotes who’ve suffered a lot of losses but have managed to string some wins together in the last month. The Wild will have to be careful of Clayton Keller, Matias Maccelli, J.J. Moser, Nick Ritchie, and Shayne Gostisbehere.

The final goaltending duo they’ll face will be the Coyotes’ Karel Vejmelka and Connor Ingram. Hopefully, the Wild can build off their recent win over the Hurricanes and find a way to keep those wins coming. Luckily, they’ll be at home and will have the crowd to rely on to get them through this week and hopefully add three more wins to their record.

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