The Minnesota Wild had a very successful week of hockey at home despite snowy weather that made the area look like a winter wonderland and caused havoc on the roadways. This week’s check-in will cover the four games the Wild played over the last week and their perfect 4-0 record, as they secured wins over the Edmonton Oilers, Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks, and Ottawa Senators.
The Wild’s top scorers performed as expected and led the way throughout the week. One of those players recorded a hat trick while the other blew past an old milestone. However, where there is success there is also struggle and the Wild had a couple of players who had trouble accumulating points.
Wild’s Dynamic Duo Continues Success
Sooner or later, you’d think people would get tired of hearing the same names over and over but when it comes to Wild hockey, hearing the names Mats Zuccarello and Kirill Kaprizov will never get old. That’s what this last week of hockey was like when Zuccarello and Kaprizov tied for the top of the Wild’s scoresheet, each with eight points.
Zuccarello led the way with five goals plus three assists to account for his eight points. Three of those goals also made up his first hat trick in seven years. His linemate Kaprizov had two goals plus six assists for his eight points that contributed to his now 42 total points on the season. His last two games were back-to-back three-pointers, each with a goal and two assists. His points against the Senators in their most recent win also propelled him over the 200-point mark in his career and he’s now the fastest player in Wild history to reach that milestone.
✅23rd player to collect 200 points in 167 games or less in NHL history (T-22nd fastest).— Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) December 18, 2022
✅ Fifth fastest left wing in NHL history to reach 200 points.
✅Fastest player in Minnesota Wild history to reach 200 points.
OUR KING 🤴 #mnwild pic.twitter.com/j1SDe4ku8G
There was one player who didn’t make it on the scoresheet but he did impress a lot of people and that was Samuel Walker. He was brought up to fill one of the Wild’s open roster spots due to injuries and he played very well. He was put on a line with Matt Boldy and Frédérick Gaudreau and looked like he was meant to be there. Rather than playing like a nervous rookie, he acted like a composed veteran, and while he didn’t record any points this time around, the next time he makes the roster there’s a good chance he will.
Wild’s Addison & Shaw Drop
While the Wild had a number of players who were successful this last week, they also had some who struggled. The two who had the most trouble were Calen Addison and Mason Shaw with neither one able to record any points in the past week. Addison also had a big mistake on defense that allowed the puck to be turned over and the opponent scored.
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Luckily for the Wild, while Shaw didn’t tally any points, he also didn’t contribute to any points against his team. He went from being one of their top scorers one week to struggling to record any points the next. However, he was able to help out on defense with three blocked shots and seven hits in four games.
The last player on this list has a very small mention in regard to struggles and that is Jonas Brodin. His defensive game was as strong as most expect, but his offensive game took a hit. He’s not one of their top scorers but he is one of their top-producing defensemen and this last week he was unable to record a goal or assist. Hopefully, he can find a way to put up some points as the season moves on because the Wild could definitely use some extra offense from him.
Wild’s Next Week
The Wild’s upcoming week of hockey will be a quiet one with just two games on the schedule thanks to the Christmas holiday. They’ll head on the road to the West Coast which for all you Wild fans means some late-night starts coming up. They’ll be facing a back-to-back against the Anaheim Ducks and the San Jose Sharks before having a four-day break for Christmas.
The Wild’s defense will have to find a way to stop Troy Terry, Trevor Zegras, Mason McTavish, Erik Karlsson, Tomas Hertl, Timo Meier, and Logan Couture from getting on the scoreboard. If they can do that, they then will have to get past the goaltenders, for the Ducks, it’ll be either Lukas Dostal or John Gibson and for the Sharks, it’ll be either James Reimer or former Wild goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen.
Related: Wild’s Scoring Depth Key in Shootout Win Over Ducks
The Wild have now won five straight and will be looking to continue that streak in California before they take a break for the holidays. It would be great if they can find a way to get back-to-back wins and head into Christmas riding a seven game win streak.