The Minnesota Wild finished up their first road trip and back-to-back of the season against the unpredictable Chicago Blackhawks on Oct. 30. Things started off quickly with a goal by the Blackhawks just over six and a half minutes into the game, but the Wild responded around 20 seconds later to tie it at one. That goal gave the Wild the advantage and they scored again a few minutes later to take the lead.
The Wild held the lead halfway through the second period until Blackhawks’ captain Jonathan Toews tied it up and it stayed that way through the end of the period. Things started to look bleak for the Wild when they entered the third and the Blackhawks stole the lead back. The Wild were now on the hot seat to tie things up and they stepped up big. They tied the game just 17 seconds later and forced overtime, and when that didn’t produce a winner things went to a shootout which the Wild won to take the game 4-3.
Wild’s Boldy Continues Dominance
Matt Boldy had a great year last season and it was hard to tell if he’d be able to repeat that performance or if he’d get stuck in a sophomore slump. From just the first few games of this season, it’s clear he’s on the way to beating his prior production as he’s upped his game. In nine games he has eight points with five goals and three assists that put him in third place on the Wild for most points.
Two of Boldy’s goals came in their win over the Blackhawks including the goal that sent them to overtime. Even in the extra frame, he found a way to dig deeper and perform at a higher level than everyone else. He hustled on the backcheck and poke-checked the puck off an opposing player’s stick to help keep the game tied. After witnessing all the hard work he did against the Blackhawks, he’s definitely earned his top-six spot in the lineup, and hopefully, his success continues.
Wild’s Shaw Makes Good Impression
Jordan Greenway was put on the injured reserve due to an injury suffered when they played the Vancouver Canucks on Oct. 20 and Mason Shaw was brought up to fill the open spot temporarily. Shaw had been somewhat quiet in the last few games, he had decent performances but nothing noteworthy until they played the Blackhawks.
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The fourth line had a new level of energy thanks to Shaw and his gritty style of play which is similar to Ryan Hartman’s. With that energy, the two other players on his line, Connor Dewar and Sam Steel elevated their game that included a beautiful setup by Steel. He flew around the corner of the net to draw out goaltender Alex Stalock, then quickly passed it to the slot where Shaw was waiting to tip it in for his first NHL goal.
Shaw went on to assist on Boldy’s final goal that tied the game and finished the game with two points, two shots on goal, and a hit in 14:54 of ice time. He was impressive enough to have a shift during three-on-three overtime and while it took a second for him to adjust, he definitely earned it and will hopefully continue to do well.
Wild’s Injury Bug Has Started
It happens every season to every team, the injury bug where several key players get injured and the team has to find a way to fill their spots. The Wild’s unfortunate luck with injuries has started, with the first person down being Greenway who was mentioned earlier. He had just returned from offseason surgery due to an injury earlier last season and now he’s injured again.
Then before the Wild’s game against the Blackhawks started, the “GREEF” line took another hit when the second member, Marcus Foligno was listed as out due to an upper-body injury and it is unclear how long he will be out of the lineup for. The third and hopefully final blow to their roster was during their game against the Blackhawks when Hartman left the game and did not return.
Jarred Tinordi blatantly trips Eriksson Ek…Eriksson Ek is hurting and now Ryan Hartman looks like he’s hurt his right side by being taken to the ice by Tinordi in a fight. Each get 4 for roughing.— Michael Russo (@RussoHockey) October 31, 2022
If Hartman is hurt seriously, that’s real bad with Greenway and Foligno hurt
It appeared Hartman was injured after a fight against Jarred Tinordi and of course, it’s unknown how long he will be out for. As a result, the Wild are going to have to make some big changes to their roster. Thankfully, they have a number of players to choose from on the Iowa Wild and if those players can play anything like Shaw has, the Wild are in good hands.
Wild Back Home
The Wild will head home from their first road trip with a road record of 3-1-1, which is much better than how they opened the season. Their win over the Blackhawks was also head coach Dean Evason’s 100th career victory and was an entertaining one with overtime and a shootout. The Wild will be at home for two games this week before they head out west for another road trip.
Related: Wild Check-In: Boldy Steps Up & Defense Needs Work
The Wild’s next opponent will be one they just took down a week prior, the Montréal Canadiens. Despite already defeating the Canadiens this season, the Wild will have to be prepared for their young guns looking for redemption. The defense will have to put a stop to Cole Caufield, Nick Suzuki, and Sean Monahan, who are all powerful goal-scorers.
The Wild’s offense has already found a way past Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen and more than likely they’ll have to face him once again. They know what kind of game the Canadiens play and they’ll have a chance to exploit it for another win. Hopefully, they can get started on a winning streak and their injured players aren’t going to be out for too long.