The Minnesota Wild may have started the game down a goal early against the Edmonton Oilers, but they found a way to flip the scoreboard and steal the lead as the game went on. Things didn’t look great for the Wild early in the first period when Leon Draisital scored a goal while on the power play to secure an early Oilers lead. They held that lead through the entire period with small chances for both sides but nothing went in.
The heat turned up in the second when the Wild answered back with a power play goal of their own to tie it at one. However, the Oilers’ Connor McDavid did what he does best as he scored just a few minutes later to steal the lead back. It was a period full of goals with the Wild responding with another power-play goal to tie things up just a few minutes later and that’s when they found their scoring momentum. They put in another a little later on in the period to take the lead for the first time in the game.
The Wild held that lead through the rest of the second period and into the third, and they ran with things from that point. They went on to add two more goals to have a 5-2 lead before the Oilers scored one final goal at the end of regulation but ran out of time and the Wild went on to win 5-3.
Kaprizov Continues Scoring Streak
Kirill Kaprizov continued to set team records as he took on the Oilers where he recorded three points; a goal and two assists. Those assists set a new Wild record for the most consecutive games with an assist and that streak is now nine-straight games. He’s also on a 10-game point streak which is the second longest of his career, the first being 12 games last season.
Kaprizov has played 22 games so far this season and recorded 14 goals and 16 assists for 30 points. Those may not be numbers like McDavid, but Kaprizov does get better with each game he plays. If he’s able to keep up the strong scoring, he’ll continue to set new records, which is something Wild fans can look forward to witnessing as time goes on.
Wild’s Injury Bug Continues, Merrill Steps Up
The Wild can’t seem to find a way to get back to the healthy roster they had back in October. Every time they get one player back to their lineup from injury or illness, a different player gets injured or sick and they’re back to where they started. When the Wild took on the Oilers, they were without Ryan Hartman, Brandon Duhaime, and the newly injured Jonas Brodin. In preparation for Brodin’s absence, they did recall defenseman Andrej Sustr, but he did not play against the Oilers.
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Brodin has been one of the Wild’s best against the Oilers specifically McDavid, and without him, it was going to be really hard to put a stop to the NHL’s top scorer. Thankfully the Wild’s defensive core minus Brodin found a way to put a stop to the Oilers’ entire offense before they got on a scoring spree. McDavid did find a way to sneak in a goal and an assist for two points, but the Wild did a great job keeping him at bay when he already has 43 points in 24 games this season.
Perfect time to reunite GREEF Line with McDavid and Draisaitl on the horizon. But the Brodin injury is massive. Brodin’s success vs. McDavid is well documented https://t.co/UT56rZLpDS— Michael Russo (@RussoHockey) November 29, 2022
There was one defenseman in particular who had a great game against the Oilers and that was Jon Merrill. After going pointless the last few games, he stepped up and assisted on the Wild’s third and fourth goals that secured their lead. Those two points weren’t all he contributed, he also had two shots on goal as well as two blocked shots and really helped out around his own net to keep Oilers players away from his goaltender.
Wild’s Special Teams
The Wild’s power play was back on top once again after they scored two goals on the man advantage out of a possible three chances. Both goals came from the top unit as well with Joel Eriksson Ek recording the first and power play magician, Kaprizov getting the second. While the Wild’s power play bounced back, their penalty kill did not.
They did stop two out of a possible three chances but that means they still allowed one goal while shorthanded. The Wild need to work on taking fewer penalties, especially in the opening minutes of the game. They took a penalty early on and were lucky the Oilers didn’t find the back of the net in those first couple of minutes or that could’ve really put a damper on their motivation.
They did improve in one area when it came to penalties and that was not letting their frustration get the best of them. They kept their cool and didn’t take any unsportsmanlike penalties and that made all the difference, as they were able to have all their stars on the ice instead of in the penalty box.
Wild’s Next Opponent
The Wild will finish their homestand up on Saturday afternoon with another matinee game where they’ll be facing the Anaheim Ducks. It’ll be the first of a back-to-back with the second game being on the road in Texas to take on the Dallas Stars.
While the Ducks are struggling to win games at the moment, the Wild can’t take them too lightly. They still have scorers like Troy Terry, Trevor Zegras, Adam Henrique, Ryan Strome, and Cam Fowler. If the Wild’s defense can keep those players off the scoreboard they’ll also have to find a way past goaltender John Gibson or Anthony Stolarz.
The Wild were able to get a win against the Oilers, one of the top teams in the league, and they’ll need to focus on that as they move forward to take on the Ducks. Hopefully, they can continue to play that strong and keep collecting wins as the season continues.
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Mariah Stark (Holland) is a contributing Minnesota Wild writer for THW. She’s been covering the Wild at THW since October of 2020 and specializes in game takeaways and weekly check-ins. She is always looking for different angles to cover the Wild and dig deeper into the stories surrounding the team to help fans connect on a more personal level and to keep an eye on the latest follow her on Twitter @MariahEStark.