Wild’s Boldy Leads Way With Hat Trick in Win Over Capitals

The Minnesota Wild were looking for redemption when they took on the Washington Capitals on Sunday, March 19 after falling 5-2 to the Boston Bruins the day before, in their first regulation loss since Feb. 15. The Wild got the jump under a minute into the first when they forced their third shot past Capitals goaltender Charlie Lindgren. They kept their up-tempo pace going with another goal just a short time later to extend it to 2-0 with both goals by Matt Boldy and that lead held through the first.

Matt Boldy Minnesota Wild
Matt Boldy, Minnesota Wild (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Capitals had the start of a mini-comeback in the second period when their superstar Alex Ovechkin scored in his sweet spot on the power play to get his team within one. It lasted just over five minutes when the Wild answered to retake their two-goal lead. There were several chances for both sides throughout the rest of the period but it remained 3-1 in favor of the Wild.

The third period turned physical but the Wild had the upper hand when they scored again to take their first three-goal lead of the game. That was enough to fire up the Capitals who in turn stepped up both their scoring and physicality. Ovechkin added his second goal of the game once again on the power play to get his team back within two.

The Wild weren’t done however as they added one final goal to recapture their three-goal lead. As the minutes dwindled down the Capitals mustered all they had with one final goal of their own. Despite a very messy last few minutes there were no more goals recorded and the Wild took the 5-3 victory.

Wild’s Boldy, Reaves & Duhaime

Matt Boldy has been a force to be reckoned with in the last couple of weeks and with Kirill Kaprizov still out of the lineup, Boldy’s had a chance to really shine. Prior to their game against the Capitals, Boldy had two goals and four assists for six points in the past five games. He added to that total with not one but three goals against the Capitals for an overall total of five goals and nine points.

While Boldy has been on fire lately, he’s not the only one on the Wild’s roster to get hot recently. Ryan Reaves, who is known way more for his hitting than his scoring, has found a way to record points. Against the Capitals, he scored the goal that gave his team their second two-goal lead of the game and also his fifth point in the past five games. To put that in perspective, he currently has 13 points this season and seven of those have come in the last few weeks.

Hopefully, Reaves is able to keep this hot streak going as he’s made a difference in several games now, but again he’s not the only one. His linemate, Brandon Duhaime had a small scoring streak going in late February before he was injured and had to miss the next seven games. However, he made a Wild’s Eriksson Ek Silent Composure

The Wild’s Joel Eriksson Ek only recorded a single assist against the Capitals but what he did away from the puck made all the difference. His consistent net-front presence and giving it all when he fought for the puck made it possible for his teammates to be open and ready. There was one time, in particular, he was in a deep battle in front of the net, getting pushed around and thrown down, and when he had a chance to retaliate, he kept his cool and didn’t take a bad penalty.

Related: Minnesota Wild Still Strong Team Despite Kirill Kaprizov Injury

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That composure is what earned him the letter “A” on his jersey while teammate Marcus Foligno, who normally takes that duty, has been out. He leads by example and his teammates follow with very few retaliatory penalties. As the regular season gets closer to the end a team’s composure is important and Eriksson Ek has made sure to do his part.

Wild Have to Watch Penalty Kill

Despite the win, the Wild clearly have some things to fix on their penalty kill as they went 50 percent. They killed off two of the Capitals’ four penalties and the two they didn’t kill off were scored by the best power-play guy in the league, Alex Ovechkin. Jonas Brodin and Connor Dewar were the guilty parties in the penalties that led to those goals and they’re also two of the best penalty killers the Wild have.

Jonas Brodin Minnesota Wild
Jonas Brodin, Minnesota Wild (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

While the Wild’s defense was very strong when Brodin and Dewar weren’t in the box, it fell apart when they were. Those two can’t be taking penalties, especially against a team that is known for their power play. It’s likely they will end up in the box again and when they do the rest of their team needs to step up and cover for them.

Wild’s Next Opponent

The Wild will continue hosting some of the best in the NHL when they take on the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday, March 21. The Devils have been a hot team all season and the Wild found a way past them back in February at a very crucial point in their season. They were deep in a losing streak and while that win didn’t completely pull them out, it gave them a clear boost of confidence they needed at the time.

The Wild’s defense will have to be on the lookout for the Devils’ newest addition in Timo Meier along with Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier, Dougie Hamilton, Jesper Bratt, and Dawson Mercer. However, their hot offense will have to figure out how to get past Vítek Vaněček or Akira Schmid in the net.

The Devils will not be an easy team to beat and the Wild will need their offense to continue to come from all over the lineup specifically Boldy and the fourth line. They’ll need their penalty kill to step up as well as their power play and if they can do those things, they have a chance to sneak by the Devils once again.

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