The Minnesota Wild spent time at home and on the road this past week for the third installment of the Wild Check-In. They faced the San Jose Sharks and Dallas Stars at home, and the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning on the road. The Wild’s luck turned for the worst last week, as they went 1-3. They lost their first game at home against the Sharks, bounced back against the Stars, but it unraveled over the weekend against the Panthers and Lightning.
The Wild didn’t come out on the winning side, but overall, their ability to mount a comeback was promising. Several players improved their performance from weeks prior, while others had some issues that need to be addressed promptly. There’s one player that could be mentioned every week but has been left off the list to make room for others who’ve had great games. That player is known for his consistency, and that is Ryan Hartman. He was fined for a slew foot in their last game, but other than that mistake he has continued his great play, and hopefully, it will motivate his teammates as well.
Wild’s Kaprizov & Dumba Do Well
Kirill Kaprizov hasn’t found his goal-scoring edge just yet, but it’s not something to worry about. This time last season, he had similar stats as he does now; six goals and 11 assists in 17 games. This season, he’s at five goals and 13 assists in 18 games. This last week Kaprizov looked like he might have found his scoring stride, as he scored two goals and added five assists. Thankfully for the Wild, he’s tallied a lot of assists despite his low number of goals. Hopefully, he’ll start providing scoring soon, and they’ll win more games.
Another player who had a successful week was defenseman Matt Dumba whose had a shaky season thus far. He’ll do great in certain aspects of the game and badly in others. After his struggle a couple of weeks ago, when he called himself out, he pushed to do better. He didn’t score any goals, but he helped create them and had many opportunities in the offensive zone. He also made the choice to skate away from a fight in the defensive zone while his teammates had a scoring chance.
Those two players stuck out the most in having a successful week, but there were two others who deserve honorable mentions. Mats Zuccarello and Joel Eriksson Ek had a great week contributing both goals and assists, between the two of them, they scored four goals and five assists for nine points over the last four games. If these two can keep it up, it’ll help the Wild a lot on the offensive front.
Wild’s Fiala and Greenway Stumble
Kevin Fiala tallied points over the last week, but he also spent time in the penalty box. Penalties aren’t usually a huge deal when it occurs to the big scorers occasionally, but when it happens in the offensive zone, coaches tend to get a little upset at ruining a scoring chance. Apart from the penalties, he had many scoring chances but couldn’t convert them to goals. His frustration showed after he missed in the shootout and purposedly shot a second time out of anger.
Jordan Greenway had the same frustrations when it came to converting on shots. He had 11 shots and tallied only one point, an assist. Ever since the season started, he’s had trouble getting on the scoresheet. After coming back from injury, he hasn’t had luck in the scoring department. He’s registered three points all season, one in this last week of games. The area he’s been successful in has been hits, as long as he keeps that up, he won’t have anything to worry about, but it would help if he could score some points.
Wild’s Rask Flies Under Radar
One last player to mention is Victor Rask, who stepped up and recorded four points after being scratched for four games. He had to prove himself to secure his spot in the lineup, and he did. However, he’ll have to keep it up, especially with other players proving themselves like Rem Pitlick, Brandon Duhaime, and the player’s spot he took: Nick Bjugstad. Rask hasn’t received a lot of recognition for his recent success, mainly because it’s been expected of him for some time now, and that expectation won’t go away.
The Wild have one more game on the road before heading home. They’ll have a lengthy homestand, and it will be a welcome change after being on the road off and on for so long. They’ll be taking on the New Jersey Devils, Winnipeg Jets, and the Lightning. This includes a chance to avenge their loss to the Lightning by trying to take them down at home. Hopefully, Fiala and Greenway will be in the success category on the next Wild Check-In.
Mariah 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.