The Minnesota Wild had another tough week of games but they went 3-1 with three of those games going to overtime. They faced the Edmonton Oilers, Dallas Stars, St. Louis Blues, and San Jose Sharks. They won in dominating fashion over the Oilers and tight ones over both the Stars and Sharks. They also lost a rough one to the Blues for the second week in a row.
The Wild were a few players down throughout the week with the list including Matt Dumba, Tyson Jost, Jon Merrill, and Jordan Greenway. It was also announced that Marcus Foligno was put into COVID Protocol and will be out a minimum of five days. Merrill and Jost could be back as soon as their next game on Tuesday, Apr. 19, but the others may be out for quite some time.
Wild’s Second Line Takes Charge
This last week of games, the Wild’s second line of Kevin Fiala, Frederick Gaudreau, and Matt Boldy dominated the scoring department. Their line accounted for 23 points in four games. Fiala led the way, as out of the four games he played he had ten points, five goals, and five assists. Three out of the four were multi-point games and gave him a total of 19 for the season. Gaudreau was right behind Fiala with one of the most successful weeks he’s had all season.
Gaudreau had eight points in the last four games; three were goals and the other five were assists. He also stayed clear of the penalty box while those around him spent at least two minutes each in the box. He was easily the biggest surprise of the week but there was one more member of this line that did well too.
Boldy has been on fire since he came back from being injured a couple of weeks ago. He played in all four games last week and recorded five points. He had one goal and four assists, it doesn’t seem like much compared to his linemates, but he had many more chances than the stats showed. On a side note, both goaltenders, Cam Talbot and Marc-André Fleury had some ups and downs but they did well overall.
Wild’s Eriksson Ek Temporary Downslide
The Wild have been fortunate in the fact that most of their players haven’t struggled in big ways this season. Joel Eriksson Ek is one of those players, even when he’s not scoring points he’s helping out in other ways. He contributed on the defensive side of things but it could’ve been more. He had zero points this last week and only three blocked shots as well as a giveaway but he did snatch two takeaways.
Brandon Duhaime is in the same category, but he has struggled for points a bit longer than Eriksson Ek. He does help out defensively but this week he went zero for zero. In the last four games, he had zero points and no blocked shots plus he had one giveaway. Even worse, he had zero shots on goal but a lot of scoring chances that never made it to the net.
The final player to make this list was Jordie Benn. He came into the lineup when Dumba was injured and has stayed since. He hadn’t played in a game since Feb. 26 and had a little rust to shake off. He struggled a bit., but gathered his footing the more games he played in. In the last four games, he had only two blocked shots and four giveaways.
Wild’s Week Ahead
It’s going to be another four-game week for the Wild, with two on the road and two at home. It’ll be an interesting one as they take on the Montréal Canadiens, Vancouver Canucks, Seattle Kraken, and Nashville Predators. They’ve gotten wins over every team except the Predators, and they’ll have to remain on top of their game because that same team is in search of a wild card spot in the playoffs. The Wild themselves are working to get a better spot when it comes to the postseason as they remain one point behind the Blues.
The Wild’s defense will have to be ready for the top scorers from each team but especially the Predators Roman Josi, Matt Duchene, Filip Forsberg, and Ryan Johansen. However, the other teams can’t be counted out either as the Canucks are a strong team and while the Canadiens and Kraken are struggling, they can still steal wins. Talbot and Fleury’s rotation will be expected to continue with Talbot’s turn being first against the Canadiens. While the Blues had their number last week, they’ll have to figure out a way past the Predators who’ve also had their number this season. Out of the last three matchups, they’ve lost all three, but they have one more chance to redeem themselves before the end of the regular season.
The Wild will need the production of their second line to continue and hopefully get some missing pieces back into the lineup as well. However, now that they’ve clinched a spot in the postseason they don’t want to rush anyone and not have them available for the playoffs. Wins are important but they need their team healthy going into the postseason. Hopefully, the end of this coming week will bring four wins instead of three.
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.