This week’s Minnesota Wild Check-In featured games against the New Jersey Devils, Winnipeg Jets, and the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Wild found their winning stride and won all three games, including avenging their previous loss to the Lightning. Kirill Kaprizov and Ryan Hartman were at the top of the scoring charts again.
With their recent play, it’s necessary to have a quick update about Kaprizov and Hartman. As of Monday, Kaprizov led the team in two areas, assists with 17 and points with 23. Hartman led the team with 12 goals and three of those came in the last three games. Besides these two, there is one forward who seemed to find some of the scoring prowess he’s had in seasons past.
Wild’s Kevin Fiala & Nico Sturm Push Forward
One storyline that has followed the Wild throughout this season was Kevin Fiala’s lack of scoring — until last week. He was the hero of their game against the Devils when he scored the game-winner in the shootout. He was the only player in the shootout to score a goal, but that was only the start of his point streak. In his next game, he tallied two assists in their blowout win over the Jets and tallied another assist in their win over the Lightning, for three total.
Fiala wasn’t the only Wild player who turned on his scoring power. Fellow forward Nico Sturm got in on the action and, like Fiala, tallied a point in all three games last week. He scored a shorthanded goal that gave the Wild a 2-0 lead in their game against the Devils. Sturm is currently the only player in the Wild lineup to score a shorthanded goal so far this season. Again, like Fiala, he went on to tally an assist in both of their wins.
Fiala and Sturm earned their spots this week on the Wild Check-In. They each stepped up and proved their worth on the ice. Along with their points, they both contributed on the defensive side as well with a blocked shot each. Now that the players who stepped up have been covered, it’s time to talk about the players who had some troubles last week.
Wild’s Jordan Greenway & Joel Eriksson Ek Face Difficulties
The Wild had many players who were successful last week but there were a couple who could’ve had a better week. This is the second time in a row this player has made the struggling list and his name is Jordan Greenway. He was great physically, but he had no points in the last three games and just three shots on net. With his size, he’s expected to be physical, but that can’t be the only aspect of his game that’s successful. As a forward, he’ll need to step up his game to earn his spot.
The other forward who was having some difficulties after a great week prior was Joel Eriksson Ek. He went from five points in four games to zero points in three games. He also had six penalties minutes this past week, something that’s pretty out of character for him as a player. He did help out on the defensive side of things, where instead of points he contributed four blocked shots, tied with Marcus Foligno for the most among Wild forwards.
Wild Goaltending & the Week Ahead
Before talking about who the Wild will face next, there’s one more player that deserves some recognition for his play last week. Similar to Hartman who has been consistent on the scoresheet, goaltender Cam Talbot has been dependable in net. Despite his winning record, his stats needed improvement, and over the last week, they did improve. Through the first 14 games Talbot played in, his goals-against average (GAA) was 2.95 while his save percentage (SV%) was .905. Over the last week, through three games, his stats improved to a 1.62 GAA and a .951 SV%. The Wild need him to keep these stats going and they’ll hopefully be able to continue their winning streak.
The Wild’s winning streak started while they’re in the midst of a homestand. They’ve won the first three games and have three more to go before they’re thrust back onto the road. They’ll face the Arizona Coyotes, New Jersey Devils, and the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Maple Leafs are one of the best teams in the league and it will be one of the hardest games of the season for the Wild and a must-watch for Wild fans.
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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.