Wild Check-In: Foligno, Zuccarello, Hartman & Boldy

The Minnesota Wild played more than one game for the first time in nearly a month. Following the Winter Classic, they didn’t have any games for four days, not nearly as bad as the past couple of weeks. Not only has their schedule been flipped upside down but so has their lineup. At first, it was injury problems, but as of late COVID had snuck its way into their roster also.

They faced two of the tougher teams in the NHL this past week in the Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals. The Bruins weren’t high in the standings but they played tough all the same. Unfortunately, in that game, the Wild did win but they also lost their leading point producer, Kirill Kaprizov to a dangerous hit along the boards. He was removed from the game and did not play the next game against the Capitals on Saturday, Jan. 8.

Kirill Kaprizov Minnesota Wild Winter Classic
Kirill Kaprizov, Minnesota Wild Winter Classic (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

Apart from Kaprizov being absent from the lineup, the Wild were also without Jared Spurgeon, Joel Eriksson Ek, Jonas Brodin, Cam Talbot, Nick Bjugstad, Jordan Greenway, Brandon Duhaime, and Alex Goligoski. All were injured besides Greenway, Duhaime, and Goligoski who were in COVID protocols. Brodin was back against the Bruins but was out two days later against the Capitals due to another injury. It was impressive that the Wild were able to come out on top in two straight games with so many players out. They had a lot of players succeed and only a couple faltered.

Wild’s Foligno, Zuccarello, Brodin & Fiala

The Wild had success from many players in the lineup despite all the line switching to fill holes. Marcus Foligno was at the top of the charts with a goal and an assist. The funny part about his goal was he didn’t have to do anything to score it other than be the last person to touch the puck. In the game against the Capitals, the Wild had a delayed penalty drawn against them and the Capitals pulled their goalie. While passing around the puck, there was a miscommunication and the Caps forward threw the puck to the defenseman on the blue line, but it missed and sailed down to the empty net. Foligno happened to be the last player to touch the puck and was credited with the goal, it was also the 100th goal of his career.

Next on the list was Mats Zuccarello, despite being without his main linemate, Kaprizov, he stepped up and worked with whoever was on his line at the time. He was able to stay paired with center Ryan Hartman but the other wing was flipped around. He, like Foligno, had a goal and an assist throughout the last two games, his goal tied the game against the Capitals that they went on to win.

Mats Zuccarello Minnesota Wild
Mats Zuccarello, Minnesota Wild (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The last two who made this list were Jonas Brodin and Kevin Fiala. They both had two assists each — Brodin recorded both of his in the game against the Bruins. It was his first game back from being in COVID protocols after having to miss the Winter Classic. Fiala had an assist in each game, one against the Bruins, and had an assist plus a shootout goal in the win over the Capitals. He went from too many penalties at the beginning of the game to being one of the heroes at the end.

Wild’s Hartman & Dumba Struggle

The Wild had a few players who struggled to have any success this past week. One of those players was Ryan Hartman. His overall game was decent but his struggle was in the points department. He had two hits, one block, and six shots on net, four against the Bruins and two against the Capitals. He was second in shots total on the team but was unable to score any points in two games. He was on a streak of four games straight with points prior to the last two games. He also had one giveaway, something that is out of the ordinary for him. He has only seven total giveaways in 33 games and had been on a streak of five games without a giveaway prior to the most recent game.

Related: Wild Find Way to Win Without Kaprizov, Eriksson Ek, Spurgeon & Brodin

The other player who had similar issues to Hartman was Matt Dumba. He had a total of three giveaways throughout the two games, one against the Bruins and two against the Capitals. Unlike Hartman, however, Dumba tallied a point when he assisted on Zuccarello’s goal in the game against the Capitals. Defensively he made up for the giveaways with a block in each game. Thankfully, the problem spots for the Wild were pretty minor, but there was one more bright side apart from the wins.

Wild’s Boldy & Rossi Brought Up

After the debut of Kaprizov, the Wild fans moved on to the next prospects, Matt Boldy and Marco Rossi. The pair was brought up to fill in some of the gaps due to all the injuries in the lineup. Boldy made an impression almost immediately, he scored in the second period of their game against the Bruins and gave the Wild a 3-1 lead. It ended up being the game-winner and was in front of his close friends and family near his hometown of Milford, Massachusetts.

Marco Rossi Team Austria
Marco Rossi, Former Team Austria, 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship, Current Iowa Wild (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)

Rossi didn’t record any points but he had a great showing in his first two NHL games. He put up five shots on goal, one hit, one block, and unfortunately had one giveaway. They both had good performances and will be fun to watch once they’re in the lineup full-time.

Wild’s Week Ahead

The Wild have another quiet week ahead of them as two of their games were postponed due to COVID capacity issues. Those games were supposed to be in Winnipeg on Monday, Jan. 10, and Edmonton on Wednesday, Jan. 12. Instead, they have to wait until Friday night when they’ll face the Anaheim Ducks at home. Boldy and Rossi won’t be playing in that game as Boldy was sent to the taxi squad and Rossi was sent back to the Iowa Wild. The Wild expect to have Eriksson Ek back and possibly Kaprizov as well. Hopefully, the Wild get them back and keep playing the way they have the last two games to keep up the winning streak.

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