Wild Check-In: Greenway, Foligno, Middleton & More

This will be the final regular-season Wild Check-In as the Minnesota Wild took down the Colorado Avalanche in their last game before the postseason. They had three games to close out the week as they faced the Arizona Coyotes, Calgary Flames, and the Avalanche. They had an off night against the Coyotes but it was the only loss of the week, and they bounced back quickly.

Minnesota Wild Celebration Kevin Fiala
Kevin Fiala celebrates a goal for the Minnesota Wild (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

They beat the Flames for the first time this season and the Avalanche for the second consecutive time. That win secured their home-ice advantage in their first-round meet-up with the St. Louis Blues. They had part of their lineup back and it made a big difference for the third line also known as the “GREEF” line that was back together once again.

Wild’s Greenway & Foligno Make an Impact

Thankfully for the Wild, leading scorer, Kirill Kaprizov was at the top of the leaderboard once again last week. He tallied five points in three games to end the season with 108 points and finished with sole possession of fifth place in the NHL for points. While he led the way, Jordan Greenway was right behind him following his return to the lineup in their loss to the Coyotes.

Greenway scored two goals and two assists for four points in three games. His two goals came in their win over the Avalanche. He had their first goal and their last goal to prove that he was back at full strength following his injury. He wasn’t the only part of the GREEF line that was active either as Marcus Foligno, who had also been out prior to this week, showed he was ready to play after being out due to COVID Protocol.

Foligno had a goal and two assists for three points in his last three games. He had two points in his return to the lineup against the Coyotes, went pointless against the Flames and then assisted on a goal in their game against the Avalanche before falling victim to a vicious knee-on-knee hit that knocked him out before he could accumulate any more. For the second week in a row Jacob Middleton has earned an honorable mention.

Jacob Middleton Minnesota Wild
Jacob Middleton, Minnesota Wild (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Middleton did well on defense with six blocked shots and four hits, but he also attempted to contribute offensively. He recorded an assist on Greenway’s final goal against the Avalanche and it was a deserved point for all his hard work in the last week. He doesn’t get many points, but when he does, he’s worked very hard to earn them.

Wild Need More From Everyone

With the postseason just around the corner, the Wild will need every member of their roster to step up their game. They’ll especially need players like Nicolas Deslauriers and Brandon Duhaime to increase their physicality but also keep it in check to stay out of the penalty box. Apart from the physical side of their game, the Wild will need them to snag some points as well.

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The other two players on this list didn’t struggle so to speak but they didn’t keep up their point totals as they had the week before. Those two players were Kevin Fiala and Matt Boldy, who both had decent weeks but will need to do more in the ones to come. If Fiala can get back on the scoring streak he was on prior to this week, the Wild will do well in the scoring department during the playoffs.

Wild Head to Postseason

It’s finally that time of year, the playoffs are about to get underway. The Wild will play this evening at home against the Blues. It’s been a talked-about matchup for the last month or so with the teams being pretty evenly matched all season long. They’ll have to make sure their special teams are top-notch and up to the task unlike during the regular season when it was more of a struggle.

As far as injuries are concerned, it was unclear if Foligno would be able to play in Game 1 and the same goes for Mats Zuccarello. However, following their practice on Sunday, May 1, things appeared to be looking up, especially for Foligno. It’s very surprising and good news that he wasn’t hurt more seriously. If the Wild can get those players back, that would be an added boost to the lineup, mainly for the top line who’d been missing its final piece in Zuccarello. Hopefully, he can return and help them secure a win in Game 1.

Obviously, their defense will have to find ways to shut down the Blues’ top scorers, mainly the ones who’ve had the most success against the Wild, which included Pavel Buchnevich, Robert Thomas, Brayden Schenn, Ivan Barbashev, and of course, Jordan Kyrou who can’t be forgotten either. It looks like the Wild’s offensive core will have to find its way past Ville Husso, but Jordan Binnington is another player who can’t be overlooked with his previous success and Stanley Cup win in 2019.

As for the Wild, they will most likely go with Marc-André Fleury in the net but they also have Cam Talbot who is very reliable. This will be a hard-fought series that will likely go seven games and be a fight to the finish.

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