Wild Check-In: Hartman & Foligno Succeed, Greenway & Sturm Struggle

The Minnesota Wild played four games last week and came out with two wins and two losses. They faced the Detroit Red Wings, Winnipeg Jets, Florida Panthers, and Edmonton Oilers. They beat the Red Wings and Oilers but lost to the Jets and Panthers. Mats Zuccarello, Kirill Kaprizov, Kevin Fiala, and Matt Boldy made it to the top of the scoresheet. Still, a couple of players deserve to be recognized for their play away from tallying points.

Overall they didn’t have many players struggle, but there were a couple who could’ve had a better week. The Wild’s goaltending had been one area that didn’t need work until this last week. Cam Talbot struggled in the Wild’s two losses, but Kaapo Kahkonen stood tall in their two wins. The team struggled a bit without defenseman Matt Dumba who’s been injured, but they figured it out after a couple of difficult losses.

Wild’s Hartman & Foligno Work Silently

After a long four-game stretch with zero points, Ryan Hartman finally found the scoreboard. He tallied a point in each of their games in the last week, with the exception of their loss against the Panthers. His points were a great help to his team but what he did defensively was even more important. He tallied five blocked shots that were the most among Wild forwards.

Ryan Hartman Minnesota Wild
Ryan Hartman, Minnesota Wild (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Marcus Foligno’s addition to this list was a bit out of the ordinary. He didn’t tally any points, and his blocked shots were low, but his main success was staying out of the penalty box. In the week prior, he got into trouble against the Jets and ended up suspended for two games. When his suspension was up, the Wild faced the Jets for the second time in eight days, but he kept his cool and stayed out of the penalty box. It wasn’t just that game either, he avoided it the next two games as well.

These two may not seem like team heroes, but their contributions were important behind the scenes. They helped out on the defensive end with blocked shots, and they stayed out of the box. With their recent troubles on the penalty kill, it was a bonus that Foligno controlled his anger and played smart hockey without any penalties.

Related: Wild Have Big Offensive Push in Win Over Oilers

Kahkonen earned an honorary mention as he was the only Wild goaltender to record wins last week. He helped take down both the Red Wings and Oilers. He let in three goals against the Oilers, but his save percentage was a decent .909. His stats may have fallen, but he still snagged the wins.

Wild’s Greenway & Sturm Continue Struggle

Jordan Greenway and Nico Sturm are not strangers to this list. They’ve had their struggles on and off this season. Unfortunately, this week they’re back to struggling. Greenway has actually been having issues for some time. He hasn’t tallied a point in six games, with his last point coming on Feb. 2 against the Blackhawks. On the plus side, Greenway usually tallies a high number of penalty minutes, but in this last week, he spent four minutes in the box.

Jordan Greenway Minnesota Wild
Jordan Greenway, Minnesota Wild (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Sturm was in the same boat; his last point was in that same game against the Blackhawks. Unlike Greenway, Sturm was a healthy scratch in their last game against the Oilers, in favor of Nick Bjugstad, who was back from a finger injury. Sadly, for Sturm, with his unlucky record and Bjugstad’s great first game back, Sturm may be a healthy scratch for a while.

While Kahkonen got the honorary mention for successful players, Talbot landed on the problems list. He had a really hard two games against the Panthers and Jets. His save percentage against the Jets was one of his lowest of the season at .833. The five goals he allowed in that game were also the second-highest he’s let in during the season. He’ll need to double down and focus in this next week to get back on track and act like this last week never happened.

Wild’s Week Ahead

The Wild started a four-game road trip across Canada on Sunday, Feb. 20, in Edmonton. They took down the Oilers, and their next game will be in Ottawa against the Senators on Tuesday, Feb. 22. Following their game against the Senators, they’ll take on the Toronto Maple Leafs and then fly back west to face the Calgary Flames.

This week of games will wrap up a hectic but successful month for the Wild. It was also just a preview of what’s to come in March and April. They’ll be equally as jam-packed with games, and the Wild will have hardly any time to rest. Hopefully, they’ll get Dumba back soon from his injury as they could use his presence again, but thankfully they’ve made it through his absence with a decent record so far.

Matt Dumba Minnesota Wild
Matt Dumba, Minnesota Wild (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

If the Wild can muster the scoring power they did against the Oilers, they’ll do just fine in the week ahead. They’ll also need Hartman to keep up his blocked shots, as well as Foligno staying out of the penalty box. It would help if Foligno’s teammates copied him and kept their penalty minutes low as well. If they can do all of those things, they’ll continue their winning ways.

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