Wild Check-In: Kaprizov, Boldy, Reaves & Zuccarello

The Minnesota Wild put together their second consecutive week of wins and started the month of March on the right foot following an up-and-down February. They added three wins this past week with one at home and two on the road. They took down the highly-skilled New York Islanders before heading out to western Canada to take down both the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames.

This week was a bit different than weeks past as they had some new faces join the lineup with the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline thrown in the mix and the point totals were spread out through the lineup. Their typical point leader, Kirill Kaprizov was at the top once again, but he was joined by some players who haven’t been there in some time. However, as some players showed their skill, others struggled to generate any offense.

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Wild’s Spread Out Offense

As stated before, Kaprizov was up to his usual antics of being their leader although this week he was held to just two goals for two points. Two goals don’t seem like much for a player like him but they were the only two goals scored against the Canucks that sealed their 2-1 win in a very tight game. He now has 73 points in 63 games and is just 11 goals away from hitting 50 for the first time in his career.

Matt Boldy is next on the list, he also recorded two points (1G, 1A) after being in a bit of a scoring drought lately. He assisted on the Wild’s first goal against the Flames and then recorded the third goal of the same game to give his team the comfort of a three-goal lead. Hopefully getting his first goal since Jan. 26 comes as a confidence boost and helps him get back into a scoring stride.

Matt Boldy Minnesota Wild
Matt Boldy, Minnesota Wild (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Following Boldy was Joel Eriksson Ek whose name we usually hear on the power play but this time his goal and assist were registered at even strength. After struggling to score at five-on-five it was good to see one of their top power-play guys contribute at even strength. Now he just needs to start consistently doing both for his team to be in great shape.

Related: Wild’s Goaltending Helps Secure Road Trip Wins

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The final player to round out this list is Ryan Reaves who also had an assist and his first goal in a Wild jersey. It was a thing of beauty as he carried the puck into the zone, set up his linemate Jordan Greenway for a shot, and banked in the rebound on his backhand. His goal made it possible for the Wild to force overtime and win in the shootout over the Islanders. Reaves is known more for his muscle than his offense, but he found a way to score this past week and hopefully it will continue as the Wild could use some extra goals.

Wild’s Zuccarello & Power Play Struggle

It’s unusual for Mats Zuccarello to struggle when he’s on the top line. While he did have a goal and an assist this past week, he also tied with linemate Ryan Hartman for the team lead in giveaways with two. Two giveaways in three games played isn’t a huge number, but for Zuccarello, it’s been trending in the wrong direction for a while now with turnovers happening more often.

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

Zuccarello currently has 37 turnovers, but he isn’t the only one who needs to improve in that area. His linemate Kaprizov leads the team with 47 giveaways, but he tends to make up for it in the scoring department. These two clearly need to clean up their turnovers but it wouldn’t hurt if Zuccarello could pick up his scoring as well.

Wild’s Week Ahead

The Wild’s next week will consist of four games that include a back-to-back and another road trip. They’ll take on the Flames at home for the second time in three days and the first game of their back-to-back. Following that game, they’ll head on the road to take on the Winnipeg Jets for their second game of the back-to-back. To finish out the road trip they’ll swing through California to face the San Jose Sharks and then Arizona for another matchup against the Coyotes.

The Wild’s defense with their new addition John Klingberg will have to be ready to shut down Tyler Toffoli, Elias Lindholm, Nazem Kadri, Kyle Connor, Josh Morrissey, Mark Scheifele, Erik Karlsson, Logan Couture, Thomas Hertl, Clayton Keller, Nick Schmaltz, and Lawson Crouse. On the flip side, the Wild’s offense better be prepared to face Dan Vladar, Connor Hellebuyck, Kaapo Kahkonen or James Reimer, and finally Karel Vejmelka or Connor Ingram. 

This week the Wild have a chance to distance themselves from the teams behind them in the playoff race. They’ll need their offense to continue to come from all throughout the lineup and they’ll also have to reduce their turnovers. If they can do those things, they’ll be able to come out of this week with four more wins and some important points.

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