The Minnesota Wild opened their two-game road trip against the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night. They started the scoring early with a goal under two minutes into the game. It was short-lived as the opposition stormed back five minutes later to tie it up. The same order of events happened again when the Wild scored to take the lead and the Red Wings answered back. The second time around, however, the Wings went on to score the go-ahead goal for the first time in the game.
That lead gave them momentum into the second period as they added another goal to extend their lead to two. The Wild didn’t give up as they fought back with one goal in the period to get back within one. The real action came in the third when the Wild scored one early in the period to tie it and then later on to retake the lead. It looked like they were going to steal the win but the Red Wings scored with three minutes left to tie it again.
Time ran out and overtime was required to declare a winner. There were several strong chances for both teams but it still wasn’t enough and a shootout had to take place. The Wild took the shootout and the win 6-5 for their second consecutive victory.
Wild’s Boldy Dominates
Matt Boldy made his name known in his very first game for the Wild against the Boston Bruins back in early January. He tallied his first NHL goal and went on to have four points in his first four games. He’s kept up the pace and prior to the game against the Red Wings, he had 21 points in 24 games.
He has a talent for scoring against the Wings. In their last meeting, he recorded his first NHL hat trick. It would’ve been a natural hat trick had his teammate Kirill Kaprizov not scored before he tallied his third goal. He also had an assist in that game for four points. In their latest meeting Boldy found the net twice.
He beat Alex Nedeljkovic twice, the first time was the first goal of the game while the second was to tie it at four. He had three shots on the net, two hits, and a takeaway. His goals were his 10th and 11th of the season for his 22nd and 23rd points of the season.
Wild Comeback Kids Again
The Wild have proven this season they are never out of a game completely. There’s always the chance that they could come from behind and take the game back. This game against the Red Wings showcased their scoring power as they fought back when the Wings stole the lead. One of the reasons they were so successful was their ability to keep shooting.
Something that has been an issue for the Wild off and on all season has been their lack of shooting. They like to pass more than shoot and it’s backfired often. The other team sees the pass coming and picks it off to head the other way. Against the Red Wings, however, they found their shooting power. Instead of passing over and over, they took more shots and it benefitted them. They’ll need to keep this up as the season moves along, the more shots they take, the more goals they score, it’s that simple. They also got lucky against the Red Wings when Nedeljkovic scored on himself.
Wild’s Special Teams Success
The Wild continued their power-play success as they scored while a man-up for the second straight game. Mats Zuccarello, who’s been strong on the power play all season, recorded the goal. It was his fifth goal and 20th point on the power play. Jared Spurgeon and Ryan Hartman got the assists on the goal.
On the other side of things, their penalty kill didn’t struggle as much as it has in the past. The Red Wings had four power-play chances and the Wild let in one goal while shorthanded, but stopped the other three. At one point this season, it seemed that every penalty they had to kill off resulted in a goal, however now that they’ve stopped three chances there’s hope for the future. For how many penalty minutes they accumulated, they were lucky they let in only one goal. It was a very physical game from start to finish with a number of heated moments that could’ve turned the game against them.
Wild Face Blue Jackets
In the Wild’s second game of their back-to-back, they’ll take on the Columbus Blue Jackets. It’ll be the first time these two teams have met this season. The Blue Jackets have had a decent season and will be coming off a rough 6-0 loss at the hands of the New York Islanders. The Wild will have to be on their toes because the Blue Jackets will be looking to avenge that loss.
With the recent string of wins the Wild have been able to put together, they may keep Cam Talbot in net and see if he can maintain his hot streak. If he’s in goal, he’ll have to watch out for Boone Jenner, Jakob Voracek, Patrik Laine, and Oliver Bjorkstrand, while the Wild’s scorers will have to try to get past either Elvis Merzlikins or Joonas Korpisalo. As long as they keep playing the way they have and keep their fighting spirit, they should be successful once again.
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.