On an entertaining night at TD Garden, the Minnesota Wild defeated the Boston Bruins 3-2. This was the Wild’s first win since Dec. 9; they lost all five games since then. The game was exciting, from the opening face-off to the final buzzer. It had everything from NHL debuts to power-play brilliance. However, as we look at some key takeaways from this match, we must begin with the Wild’s franchise player.
Kirill Kaprizov Injured
In the second period, Kirill Kaprizov was checked on the numbers by Trent Frederic while falling, and he hit the boards hard. He left the ice, heading straight down the tunnel while favoring his right arm. Kaprizov was in a vulnerable position when he was hit, and the result looked painful. Frederic was given two minutes for boarding, but the real punishment was the Wild losing their top player; Kaprizov did not return.
Kaprizov is tough and a competitor. The fact that he couldn’t get back on the ice is a telling sign that he might be seriously injured. It will likely be a day or two before we receive a more precise picture, but any time missed will be a costly blow to the team. He’s been the Wild’s best player with 14 goals and 26 assists this season. He has lived up to every cent of his $9 million (per season) deal signed in the offseason. Expect his status to dominate headlines until there is a clear timetable for his return.
Boldy and Rossi Debut
Wild fans have waited a very long time for this night. The organization has many quality prospects, but two forwards have stood out: Marco Rossi and Matthew Boldy. They finally made their NHL debut against the Bruins.
The situation couldn’t have gone better for Boldy. He played his first NHL game in Boston, where he spent two seasons in the NCAA with Boston College. With friends and family in attendance, he scored his first NHL goal off a magnificent give-and-go play with Marcus Foligno and fired into the wide-open net. It held up as the game-winner.
Rossi might not have registered a point in this one, but he also had a strong showing in his debut. It took him one second to make an impact; he looked confident with the puck and has a terrific work ethic. His vision will help make the players around him better, and he was leaned on heavily in this one, with 16:19 of ice time. His defensive game was also impressive, and Rossi hustled on the backcheck and wasn’t afraid to battle with the big Bruins for the puck. Given what Rossi went through, suffering major complications from COVID-19, it’s heartening to see him make it to the NHL.
These two players should have a bright future in the NHL, and Wild fans have reason to be excited. They are expected to be key members of the team moving forward, and Thursday night was their first taste of the show.
Bruins Can’t Capitalize 5-on-5
Of the five goals scored in this one, four were on the power play. Boldy’s game-winning goal 12:26 into the second period was the only goal scored at even strength. The Bruins went 2-for-5 with the man advantage, thanks to Taylor Hall and Brad Marchand. They were most dangerous on the power play, but some great saves by Kaapo Kähkönen held them to two markers. The Wild struggled with the man advantage but also capitalized twice before the night ended. The Wild went 2-for-8, with Kaprizov getting the first (before his injury) and Nico Sturm tipping home a Jonas Brodin shot later in the same period.
The Wild tonight lacked discipline in this game, which they will have to focus on before their next game. Not often do teams give the Bruins that many opportunities with the man advantage and come away with a regulation win.
On a night when all eyes were on the Wild’s future, the team delivered with a big two points to snap their five-game losing streak. However, this one might not like a victory if Kaprizov misses substantial time due to injury.