Wild’s Fiala, Gaudreau & Kaprizov Step Up in Win Over Hurricanes

The Minnesota Wild took down the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2, on Saturday, Feb.13, for their 29th win of the season. They made a strong comeback after a disappointing loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday, Feb. 8. The scoring didn’t start until halfway through the second period when the Wild struck first. They kept it going in the third when they opened the period with back-to-back goals. The Hurricanes didn’t go down without a fight as they scored back-to-back goals to get within one. Thankfully for the Wild, their goaltender Cam Talbot was on top of his game and saved the win after facing an onslaught of shots.

They were without Marcus Foligno who was serving his first of a two-game suspension for an incident against the Jets a few nights earlier. They did have Matt Dumba back from injury and while he didn’t tally any points, he had a good game defensively with three hits and two blocked shots. Dumba wasn’t the only one who had a good performance. The Wild’s second line was on fire.

Wild’s Second Line Shines

Kevin Fiala, Frederick Gaudreau, and Matt Boldy showcased their skills throughout the entire game. Their line was responsible for two of the Wild’s three goals that included the game-winner. Fiala got the scoring started in the second period when he scored his 14th of the season and his third goal in the last five games.

Kevin Fiala Minnesota Wild
Kevin Fiala, Minnesota Wild (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Their line took a break at the beginning of the third to make room for the first line who scored the second goal of the game. Kirill Kaprizov tallied his 20th goal of the season off his own rebound after receiving a pass from linemate Mats Zuccarello. A little over a minute later, the second line struck again when Gaudreau recorded his fifth goal of the season on a pass from Fiala to put them up 3-0. Even though the third member of their line, Boldy, didn’t tally any points, he played well and set up several opportunities but didn’t make it past the goaltender.

Wild’s Talbot Remained Strong

The consistent storyline of the season for the Wild has been its goaltending. Cam Talbot has taken the brunt of the load as the starter, and he’s become one of the best in the league. He is now tied for ninth in the NHL among wins for goaltenders with 19. He stopped 37 shots out of the 39 he faced that gave him a .949 save percentage and a 2.00 goals-against average in their win over the Hurricanes.

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He had a quiet first period when he faced just eight shots. In the second and third periods, however, the shot totals went up. The Hurricanes Andrei Svechnikov scored back-to-back goals to get his team within one, but that’s as close as they got. Talbot put a solid stop to things after the second Hurricanes goal and he made some big saves in the final two minutes to help his teammates steal the win.

Wild Need to Keep Calm

In their last two games, the Wild got themselves into penalty trouble due to frustrations. Their opponents found a way to get under certain players’ skin that caused them to retaliate and end up in the penalty box. Against the Hurricanes that player was Kaprizov who wound up in the penalty box after retaliating.

Kirill Kaprizov Minnesota Wild
Kirill Kaprizov, Minnesota Wild (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

It wasn’t only the penalties that caused problems in the Wild’s game. When they slipped up and let one goal in, they acted frazzled and struggled for a few minutes before they were able to get back on track. They’ll need to make sure they remain calm even when scored on so it doesn’t result in momentum for their opponent and cause them to let in goals.

Wild’s Next Game Scouting Report

The Wild will remain at home for their next game but instead of nearly a week off, they’ll have a one-day break before returning to the ice to face their next opponent, the Detroit Red Wings. The Red Wings have struggled most of the season with a record of 22-21-6. They’ll be coming off back-to-back wins over the Philadelphia Flyers and looking to keep their win streak alive.

The Wild will have to keep an eye on the Red Wings leading scorers Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi as both players are on point streaks. Bertuzzi is on a three-game streak with three points while Larkin is currently on a five-game streak with 11 points. Four out of those five games have been multi-point nights.

Their goaltending can’t be overlooked either, as they made big news during the offseason when they signed hot goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic. He hasn’t had as successful of a season as Detroit had hoped, but he’s still a strong goaltender and the Wild’s scorers will have to look for weak spots if he’s in the net. This will be the first of two meetings the Wild have against the Red Wings, and it would be great for them to snag a win in their first meeting.

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