Wild’s Fleury Records Third Consecutive Win in Victory Over Hurricanes

The Minnesota Wild jumped back on the winning track against the Carolina Hurricanes on the road Saturday night. It was the first game of a back-to-back during their first road trip in a few weeks. They managed to get the win without several key players in the lineup. Both Jon Merrill and Matt Boldy were injured in their loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night at home. However, their absence from the lineup gave Nick Bjugstad a chance to get on the ice after being scratched for the last seven games. Alex Goligoski also joined the lineup in place of Merrill.

The Wild entered the third period up 2-0. They added a third goal before the Hurricanes answered back to make it 3-1. It almost became a one-goal game, but a Hurricanes’ goal was called off due to goaltender interference. The Wild snuck out the win despite some good chances by the Hurricanes in the last few minutes.

Wild’s Kaprizov is Record Holder

It was clear from the beginning that Kirill Kaprizov was a special player. He showed in his first season that he’s capable of doing things most players aren’t. Now into his second year, he’s proving that the sky is the limit. With his 46th assist of the season, he secured his place in Wild history. That assist was his 84th point of the season, a new franchise record. The previous record was 83, set by Marián Gáborík during the 2007-08 season.

Kaprizov wasn’t done accumulating points for the night either, he scored the third and final goal of the game for his team. It was his 39th goal of the season and his sixth consecutive game with a goal. He now sits just four goals away from the franchise record for most goals in a single season. He is also 16 points away from being the first Wild player to hit 100 points in a season. His ability to stay on the puck and not allow players to push him off has been a strong key to his success along with his incredible puck handling abilities. He used all his strengths against the Hurricanes.

Wild’s Shot Totals

They got the win with their lowest shot total of the season. They had 19 shots on goal and scored on three of them for a team shooting percentage of 15.8 percent. The Hurricanes had double the Wild’s shot total with 38 shots on net but only scored once. Joel Eriksson Ek and Kaprizov were the highest shot takers with three apiece.

Related: Wild’s Goligoski Extension Could Lead to Dumba Trade in Offseason

They were followed closely by Ryan Hartman, Jared Spurgeon, and Mats Zuccarello with two each. Zuccarello had the first goal of the night. It came on the power play for his 20th of the season. He also tallied an assist on Kaprizov’s goal to give him 49 assists on the season. He’s just one assist away from tying the franchise record held by Pierre-Marc Bouchard in the same season as Gáborík’s record in 2007-08.

Wild’s Fleury Continues Dominance

The Wild held onto their win once again thanks to some stellar goaltending. This time it was Marc-André Fleury in net. He was peppered with shots from the beginning. He faced 38 shots and stopped all but one for a save percentage of .974. It was his third straight win in his third game for the Wild. He was extremely close to getting the first shutout of his Wild career, but it was stolen away in the final 10 minutes of the game.

Marc-Andre Fleury Minnesota Wild
Marc-André Fleury, Minnesota Wild (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

He had some help on the defensive end as well, as his team in front of him blocked 17 shots. Spurgeon had three of them while Frederick Gaudreau, Goligoski, Jacob Middleton, and Dmitri Kulikov blocked two shots each. Kulikov also scored the second goal of the game that would go on to be the game-winner for his first goal since Feb. 16.

Wild’s Versus Capitals

The Wild won’t have a break as they head into the second of their back-to-back games on the road. They’ll face the Washington Capitals, a team that has been off for nearly a week. Their last game was on Monday, March 28, a 6-1 loss to the Hurricanes. The last time these two met was in early January, when the Wild got out with the win in a shootout. They were without Kaprizov who was recovering from an upper-body injury.

Kaprizov will be excited this time around. He’ll have the chance to face off against Alexander Ovechkin, a player he’s looked up to for most of his career and one whom he honored at this year’s All-Star Game. Besides him, the Wild defense will have to keep Evgeny Kuznetsov, John Carlson, and Tom Wilson off the scoresheet. While they’re busy, the Wild forwards will need to find a way past either Vitek Vanecek or Ilya Samsonov. Both have decent records and either could be in net.

The Wild were able to get a win against a tough Hurricanes team, and they’ll have to play the same way against the Capitals. Cam Talbot will be in net, and he’ll have to play as hard as he did against the Colorado Avalanche early last week to help them get another win.

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