Wild Really Need Fiala, Boldy & Gaudreau to Step It Up in Game 6

The Minnesota Wild have a big task ahead of them in winning Game 6 on the road while being down 3-2 in the series and the St. Louis Blues coming off a big win in Game 5. They have had success from their first line as well as Joel Eriksson Ek on the third line, while everyone else has been quiet for the most part. That is unacceptable at this point in the postseason, especially the performance of their second line which has been almost invisible so far.

Kevin Fiala, Frederick Gaudreau, and Matt Boldy make up the second line. They have a lot of chemistry between them and have scored some pretty goals this season, but it’s like they have forgotten how to score when the postseason hit. They’ve managed to acquire a couple of points throughout the series but nothing to the level everyone expected of them. If they want to win Game 6, they have to step up and score to help support the entire team as the first line can’t do it all alone.

Frederick Gaudreau Minnesota Wild
Frederick Gaudreau, Minnesota Wild (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Gaudreau is the crucial center to this line and in the latter half of the season, he had a big push in both scoring and his overall play. He was doing quite well, as he scored 14 goals and 30 assists for 44 points before the regular season ended, which included him having a couple of points in one of their last games before the playoffs started.

In the five games he’s taken part in during the postseason, he’s scored just one time in their first win of the series, Game 2. He’s also only taken eight shots on net in those games with none in Game 1. His stats aren’t all bad, however, as he has been doing well in the faceoff circle. He’ll have to keep that up as well as register more shots on goal since he has a quick shot that can beat whichever goaltender the Blues decide to go with. All he has to do is use it as often as possible.

Matt Boldy

Boldy has been both the biggest surprise and biggest asset to this line so far this season. He joined the line in January after Fiala and Gaudreau had been paired together already and he fit in instantly. In fact, he nearly knocked Kaprizov out of the rookie record books with his stats, as he was just behind Gaudreau in points with 39 in 47 games played. While those numbers were great during the regular season, he too has hit a wall in the playoffs.

Related: Wild’s Matt Boldy Exceeding All Expectations

Boldy gets a little slack, being this is his first postseason in the NHL. Kaprizov went through it last season and he tallied just three points, now this season he’s nearly tripled it. Boldy has at least gotten on the board even if it’s just one goal. His single tally gave the Wild hope in Game 4 before the Blues woke up and stole the lead, and eventually the game. If anyone has the potential to step up big in Game 6 and be a clincher like Kaprizov, it’s Boldy.

Kevin Fiala

That leaves the final member of this line and probably the most surprising non-scorer so far this postseason, Fiala. He got on a big scoring streak before the regular season ended that included a 10-game run at one point. He went into the postseason after playing in all 82 games for the Wild and scored 33 goals and 52 assists for 85 points. He also climbed into second place for all-time Wild points in a single season behind Kaprizov.

Kevin Fiala Minnesota Wild
Kevin Fiala, Minnesota Wild (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Out of the three players on the second line, Fiala has tallied the most points with three, all assists. He’s also recorded 14 minutes in the penalty box, something that isn’t okay for him to have. He needs to be spending time on the ice, not in the box. Out of everyone on this line, he has to figure out a way to be productive. He has the abilities; he just needs to find a way to use them and score some goals. Thankfully, he’s been trying to take shots with 15 of them so far, he just needs to keep pushing it in order for the Wild to tie the series and bring it to a Game 7.

Wild Need Second Line

The entire team will benefit if the second line can step up and score some goals. The first line can’t be responsible for all the goal-scoring, especially against a team as deep as the Blues. If the second line can get on the board, it’ll lift the entire team and help them all be successful in Game 6. They could also prove to be the momentum the team needs to do well as a whole.

The bottom line is, they have to be prepared if they want to win Game 6. If they aren’t, they will be eliminated. They need the second line to do what it did in the second half of the season, step up when needed, and do what has to be done. Hopefully, they can find the motivation and energy they need to get the win on the road and come back home to Minnesota to finish off the series in Game 7 on Saturday.

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