Wild Get Scoring From All Four Lines in Win Over Canadiens

The Minnesota Wild showcased their scoring power against the Montreal Canadiens at Xcel Energy Center on Monday night, Jan. 25. The Canadiens have struggled all season, and the Wild took advantage of that. They had a night full of milestones for various players, and a number of them had multiple points in the game. The Canadiens jumped to an early 1-0 lead, but the Wild fired back quickly to tie it and didn’t look back from there as they went on to win 8-2.

The Wild had an essential piece of their lineup back in net to take on the Canadiens, but it didn’t last. Cam Talbot was in net for the first two periods before he reaggravated his injury and had to miss the third period. It’s unclear when he’ll be back, and duties fell to Kaapo Kähkönen for the rest of the evening.

The Wild weren’t the only ones who played musical goaltenders. The Canadiens goaltender Cayden Primeau who started the game, was chased out after the second period after five goals were scored. Michael McNiven came in to relieve Primeau in his very first NHL game but didn’t fare any better as the Wild scored three straight goals to reach their final total of eight. The Wild had production from all through the lineup, their special teams were successful, and they had one specific thing to work on going forward.

Wild’s All-Around Production

The Wild had goals from all four lines, each from a different player, and nine players had a multi-point night. One of those players was Connor Dewar, who scored his first NHL goal and tallied an assist for his first multi-point evening. Following Dewar’s milestones was Kirill Kaprizov, he recorded two assists that secured his 100th career point, and he did so in 92 games. That marked the fastest a player has gotten to 100 points in Wild franchise history.

Those were the two major milestones, but that was just the beginning. Matt Boldy continued his scoring success after being shut out in both games against the Chicago Blackhawks. He scored a power-play goal and recorded an assist for the second multi-point night of his career in seven games played. His linemate Kevin Fiala had a multi-point night as well, he scored a goal and tallied an assist for his ninth straight game with points. While Fiala tallied multiple points and the last goal of the game, Wild defenseman Jordie Benn recorded his first goal of the season right before Fiala’s final goal of the night.

Jordie Benn Minnesota Wild
Jordie Benn, Minnesota Wild (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Marcus Foligno continued his scoring prowess also, as he scored a goal for the third straight game. It was his third consecutive game with points and his 17th goal of the season. As for defensemen, Benn wasn’t the only one to score; in just his second game back from injury, Jared Spurgeon scored his fourth goal of the season and proved he’s back to his level of play before being sidelined.

Wild’s Special Teams Success

Off and on all season, the Wild’s power play has had minimal scoring until recently. The Wild tallied two power-play goals in the last game against the Blackhawks. They recorded another against the Canadiens, and that goal was another milestone. Boldy scored his third goal of the season and his first on the power play. It was also the Wild’s only goal out of five opportunities.

Related: Wild Check-In: Forwards Step Up in Back-to-Back Wins Over the Blackhawks

Despite the 29 penalty minutes the Wild accumulated, they only had to kill off two actual penalties that weren’t considered coincidental. After giving up a shorthanded goal against the Blackhawks over the weekend, they stepped up their penalty kill to keep it from happening again, and they went 100 percent. However, while their special teams did well, they struggled in one defensive area.

Wild’s Giveaway Issues

The Wild have been on a rollercoaster all season when it comes to giving up the puck. They started the season out pretty well with low giveaway numbers, then it rose for a chunk of the season, but it seemed like recently they had it back under control. They were in single digits for a string of games until these last two that were a real struggle despite the winning score.

Minnesota Wild Celebrate
Minnesota Wild Celebrate (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Fiala, Mats Zuccarello, and Jordan Greenway had two giveaways each, while Dmitry Kulikov, Brandon Duhaime, Kaprizov, and Boldy had one against the Canadiens. Luckily for the Wild, their giveaways didn’t cost them the game, but it could have. They’ll have to tighten it up as they move forward, 10 giveaways are too many for a team with the skill the Wild have.

Wild’s Next Games

They’ll have another three days off before they face the New York Rangers for the first time on Friday, Jan. 28. The Rangers have been a strong team all season, so it’ll be a difficult battle for the Wild, and their schedule won’t get any easier. After their game against the Rangers, they’ll also face the New York Islanders for the first time this season.

They’ll see the Blackhawks again as the final game before the All-Star Break. It’ll be the longest break they get for the rest of the season. Not only will the schedule get more challenging, but they may also have to decide what to do for goaltending. They have a capable starter in Kähkönen if Talbot has to remain out, but they’ll have to decide on a backup for him depending on what happens. Hopefully, for the Wild, it’s just a minor thing, and Talbot can come back in the next week before they start their crazy stretch to the end of the season.

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