Wild’s Scoring Depth Key in Shootout Win Over Ducks

The Minnesota Wild have finally managed to put together their first three-game winning streak of the 2022-23 season with a shootout victory over the Anaheim Ducks. The Wild have come out on top of the last 12 meetings between the two teams despite trailing multiple times in the latest contest. While it seemed that the last-place Ducks were an easy target, they put up a tough fight in a matinee thriller that required a last-minute tying goal from Kirill Kaprizov and some shootout magic from Matt Boldy.

Offense From Kaprizov and Depth

The Wild’s season so far has been a roller-coaster of emotions with some dramatic fluctuations in their level of play. The latest struggle has been with their offensive production, but they finally appear to be finding some rhythm in the confidence that comes with a three-game win streak. With goals from Calen Addison, Connor Dewar, Joel Eriksson-Ek, and topped off by Kaprizov, the Wild are becoming a much harder team to play against.

Kirill Kaprizov Minnesota Wild Winter Classic
Kirill Kaprizov, Minnesota Wild Winter Classic (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

A visibly frustrated Kaprizov was obviously unhappy with his performance in the first 58 minutes of the game until he finally broke through John Gibson with the game-tying goal. The goal pushes his latest point streak to 11 games over which he has 18 points in the form of seven goals and 11 assists. While the point production is astounding, the pivotal, game-changing plays, such as tying the game with two minutes left, are the real indicator of how skilled he actually is. As more pressure is applied, he consistently finds more ways to produce.

Wild Playing Down to Their Opponent

The Anaheim Ducks may have some elite talent in their lineup with players like Trevor Zegras, Mason McTavish, Troy Terry, and John Klingberg, but they are dead last in the NHL. As a team in the middle of a rebuild, they are currently going through some growing pains as they attempt to put a competitive team together, meaning the Wild easily came into the game favored to win.

Related: Wild’s Kaprizov & Boldy Have Big Week, Gaudreau Struggles

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Despite having almost twice as many wins so far this season, at no point during the game did the Wild look like they were better than the Ducks. They carried the energy of a team that knew they were better and did not play with the same type of urgency that has provided them with their recent success. Currently outside of the playoff picture, they need all the points they can get and as such, do not have any buffer to be dropping games against struggling opponents.

Reaves Brings the Energy

The Wild’s acquisition of veteran enforcer Ryan Reaves has been a polarizing topic, with some fans in favor of the physicality the 225-pound man carries, while others are more inclined to focus on his lack of point production. With 770 NHL games under his belt, he has only 114 points in his career but does carry a hefty total of 994 penalty minutes to go along with his staggering 2,654 hits. Whether in favor of or against his occupancy of a spot on the Wild’s fourth line, there is no denying his intimidating presence.

The full Ryan Reaves experience was on display against the Ducks as he recorded his first point of the season with an assist on Dewar’s first-period goal. He followed that up with one of the biggest open ice hits so far in the 2022-23 season, absolutely crushing former teammate Frank Vatrano. Reaves is acutely aware of what he brings to a team and what is expected of him over the course of the game; as such, he is very good at providing just that. While he may not be solving any offense woes, if he brings the energy with the big hits and personality that he has shown so far, he could be a huge asset to a Wild team that has had an inconsistent effort level, to say the least.

Four-Game Road Trip Ahead

Coming away with five wins from their seven-game homestand, the Wild have a quick turnaround into a four-game road trip as they play tomorrow (Dec. 4) in Dallas against the Stars before heading north to Canada to visit the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, and Vancouver Canucks. Hopefully the momentum of three wins in a row will be enough to help them push through the fatigue of a back-to-back as they face the current hottest goal-scorer in the league, Jason Robertson.

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