The Minnesota Wild took on the Seattle Kraken in the second game of their back-to-back at home. At the beginning, it seemed they may be feeling the effects of the previous night but it was short-lived. The Kraken took advantage of an ill-placed puck by Wild goaltender Marc-André Fleury to get the early lead on their first shot of the game. They didn’t stop there; four minutes later they extended their lead to 2-0 and things didn’t look good for the Wild.
That started to change when the Wild snuck in a goal on the power play a few minutes before the first period ended. That started a scoring streak that included five straight goals through the second period and none for the Kraken. The Wild took a 6-2 lead into the third, and the Kraken added one more goal but that would end the scoring as the Wild stole the win 6-3 plus set a new record for most points in a season with 107.
Once again, they got the win while missing several key players, which included Matt Dumba, Jordan Greenway, and Marcus Foligno. Tyson Jost was back in the lineup after missing out on the last three games due to injury. They also were without Mats Zuccarello for the last few minutes of the second period and all of the third. It was later revealed that he had a lower-body injury and would not play on Sunday against Nashville.
Mats Zuccarello has a lower body injury and won’t come to Nashville, but just precautionary with playoffs around corner. #mnwild working to call up a forward, but Evason said they could play 7 D in Nashville— Michael Russo (@RussoHockey) April 23, 2022
With a playoff spot secured the Wild won’t be pushing any of their players to rush back too soon. Jon Merrill returned to the roster and with him back that gave the Wild an extra defenseman with Jordie Benn. They gave Alex Goligoski the night off and kept Benn in. Mitchell Chaffee was sent back to Iowa with the return of Jost.
Wild’s Scorers Break Multiple Records
Kirill Kaprizov hit the 100-point mark in the Wild’s win over the Kraken. He started out the night with 97 points and went on a four-point tirade with a goal and three assists. He not only hit 100 points, but he surpassed it in the same game to end the night at 101 for the first player in franchise history to record 100 points in a single season. He’s also second in the NHL for most points by a player drafted in the fifth round or later, the only player ahead of him is Daniel Alfredsson.
He wasn’t the only player to break a record; his teammate and linemate for part of the evening, Kevin Fiala, set the record for most assists in a single game for the Wild. He assisted on five of the Wild’s six goals. It was the first time in the last four games that he didn’t score a goal but it was also his fourth consecutive game with multiple points.
Kaprizov and Fiala weren’t the only players to set franchise records, Matt Boldy assisted on one of Joel Eriksson Ek’s goals and that made it his eighth game with a point and the longest point streak for a rookie in the Wild’s franchise. If the NHL didn’t count injuries as the end of scoring streaks, Boldy’s streak could’ve been 10 games instead of eight.
Wild’s Eriksson Ek Has Big Night
After going without points for seven games, Joel Eriksson Ek found the net not once but twice and he assisted on Kaprizov’s 45th goal of the season. His second goal was on the power play and was his 23rd-overall goal of the season. It was also his 11th goal and 16th point while a man-up. His assist was his 21th of the season and his 44th-point overall.
He’s one of the Wild’s best defensive-minded forwards and sometimes he’ll struggle when it comes to the points department but he came up big when needed. Not only did he tally three points, he also had a blocked shot that helped out his goaltender on the defensive end. He was also strong in the faceoff circle where he had a faceoff win percentage of 75 on the eight faceoffs he took.
Wild’s Power Play Hits Big
After having some up and downs when it came to the power play the Wild found the success they had been looking for when they beat the Kraken. They had five power-play opportunities and converted on three of them. Eriksson Ek, Kaprizov, and Zuccarello each accounted for the power-play goals. It was the first time in almost a month that the Wild had more than one goal while on the man advantage in a game.
Their power play succeeded and their penalty kill was really close to doing the same but just fell short. Out of two chances the Kraken had, they converted on one and it was their final goal of the game. They had a streak of three games with their penalty kill at 100 percent but that was broken against the Kraken. While it’s been a struggle all season, the Wild really need to get it under control as the postseason nears.
Wild Face Predators
The Wild will face one of their toughest opponents this season and that’s been the Nashville Predators. They’ve found a way to beat the Wild in all three prior meetings. They’re a team in the first wild card spot and they’ll be fighting for every point they can get to make sure they get into the playoffs. While the Wild’s spot is secure in the postseason, they still need to gather as many points as they can to get home-ice advantage.
They’ll have to put a stop to Roman Josi, Filip Forsberg, Matt Duchene, Ryan Johansen, and Philip Tomasino who’ve all put up big numbers against them. While the defense is busy with those players, the forwards will have their hands full trying to get past either Juuse Saros or David Rittich. While Fleury was in net for the Wild against the Kraken, it’ll be Cam Talbot’s turn against the Predators.
The Wild have proven they can win games while they have the lead first or if they have to come from behind. They’ve been able to come back in games where they’ve gotten down early and they’ve shown their true ability to never give up. The Wild currently has a two-point lead over the Blues in the standings, hopefully, it stays that way with four games left to go.
Mariah Holland is a contributing Minnesota Wild writer for THW. She’s been covering the Wild at THW since October of 2020 and specializes in game takeaways and weekly check-ins. She is always looking for different angles to cover the Wild and dig deeper into the stories surrounding the team to help fans connect on a more personal level and to keep an eye on the latest follow her on Twitter @MariahEStark.