Wild Weekly: Back in the Win Column with 3 Straight Wins

Welcome to this week’s installment of Minnesota Wild Weekly, which will take a look at the past week of Wild hockey. It will include notes, the biggest takeaways, and, of course, the review of the week.

Week in Review

After a rough weekend at the hands of the St. Louis Blues, the Wild headed home for three games. Following three days off, the Wild had the Arizona Coyotes in town. They managed to get on the board first and didn’t look back, cruising to a 5-2 win.

Following their win, the Wild welcomed the San Jose Sharks for a quick back-to-back two-game series. In both of those games, the Sharks got the early lead, but the Wild didn’t give up. They came back strong in both games with three straight goals in both games to secure the wins.

They even managed to hand the Sharks a loss in a history-making game for the Sharks Patrick Marleau, who played in his 1,767th game that tied Gordie Howe for most played National Hockey League games.

Takeaways, Notes & Concerns

Zach Parise

This week was a hot one for Parise, who has scored four points in the last three games. He’s finally found that scoring stride he’s been looking for, and the month of April has been a good one for him with six points in six games. Prior to his break due to Covid protocols, he was going on a four-game streak without any points.

Zach Parise, Minnesota Wild
Zach Parise, Minnesota Wild, January 14, 2019 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

He came back from that break and scored points in back-to-back games, something he hadn’t been able to do since the end of February, nearly two months ago. He then went on to score in back-to-back games again just a week later. He’s up to 18 points in 35 games. Not his normal season, but it’s turning into a great comeback.

Nico Sturm

Sturm is another player, like Parise, who has found his scoring touch as of late. He made being a healthy scratch in two straight games an opportunity to do better. In his first game back, he got the first goal of the game. In the next three games, he had two points, an assist, and a goal.

He also has utilized his size as of late, tallying 11 hits in just six games. He has the highest faceoff win percentage of the team currently for the month of April at 59 percent. As of Sunday night, that percentage put him at 55th overall in the entire NHL.

Nick Bonino

Another center that has been making waves lately. He’s had six points in the last three games, including a whopping four assists. He had back-to-back multi-point nights, and on the defensive end, he averaged a block per game in the last week with three total blocks.

Bonino is another Wild player that has scored a lot of points in the last week and seems to be on a hot streak. The Wild will need to continue that as they head on the road for the next four games. He had three points in their recent game against the Coyotes, and he’ll need to reach for that as they play the Coyotes again, as they’ll be looking to avenge their last loss.

Power Play

This seems like an endless topic when it comes to the Wild, but it has to be brought up. Everyone noticed that the power play seemed to be getting better for them as the season has progressed, and this week was no different. They may have struggled a little, giving up a goal while on the power play, but they still managed to be third in the league for power-play percentage with 40 percent over the last three games.

Standings Tracker and Injury Update

The Wild currently sit third overall in the Honda West Division and tied for tenth in the league with 57 total points as of Sunday night. They seem pretty secure in their third-place spot, 12 points ahead of the fourth-place Coyotes and seven points behind the first and second place Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights, who are respectively tied with 64 points.

Kevin Fiala Cam Talbot Ryan Suter Joel Eriksson Ek Kirill Kaprizov Minnesota Wild
Kevin Fiala, Cam Talbot, Ryan Suter, Joel Eriksson Ek and Kirill Kaprizov, Minnesota Wild (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Wild are still without Nick Bjugstad but had two big names return to the lineup that were dearly missed while they were out. Those two players are Marcus Foligno and Kevin Fiala, as both players managed to have points in their first few games back.

Final Thoughts

The Wild have been on a hot streak at home, and they’ve had quite a few players step up with points in the last week. These players will need to find a way to continue those streaks as the Wild will have a tough stretch of road games over the next week.

They head to Arizona for two games against the Coyotes and then a quick one-game trip against the Los Angeles Kings and another one-game trip to San Jose for their final meeting of the regular season against the Sharks. Each of these teams has been victimized by the Wild this season and will be looking for payback, especially the Sharks.

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