Wild Weekly: Finishing Out Tough Week with A Win

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

The Wild had a rough time facing the St. Louis Blues three games in a row. They had just come off a dominant week on the west coast with four straight wins and returned home hoping to defeat the Blues in all three games but that didn’t happen.

The Wild lost the first game after giving up a 3-1 lead. The next game wasn’t much better, as they were down early, and fought back, only to lose in overtime. The third and final game was headed in the same direction as they fought their way back from an early deficit and managed to claim the win in overtime.

Takeaways, Notes, and Concerns

Kevin Fiala

Fiala did not disappoint and led the team in points this past week with five (two goals and three assists). In the Wild’s first loss of the week, he didn’t tally any points but heading into the second and third games, he had back-to-back multi-point games, including the game-winner in overtime, to finish the week on a high note.

With 37 points, he was second on the team in points, just six behind the leader Kirill Kaprizov as of Sunday night. Fiala also led the team in shots on net with 13. He’s up to 19 goals and 18 assists in 46 games. He’ll need to keep this up as the Wild play the last few games of the regular season.

Joel Eriksson Ek

Eriksson Ek has performed consistently throughout the season. Even when he’s not scoring points, he’s helping on defense or quietly providing offensive help. Lately, he’s racked up some points, and he went into Saturday’s game on a seven-game point streak, but unfortunately, it stopped there.

Joel Eriksson Ek
Joel Eriksson Ek, Minnesota Wild, November 11, 2017. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

He didn’t score as many points as Fiala this week, but kept up with shots on goal. He only had two points in three games, but had 12 shots on net to put him right behind Fiala.

Jonas Brodin

Back at the top of the charts among Wild defensemen, Brodin had three points (two gaols and an assist) last week. He’s been trading places with captain Jared Spurgeon for the scoring lead among defensemen.

He took the lead in blocked shots as well, with four blocks in three games. Nico Sturm and Matt Dumba are right behind him with three blocked shots each. Brodin has 21 points (eight goals and 13 assists) in 48 games. He’ll be an asset in the postseason if he can continue to contribute at this rate.

Wild need to Win

The Wild managed to clinch their spot in the playoffs before this week, but they really struggled after that game clincher. They played hard but, for some reason, couldn’t seal the deal against the Blues in the three-game series and came away with two points of a possible six.

The Wild can’t allow games to slip away now that they’ve secured their spot in the playoffs. They need to keep winning not only to hopefully get home-ice advantage but also to maintain a confident mentality. It’s a lot easier to gain momentum when you have a streak going and aren’t trying to fight off a recent loss.

Standings Tracker and Injury Update

The Wild are third in the Honda West Division with 68 points, two points behind the Colorado Avalanche in second, and six points behind the Vegas Golden Knights who are in first. The Wild also have a 15-point lead on the fourth-place Blues.

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)

As for injuries, forward Nick Bjugstad returned to the lineup after an injury and being a healthy scratch. The lineup seems to be returning to normal with everyone coming back, and they will hope to keep it that way going into the postseason.

Final Thoughts

The Wild have a tough closing stretch against the Golden Knights, Anaheim Ducks, and the Blues to finish the regular season. They’ll need to fight through these final games because it will be important to start the playoffs in a good mental state. This is one of the keys to being successful, and it’s easier to do that from a winning standpoint.

Minnesota will also want to push for home-ice advantage, especially given their possible first-round matchup, and they’ll need all the advantages they can get. They’ll face their first test Monday night against the Golden Knights at home.

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