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 were on a roll with their six-game win streak a little over a week ago. However, that streak took a turn for the worst when the Wild returned home to start the week out against the Vegas Golden Knights. They started out strong both nights but couldn’t seal the deal and ended up losing the two games series.
Thankfully the next opponent the Wild had some better luck with. They took on the Arizona Coyotes for the first time this season and won the first game in dominant fashion. They got out to an early three-goal lead and stuck to it to win the game 5-1 and what looked like the start of another winning streak.
That wasn’t the case, however, as the very next night, the Coyotes came back with a vengeance and took the Wild down 5-2. They began the game with an early lead once again, only to fall short through the second and third periods, which have been their weak spots as of late.
Takeaways, Notes, and Concerns
They had a great showing from Kirill Kaprizov for another consecutive week but also had some other players step up to take some of the weight off his shoulders.
Despite the losses, Matt Dumba has been playing out of his mind as of late. Dumba had a crazy goal against the Los Angeles Kings in overtime to win it for the Wild and then followed it up a week later with a goal to start things off in their second game against the Coyotes that unfortunately ended up as a loss.
He’s had two goals and an assist in his last five games and seems to be on fire for scoring. Hopefully, he can keep it up and help protect the lead as the Wild go into a difficult part of their schedule.
Marcus Foligno is another Wild player that has found his scoring stride lately. In the last five games, he’s managed to net six points with three goals and three assists. He’s also gotten into a few scrums along the way to help boost the morale of the team and keep the energy flowing.
He has 14 total points on the season and six of which have come in the most recent five-game spell where he took out his scoring power with four points against the Knights and two against the Coyotes.
Something that surprised many fans this week was veteran Zach Parise being sat for the first time in his nine-year career with the Wild. During their game against the Knights on Monday, Parise stayed out longer than his linemates and ended up being scored on. The upper management did not agree with his decision to stay out, which resulted in the forward being a healthy scratch.
He was able to return in their next game against the Coyotes. He wasn’t able to register any points that night, but the following night, he notched an assist to get him his tenth point of the season.
The Wild also said goodbye to goaltender Alex Stalock, they put him on waivers, and the Edmonton Oilers snatched him up. That leaves Cam Talbot as the starting goalie, which seemed like the plan all along, and now Kaapo Kahkonen will be the backup.
Stalock will be missed, but the Wild do have two very capable goaltenders, with Talbot returning to the lineup following an injury and playing quite well. They also have the youngster Kahkonen, who gets stronger and stronger each time he plays.
Standing Tracker and Injury Updates
The Wild currently sit in fourth place in the Honda West Division, just six points behind the leaders the Golden Knights, four points behind the second-place St. Louis Blues, and one point behind rival the Colorado Avalanche. The Wild may have a chance to get right behind the Knights with their next two games being against them.
There has been no status change for Marcus Johansson on the injury front, but a name was added. Ryan Hartman has been listed as out with a lower-body injury sustained in their second match-up with the Knights. There is also no date for his return to the lineup.
The Wild have hit a really rough patch as of late. They’re scoring goals early and building big leads, but they can’t seem to keep them. Their defending is falling short, and they’ve lost their leads during the second and third periods.
They’ll need to figure out and solve those issues, or these next few weeks may be painful as they have a lot of games in a short amount of time. They’ll be playing 10 games straight before they get two consecutive days off in a row, which makes for a lot of hockey in a crunched time.
Hopefully, they can keep building big leads in the first but defend them in the second and third periods as the season moves along. They’ll play the Knights on Monday evening at home, which will also hopefully bring some luck their way.