The Minnesota Wild were caught off guard by the Detroit Red Wings when they scored two quick goals to open the game on Monday night. Things didn’t look good at first, but the Wild pulled themselves together and tied it up within minutes to end the first period 2-2. In the second, it was the Wild’s turn to jump on the scoreboard and take the lead. They added two goals in the second, and then in the third, it was like a scoring demonstration.
The Wild got out to a two-goal lead before the Red Wings stormed back with two of their own to make it 5-4. The Wild put a stop to things before any more damage could be done and added two more goals for a 7-4 lead to steal their second straight win. The Wild’s Matt Boldy couldn’t be stopped, followed closely by Kirill Kaprizov.
The team endured even without Marcus Foligno, who served the final game of his suspension, and Matt Dumba, who was out with a lower-body injury. Their goaltender, Kaapo Kahkonen, struggled a bit initially but improved as the game went on. He once again made some big saves towards the end of the game to ensure his team would secure the win.
Wild’s Boldy Show
Boldy was the hero of the night as he not only got his team back into the game when he answered the Red Wings 2-0 lead with back-to-back goals of his own, but he also extended their lead. In the third period, he scored his third goal of the game and his very first hat trick in the NHL. He’s only the fourth rookie in Wild history to record a hat trick.
He was capable of more than scoring goals as well, following the hat trick, he went on to set up a goal for teammate Joel Eriksson Ek for his fourth point of the game. This was his fourth multi-point game of the season, and he has 14 points in 13 games. He leads the Wild’s rookies in goals and points, the assists column still belongs to Brandon Duhaime. Boldy not only tallied a goal while even strength but on the power play also.
Wild’s Special Teams Rollercoaster
The Wild had a very successful power play against the Red Wings, scoring on three of the four opportunities. Boldy was the leader, as he scored two of the Wild’s three power-play goals and set up the third one by Eriksson Ek, the current team leader in power-play goals. Eriksson Ek’s nine goals have him tied for 10th place in the league for most goals scored on the power play.
While the Wild had great success on the man advantage, their penalties were an issue. The main problem wasn’t their penalty kill, which let in one goal, but the actual number of penalties they took. They had six penalties called against them for 19 minutes total. This wasn’t a single game issue either, it’s happened the last three straight games. They need to play more disciplined going forward, or they’ll start to let in more than one goal shorthanded. They got away with it against the Red Wings, but against their next opponent, the Winnipeg Jets, they’ll have problems. Fortunately, this is an issue that should be easy to fix.
Wild’s Spurgeon Playing His Way
Jared Spurgeon has been steadily playing his way through this season but hasn’t been noticed very often. He does his job so well that oftentimes he’s forgotten, like against the Red Wings, he tallied two assists but was overlooked because of his teammate’s success. He assisted on both of Boldy’s power-play goals for his sixth multi-point game and his 17th point of the season. It was also the first time that he recorded a point in almost a month. He missed nearly a month due to an injury earlier in the season, but he’s come back better than ever and has been working hard on the blue line every night.
Wild’s Next Opponent
The Wild will face the Jets for the second time in just over a week, and after the way things ended in their last meeting, this next matchup will be intense. There was a lot of anger going back and forth between the two teams, and that irritation is how Foligno received his suspension. Ironically, his first game back from suspension will be against the Jets. For the sake of his teammates, he’ll need to keep his anger under control and avoid any more suspensions.
The Wild couldn’t get anything past the Jets in their last game, and they struggled greatly. Thankfully, they snapped back to their strong gameplay when they faced the Carolina Hurricanes a few days later. Their goaltending has been one of the bright spots throughout this season, and even when they struggled at the start against the Red Wings, Kahkonen held strong after letting in two early goals.
Since the goalies have been on rotation, it will be Cam Talbot’s turn when they face the Jets. Luckily for the Wild, he’s been playing some of his best hockey recently. They’ll be relying on his goaltending ability and Boldy’s scoring talent to get past the Jets this time around.