The Minnesota Wild took on the Philadelphia Flyers for its first-ever Pride Night and the second matchup between these two teams this month. Though, this time around they were without key player Claude Giroux who was traded early last week. The Wild got out to an early lead and kept pressing all throughout the game. They had two goals in each period until the third when the Flyers got their only goal.
The Flyers had a bit of a pushback in the final period that included a goal to bring the score to 4-1. The Wild held on through the last few minutes and came out on top. It was their seventh straight win and the first in regulation in over a week. It was clear they had more energy due to having some rest after their back-to-back over the weekend and it benefitted them greatly.
Wild Scoring Spree
The Wild had goals from each line but the fourth as well as a defenseman getting in on the action. This time Kirill Kaprizov did not have the first goal of the game but Matt Dumba did. Matt Boldy and Frederick Gaudreau assisted on his goal. It was Boldy’s first point in seven games and Gaudreau’s third point in the last three games as he went on to assist on another goal later in the game.
The second goal belonged to Kaprizov for his 37th of the season and 82nd point. He is now within a point of the franchise record held by Marián Gáborík. The next goal went to Jordan Greenway who has played with more confidence than in the past, it was his eighth goal of the season. The last goal belonged to Kevin Fiala whose game has also been filled with more confidence than in the first half of the season.
It was Fiala’s 23rd goal and his fifth point in the last three games. Along with Gaudreau, Joel Eriksson Ek had two assists while Jared Spurgeon, Marcus Foligno, and Dmitry Kulikov each picked up single assists. Kaprizov’s goal was his third consecutive power-play goal for his 10th of the season.
Wild’s Special Teams Up & Down Trend Continues
The Wild’s special teams have been the talk of the town for the last few months and with the way things are going it will probably continue that way. For a while they were a disaster, letting in a power play goal nearly every game until the Wild seemed to flip a switch and started to improve. Lately, however, they’ll have a strong game and then the next one their special teams will struggle.
In the last two games, they let in a goal while shorthanded but they also scored with the man advantage. So while their penalty kill struggled, their power play flourished. Earlier in the season, when they were really struggling and allowing a number of power play goals, they weren’t scoring on the power play. At least now, they’re winning but also figuring out how to score on the power play.
Wild’s Fleury Proves Talent
Of course, you can’t talk about the Wild now without at least one mention of Marc-André Fleury. He was in net for the second game of his Wild career and he tallied his second straight win. He allowed just one goal with a .970 save percentage and 1.00 goals-against average. He faced 33 shots and saved 32 of them, most of them in the third period all at one time. Also, for the second time in a row following the game, he received a couple of bouquets of flowers for his win.
Fleury said he will use the flowers to decorate his hotel room but notes: “Obviously very nice, but fans don’t need to waste their money on those.” 💐 #mnwild— Jessi Pierce (@jessi_pierce) March 30, 2022
Most goalies would get a little stiff after facing just 16 shots through the first two periods but not Fleury. In the third period after a frenzy in front of his net, he was smiling ear to ear, appearing to be happy to have some pucks to stop. The Flyers had a few strong chances in the period and he was there to stop all but one.
Wild Take On Penguins
The Wild will finish their homestand against the Pittsburgh Penguins, a team they are close to in the standings. The first time these two teams met was back in November and the Wild came out on top in a shootout. This time, their meetup will include Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, as both players were injured when the first game came around.
Cam Talbot will more than likely be in net against the Penguins and he’ll have to watch out for Crosby, Malkin, Jake Guentzel, and Kris Letang. That leaves the goaltending the Wild will have to get by as Tristan Jarry or Casey DeSmith. It’ll probably be Jarry, as he’s clearly the starter and has had more experience this season. Though, both goalies have decent records.
It’ll be interesting to see if the Wild can keep up this winning streak as well as their strong play. With the addition of Fleury and their other new players, the lineup has had a boost of energy it seemed to miss most of the season. Hopefully, they can keep stacking up the wins as the regular season nears its end.
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.