Wild’s Greenway & Talbot Step Up in Win Over Rangers

The Minnesota Wild found their way against the New York Rangers at home on Tuesday night. It was a fast-paced, low whistle game that flowed very smoothly. They took advantage of having their team fully intact for the first time in months. Jordan Greenway was the final player to make his return to the lineup and he had an immediate impact when he snatched an assist in the first period.

Jordan Greenway Minnesota Wild
Jordan Greenway, Minnesota Wild (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The Wild jumped out to the early lead and had the Rangers on their heels. It held until the second period when things started to unravel for the Wild. The Rangers scored two quick goals, including one shorthanded, but the Wild answered back fast to take the lead. From that moment on, the Wild took control and added three more goals before the period ended with them leading 5-2.

The third period was quiet with no goals scored by either team and no penalties either. For the first time all season, the Wild didn’t take a single penalty. The game was relatively quiet as the Rangers had only one two-minute penalty the entire game, but it was an adventurous one.

Wild’s GREEF Line Back

With Greenway back in the lineup that meant the reunion of the GREEF line that consists of Greenway, Joel Eriksson Ek, and Marcus Foligno. The line has done well the majority of the season and when different members have been out, it has shown. When they were reunited, there was a spark and they ended up accounting for five points. With his assist early in the game, Greenway recorded the 100th point of his career in his first game back after an injury. He’s had a rough season due to injuries and for him to reach this milestone was well deserved.

Joel Eriksson-Ek Minnesota Wild
Joel Eriksson-Ek, Minnesota Wild (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Greenway tallied one point along with linemate Eriksson Ek who scored the fourth goal of the game for the Wild. While those two had one point each, Foligno blew everyone away with his goal and two assists for three points. Foligno wasn’t the only player to have a multi-point night, though. He may not have been part of the GREEF line but Kevin Fiala contributed big as well. He scored the Wild’s go-ahead go on the power play and he also registered the final goal of the game for two points and was given credit for the game-winning goal.

Wild’s Single Power Play

The Wild had only one power-play chance throughout the game, but it wasn’t a normal one. First, the Rangers scored while shorthanded to tie the game, and then the Wild answered right back on the same penalty to take back the lead. It was the second power-play goal they scored in the last three games. Thankfully, they didn’t have to go on the penalty kill as that has been a bigger struggle than their power play lately.

Wild Didn’t Panic

They got an early lead but then let the Rangers climb back into the game in the second period. In past games, if a team took the lead or climbed back into the game, the Wild had trouble staying focused. They’d start to panic and the game would get away from them. That didn’t happen against the Rangers as they held their ground and played their game for the first time in a long while.

Related: Wild Check-In: Kaprizov Shines Amidst Team Struggles

One of the biggest differences in this game was their confidence. They capitalized on open pucks and although they had a high number of giveaways, they defended well. They had 10 blocked shots that were spread out throughout the whole lineup. Forwards Eriksson Ek, Frederick Gaudreau, and Brandon Duhaime each had a blocked shot while the rest belonged to the defensive core. Alex Goligoski had the highest among them with four shots blocked while Jared Spurgeon had two and Dmitry Kulikov had one.

Wild’s Talbot Bounces Back

After a rough couple of weeks in net, Cam Talbot found his game and did his part to secure the win for his team. He faced some of the league’s best goal scorers and kept them to two goals. It’s the first game in almost a month that his goals-against average (GAA) has been at two or lower.

Cam Talbot Minnesota Wild
Cam Talbot, Minnesota Wild (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Against the Rangers, he faced 25 shots and saved 23. He had a save percentage (SV%) of .920 and his GAA was 2.00. While his GAA was the lowest it’s been in nearly a month the same can be said about his save percentage. The last time it was over .900 was in the same game almost a month ago. Thankfully, Talbot has gotten back on the winning track and hopefully has found his solid game again.

Wild Head on the Road

The Wild will head on the road again for their second back-to-back set of the month. Their first opponent will be the Detroit Red Wings who they beat the last time they faced them on Valentine’s Day. The Red Wings have a record slightly below .500 and they’ll be coming off a hard 9-2 loss at the hands of the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday.

The Wild will still have to take them seriously and watch out for their leading scorers Dylan Larkin, Tyler Bertuzzi, Lucas Raymond, and Moritz Seider. While the defense will be busy with the forwards, the Wild’s forwards will have to get by the Red Wings goaltenders. Both Alex Nedeljkovic and Thomas Greiss have struggled this season and that could come to the Wild’s advantage. They’ll have to play just like they did against the Rangers, get on the board early, and don’t let up for the entire 60 minutes.