Wild’s Hartman Scores Twice & Talbot Gets the Win Over the Flyers

The Minnesota Wild started to look like the team they’ve been all season when they took on the Philadelphia Flyers in the first game of a back-to-back out on the east coast. The Wild struggled to keep the Flyers off the scoreboard but they found ways to fight back. After getting down early they made a comeback and secured their first win since Feb. 20 against the Edmonton Oilers.

It was a crazy game that started when the Flyers scored but the Wild managed to tie it. This back-and-forth in goals went on the entire game until the Wild stole the lead in the third and held on until the end. They got the win even though they remained without Matt Dumba and Jordan Greenway who went on the trip with the team but did not play.

Hartman Was Wild’s Hero

Ryan Hartman started the season off hot, hit an on-and-off lull, but found his scoring touch once more against the Flyers. He tied the game twice with the Wild’s first and third goals and recorded six shots. It was his ninth multi-point game of the season and he set a new career-high in goals with 21. His two goals against the Flyers beat his old record of 19 set back in 2016-17 with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Ryan Hartman Minnesota Wild
Ryan Hartman, Minnesota Wild (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Hartman had a great game offensively but was also active defensively. He had one hit and two blocked shots. His second blocked shot came at the end of the game when he made a sprawling slide to help out goaltender Cam Talbot. The shot he blocked likely saved the game for the Wild.

Wild’s Penalty Kill Suffered Again

It’s been a broken record the last few weeks but the Wild’s penalty kill allowed a goal for the third straight game. Thankfully, the Flyers only converted on one out of their three power-play chances. Regardless, they have struggled on the penalty kill for quite some time and there are a couple of reasons for it.

The first problem is the defense has been without Dumba and he spent a lot of time killing penalties before his injury. Taking him out of the lineup has forced the Wild to shuffle their defensive core around for both even-strength situations as well as special teams. They haven’t been able to find the perfect mix for the penalty kill yet.

Matt Dumba Minnesota Wild
Matt Dumba, Minnesota Wild (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The second problem has been their goaltending, both at even strength and on the penalty kill. When they’ve been a man down, their goaltender has often been left on their own because of a breakdown in the defense. However, every goal can’t be blamed on the defense, as their goaltender has to back them up sometimes and make that final save. 

Wild’s Talbot Back

Speaking of goaltending, it was Talbot’s turn in net and he proved he could bounce back from hard losses. He didn’t improve his stats by much in their win but he made the big saves when he needed to. He faced 30 shots and saved 26 of them. He had a save percentage of .867 and his goals-against average was 4.00, it hasn’t been at two or below since Feb. 12 when they beat the Carolina Hurricanes.

Related: Wild Check-In: Fiala Leads Way, Goaltending Struggles

Talbot had been the first of the goalie tandem to show signs of struggling when the Wild’s losing streak started but now, he’s found his way back to the win column. Hopefully, his ability to help his team steal a win will keep going and they’ll stay on this path.

Wild’s Spurgeon Spotlight

The longstanding defenseman and current captain of the Wild hit a special milestone in the win against the Flyers. Jared Spurgeon played in his 744th game which is the most games played by a Wild defenseman in franchise history. He didn’t tally any points but he had a good game overall despite recording a giveaway. He made up for it with a blocked shot and multiple scoring opportunities that he couldn’t quite convert on.

Wild Face Sabres

The Wild made it through game one of their back-to-back and will go on to face the Buffalo Sabres in game two. They were taken down 3-2 in a shootout by the Sabres in their first meeting back in December. At the time, they were in their first downward slump but thankfully it didn’t last long and they snapped back just like this time around.

The Sabres are another team that has had trouble all season but like the Flyers, they can’t be underestimated. The Wild will have to be careful of Tage Thompson, Jeff Skinner, and Rasmus Dahlin who have been the Sabres’ top scorers this season. Thompson also scored the game-winner in the shootout in their last meeting.

Tage Thompson, Buffalo Sabres
Tage Thompson, Buffalo Sabres (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Hartman will hopefully keep his point streak going as the Sabres goaltenders haven’t been at the top of their game recently. Frederick Gaudreau, Matt Boldy, and Jonas Brodin will also be looking to continue their point streaks. With the Wild back on the winning track, it’ll be interesting to see if they can keep it up, especially in back-to-back games on the road.

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