The Minnesota Wild took down the Boston Bruins in a must-win game on Wednesday night. They had a rough few games in the last week but they found their way against a strong Bruins team that included Nick Foligno, brother of Marcus Foligno. They jumped out to a two-goal lead and looked to be in control until the end of the first period. Things turned in the Bruins’ favor after they scored at the end of the period and again at the beginning of the second to tie the game.
The Wild were quiet in the second period but found their stride in the third. The “Big-Rig” Jordan Greenway got the go-ahead goal and eventual game-winner to help the Wild get back on the winning side of things. It wasn’t the prettiest game and they still have things to work on, but they’re heading in the right direction.
Wild’s Kaprizov Has Big Night
Other than their game against the Nashville Predators where he tallied zero points, Kirill Kaprizov’s been quietly but steadily recording points. Against the Bruins, he quit being quiet and jumped onto the scene. He scored the first two goals back-to-back to give his team the lead and had four shots on goal. He also had a hit, takeaway, giveaway, and a blocked shot.
His goals were his 31st and 32nd of the season as well as his 74th and 75th points. He’s 25 points away from 100 and would be the first Wild player to do so in franchise history. He’s nine points away from breaking the current point record of 83 held by Marián Gáborik. He’s also eight assists away from breaking the current assist record of 50 that Pierre-Marc Bouchard set in 2007-08. All of these records he could break and he’s only in his second season.
One area he could improve on is his passing, they’re usually always on target but oftentimes he passes too much. He’ll make the perfect pass, his teammate will pass it back, and rather than take the shot he’ll make another pass that was unnecessary. Most of those passes end up getting picked off and head in the wrong direction. If he can be a little more selfish and take more shots, he might end up with even more goals.
Wild Jost’s First Night
It was assumed by many that the Wild weren’t going to make any big deals at the trade deadline, but they made one that was a needed surprise. They traded Nico Sturm to the Colorado Avalanche and they got Tyson Jost in return. Sturm was a well-liked player in Minnesota but he was having a rough season and needed a change.
Jost didn’t make a huge impact in his first game but he didn’t have a bad performance either. He didn’t tally any points but had three hits. He spent time on the fourth line with Nick Bjugstad and Brandon Duhaime. It may take time for him to adjust but with the little bit of ice time he had, he did well, and hopefully, he’ll bring rejuvenated energy to the fourth line.
Wild Still Have Issues to Fix
The Wild may have won, but they still have a number of things they need to fix to keep on the winning track. The first is, to stop letting the open forward sneak in behind their defense and score on an unprepared goaltender. The next is probably the most important one, their penalty kill. They’ve struggled shorthanded in the last nine out of ten games and that included this game against the Bruins.
Something they’ll need to keep an eye on going forward is their physicality. It’s good to have a physical side when it’s needed but they have to stay in control. When the Wild start to focus more on hitting, it tends to go overboard and they forget their style of play. They spend too much time in the penalty box and their defensive side suffers. Along with Kaprizov’s passing, they need to keep their physicality in check.
The final issue is one that everyone has talked about lately, their goaltending. At the beginning of the season, it was lights out but lately, it’s been less than spectacular. Cam Talbot was in net against the Bruins and out of the two goals, one wasn’t his fault while the other he may have been slightly screened but it flew right past him. He got the win but his play could use some tightening up as the season goes on.
Wild Face Blackhawks
The Wild will have another two-day break before they face the Chicago Blackhawks for the fourth time this season. They have won the last three games against the Blackhawks but they can’t be underestimated. The Hawks will be coming off a three-day break after a close overtime loss to the same team the Wild just took down, the Bruins.
Patrick Kane will be a scoring threat as usual but they’ll also have to look out for Alex DeBrincat, Seth Jones, and Brandon Hagel. Jonathan Toews would normally be on this list but he’s had a much quieter season than in previous years. The Wild’s forwards will most likely have to deal with Marc-Andre Fleury in net. They chased him in their last game when they won 5-0. Hopefully, they’ll have the same luck on Saturday and add another win to get another streak started.
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.