The Minnesota Wild took on the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday (April 10) and once again started the game down early. The Kings scored a shorthanded goal and followed that up with two more goals to take a commanding 3-0 lead before the 11-minute mark of the first period. The Wild looked to be nearly out of the game but they fought back with back-to-back goals late in the period to get back within one.
The Wild carried that momentum into the second period where they scored early to tie it up. They switched things up on the Kings and scored two more to take the lead and end the period up 5-3. They then scored one more goal in the third to make it 6-3 and secured the win. The injury front had some good and bad news, as they had Matt Boldy back in the lineup but Nicolas Deslauriers was still out due to a lower-body injury. Matt Dumba and Jon Merrill also remained out of the game with an unknown return time.
Wild’s Boldy is Back
Boldy made it clear how valuable of a player he was quite quickly when he earned a permanent roster spot after playing just nine games. In those first nine games, he tallied four goals and nine points to earn that spot. Prior to his recent injury, he had played in 35 games and had 27 points which included 12 goals and 15 assists. To break it down even further, three of those goals were on the power play and he had nine power-play points total.
In his return after missing the previous four games with injury, Boldy recorded two points. He assisted on the first Wild goal of the game scored by Kirill Kaprizov on the power play. He then scored the Wild’s second goal of the game that finished off the second period and contributed to their comeback in the third. They really missed his presence the last four games and he’ll be an important piece of their offense as the regular season comes to a close.
Wild’s Offense Comes From Everywhere
Boldy wasn’t the only one who made an impact, as there were five other players in the Wild lineup that scored goals including their defense. Kaprizov’s goal was the first for the Wild but his 42nd overall tied the franchise record for most goals in a season. It was also his 89th point, which is just 11 away from 100 for those who are keeping track. The Wild have 11 games left, which leaves a high chance he could hit that number. In the last 10 games, he’s scored 13 points with four multi-point nights thrown in.
The Wild’s defense got in on the action too when Jared Spurgeon scored his seventh goal of the season unassisted to tie the game. He also had the secondary assist on Kaprizov’s goal for his 29th of the season. They had goals from Mats Zuccarello, Marcus Foligno, and Nick Bjugstad as well. The Wild could’ve actually had three goals from defensemen if the original shots had gotten through without being deflected or stopped initially by the goaltender.
Foligno’s goal was tipped from the point on a shot by Jordie Benn who had a better game this time around than his last performance. Their last goal of the game by Bjugstad was a rebound that came off a shot by Jacob Middleton which originally hit the pipe. Middleton had a great performance in their last game with a goal and two assists against the St. Louis Blues, plus he had five blocked shots to help out his goaltender.
Wild’s Fleury Flips Switch
At the beginning of the game Wild goaltender, Marc-André Fleury let in three goals on the first five shots he faced. It looked to be a short night for him as it was expected he would be pulled after that third goal, but he ended up staying in. It turned out to be the right decision, as he went on to be rock solid throughout the rest of the game.
Fleury faced a total of 34 shots and stopped 31 of them for a save percentage of .912 and a goals-against-average of 3.02. He made some crazy saves in the second and third period including a behind-the-back one that he nearly lost his glove on. His resilience is one of the things that makes him so successful and it was key in the Wild’s win over the Kings.
Wild Look Ahead
The Wild will remain at home for their next game against the Edmonton Oilers. Their first two games against each other went the Wild’s way and they were both on the road. Now at home, they will be coming off this strong come from behind win while the Oilers will be looking to avenge their one-goal loss to the Colorado Avalanche in a shootout.
Everyone knows the Wild will have to keep both Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl off the scoreboard as they’re the Oilers’ most lethal scorers. They’ll also have to watch out for Zach Hyman and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, they haven’t scored as much as their counterparts but they’re still talented goal scorers. While the team as a whole tries to keep those players off the scoreboard, they’ll hopefully have as much luck as in their previous meetings for their own scoring.
The Wild have faced both of the Oilers’ goaltenders, Mikko Koskinen and Mike Smith. They chased Smith out of their last meeting and took down Koskinen in their first game against them. Their own goaltender will be the key in this next meeting and it’ll most likely be Cam Talbot as he was in net for their first match-up and it will also be his turn in the rotation.
Wild’s Record Books
While Kaprizov and Zuccarello have the chance to set new franchise records for goals and assists in a season, Spurgeon also has that chance. The assist in their win against the Kings marked his seventh game with an assist and tied the record for most games with an assist by a defenseman. The player he tied with was none other than former Wild defenseman Ryan Suter.
If Spurgeon can continue the streak, he’ll break that record and also become the leader with the longest assist streak by any Wild player, defensemen or not. Hopefully, Kaprizov, Zuccarello, and Spurgeon can all continue their respective streaks against the Oilers and secure another win to sweep the series and in the process, secure their places in franchise history.