Wild’s Kaprizov Ties Franchise Record in Loss to Penguins

The Minnesota Wild finished up their homestand against the Pittsburgh Penguins last night and their winning streak came to an end. The game was high energy from the start and lasted all the way until the final goal in overtime. The Penguins got out to an early lead a minute into the game and things were quiet for a little while. The Wild answered back halfway through the period and held the tie until the beginning of the second.

Dean Evason Minnesota Wild
Dean Evason, head coach of the Minnesota Wild (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Penguins found their momentum again early on and this time they found a two-goal lead as they added one halfway through the second to go up 3-1. Once again, the Wild had to find a way to respond and they did just that. Towards the end of the second, they found the back of the net to get within one and had the advantage going into the final period.

The Wild then did what they’ve done best and came from behind again. They kept with the theme of the night and scored right away to begin the period. The rest of the game was a lot of back and forth action with both teams having multiple chances before time ran out. The same could be said for overtime as it was a lot of back and forth until finally, the Penguins scored to steal the win 4-3.

Wild’s Kaprizov the Hero Again

Yes, Kirill Kaprizov can be considered a hero even if his team lost in the end. He was the reason they made it to overtime in the first place and he had multiple chances that barely missed. He finally found the net in the third and it was the magic point. He made franchise history with his 83rd point, tying Marián Gáborík’s franchise record of 83 points from back in the 2007-08 season. Kaprizov’s next point will break the record and he will be the new franchise record holder for points in a season.

His goal was his 38th of the season and his fifth straight game with a goal. He’s scored six goals in the last five games and tallied seven points. The goal wasn’t the only aspect of his game that was strong, he had to double up his shifts a few times throughout the third after Matt Boldy was injured and did not return to the lineup. He played well with Frederick Gaudreau and Kevin Fiala for the few shifts he joined them in Boldy’s absence.

The final item that was impressive with Kaprizov’s game was the overtime session. He had a big block that kept them in it as well as being extremely disciplined. He, along with his linemates played man-on-man and stuck with it. They followed their player everywhere and made it nearly impossible to score until the Penguins found a way to sneak by and force the puck past goaltender Cam Talbot for the game-winner.

Wild’s Greenway on Hot Streak

It may not seem like it, but Jordan Greenway has played some impressive hockey in the last few games. He scored in their last win over the Philadelphia Flyers and against the Penguins but it was called off due to an offside. He had two shots on goal and a takeaway and he also denied a scoring chance for Sidney Crosby when the Wild’s defense was caught off guard.

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For the first time in a few weeks, Greenway didn’t register any hits. In the last five games prior to this, he had 13 hits, riding a high caused by teammates Nicolas Deslauriers and Jacob Middleton who have hit everything that moved in their last few games. He played well without the physicality, but it has added another aspect to his game that has given him an advantage recently.

Wild’s Goaltending & Special Teams Rollercoaster

Both areas were a mixed bag in this game. The goaltending struggled a bit at the beginning after the Penguins’ first goal but as the game progressed, Talbot got stronger. He made several big saves throughout both the third period and overtime that kept his team in the game.

The special teams were tested as both teams took a number of penalties. The Wild had to kill off five penalties and for the third consecutive game, they let in a power play goal, but thankfully only one. The Penguins are in the top half of the league for power-play percentage and with the Wild’s struggles in that area, it’s great they kept it to only one goal against.

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

On the flip side, they scored a power-play goal for the fourth game in a row and they did it against the second-best penalty-killing unit in the league. This time, the goal was scored by defenseman Matt Dumba for his second goal in the last two games and it was also his first power-play goal of the season.

Wild’s Next Opponent

The Wild have a big back-to-back on the road this weekend and their first opponent will be the Carolina Hurricanes. They snuck out a 3-2 win the last time they played back in February. While the Wild will be coming off this heartbreaking loss to the Penguins, their opponent will be coming off a win over the Montréal Canadiens.

Again they’ll have to keep leading scorers Sebastian Aho, Andrei Svechnikov, and Teuvo Teravainen off the scoresheet while their forwards try to find a way past either goaltender Antti Raanta or Frederik Andersen. Both have played in the last few days but Andersen has more experience and may be their go-to. The Wild should have Boldy back over the weekend but defenseman Jon Merrill will not be making the trip after he blocked a shot. Losing him is a big blow to their defense but thankfully they have Alex Goligoski who can step in.

The Wild played well against the Penguins but couldn’t pull out the win. They still received a point that’ll help them maintain their position in the standings but they’ll have to play even stronger this weekend to come out with a possible four points.

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