Wild’s Offense On Fire In Win Over Stars

The Minnesota Wild looked like a whole new team when they took the ice against the Dallas Stars. They had their fire back that carried them through the very beginning of the season. They jumped out to an early lead and didn’t step off the gas, even when former Wild teammate Ryan Suter was out on the ice.

Wild head coach Dean Evason was up to his usual tricks of switching around lines and it sparked something in them. They got back on the winning track with a decisive 7-2 win. Many good things happened throughout the game and several the Wild still need to address that have been issues most of the season but didn’t get in the way too badly last night.

Wild Lighting it Up

The Wild scored a season-high seven goals that were scored all by different players. They also had a total of 12 players make it onto the scoresheet. Of those 12, four had multi-point games, including forward Victor Rask, who had been scratched the last four games.

Victor Rask Minnesota Wild
Victor Rask, Minnesota Wild (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Two other Wild players jumped onto the scoresheet after a one-game absence and those players were Rem Pitlick and Ryan Hartman. They had a great outing against the Seattle Kraken, were held out against the San Jose Sharks, and were back at it against the Stars. Hartman has climbed to the top of the Wild’s scoring tied for second with Mats Zuccarello, each with 12 points respectively.

Related: Wild Check-In: Pitlick, Hartman, Dumba & Fiala

Pitlick, on the other hand, has slowly climbed his way to eleventh place on the Wild roster with six points in seven games played. He’s been a real dark horse for the Wild and surely will become a fan favorite before the end of the season.

Wild’s “Kirill the Thrill” is Back

Speaking of fan favorites, Kirill Kaprizov, the star scorer for the Wild, seemed to find his stride against the Stars after having quite the goal drought throughout the beginning of the season. He had the familiar competitiveness and tenacity that he had all last season. He also scored a career-high four points against the Stars, which included a goal and three assists.

As far as his scoring drought is concerned, he hadn’t had a horrible season up to this point, just a slow one when it comes to goals. His goals are still low, he’s scored four times, but he’s assisted on 11 others for a total of 15 points in 16 games. Those 15 points put him at the top of the Wild’s point leaders as well.

Kirill Kaprizov Minnesota Wild
Kirill Kaprizov, Minnesota Wild (Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Kaprizov wasn’t with his natural linemate, Zuccarello, at the beginning of the game, but partway through, they were paired together again and it proved to work. They helped set each other up and showed how good they could be together.

Wild’s Penalty Time & Faceoffs Take Hit

With all the good things that happened for the Wild, it’s hard to nitpick the bad, but there were two things that the Wild need to fix. The first is the amount of time in the penalty box, and the other is their faceoffs.

The Wild’s time spent in the penalty box has been all over the place this season, but it’s been a bit high lately. They were in the box for 19 minutes against the Stars, including a two-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Brandon Duhaime for dropping his gloves, no fight occurred.  They were able to kill off all the penalties but one when the Stars could sneak one by on the power play. One goal scored out of six total chances aren’t bad, but it could’ve been better.

The other stat that took a hit was the Wild’s faceoffs. They had a faceoff win percentage of 42.2%, which sits near the middle of their overall percentages. It may not have been the worst, but it could definitely be better. The highest the Wild have hit this season was 60% back against the Winnipeg Jets, so the Wild can do better; they just need to figure out how.

Wild Need to Build Off Win

The Wild came back with a vengeance following their disappointing loss to the Sharks and found a way to have a lead and keep it. They’ll need to keep that motivation from now on as they’ll head back on the road to face some tougher teams in Florida and Tampa Bay, as well as the New Jersey Devils.

The Wild need to fix their time in the penalty box and their faceoffs, they can’t afford any big mistakes against a team like Florida. They’ll also need their recent scoring heroes, Pitlick and Hartman, to keep up their good work, along with Kaprizov, who’s hopefully found his scoring touch to keep them on the winning track.

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