The Minnesota Wild stole the show from the New York Rangers on Henrik Lundqvist night at Madison Square Garden. They got behind early but found their strength in the second and third periods as they went on to win a close one 3-2. The Minnesota had two core defensive players Jonas Brodin and Cam Talbot back from injury that helped immensely.
Talbot had been out since the Winter Classic, he played two periods of their game against the Chicago Blackhawks but reinjured himself. He missed nearly seven games and played phenomenal in his return. As for Brodin, injuries and COVID kept him out of the lineup including missing the Winter Classic. He was out nearly two weeks but with all the postponed games, only missed that single game. He came back the next game but like Talbot, he was injured again. He missed the next six games before he finally made his return.
Against the Rangers, the Wild were fortunate enough to take part in Lundqvist’s jersey retirement, a number of players kept their point streaks alive and their special teams continued to improve. This win was their fourth in a row and has them tied for ninth in the league with 55 points.
Wild’s Ode to the King
The Wild had the honor to take part in the jersey retirement ceremony for Lundqvist, who’s affectionally known as “King Henrik” by many around the NHL. He played 15 seasons for the Rangers before he signed with the Washington Capitals in 2020. He wasn’t able to suit up for them though, as he needed open-heart surgery. It was believed he’d be back after the season but he made the decision to retire.
The Wild had a major tie to Lundqvist and his ceremony in Mats Zuccarello. He’s a former Ranger that played with Lundqvist for nine seasons. They became good friends and Zuccarello was able to take part in the ceremonial faceoff as well as embrace Lundqvist after it was over. During the game, Lundqvist warned his former teammates not to let Zuccarello score, but it was too late as he scored nearly ten seconds later.
It turned out to be a great night for Zuccarello, who had his sixth consecutive multi-point game as well as his tenth game in a row with a point. He’s scored five goals and 13 assists for 18 points in the last 10 games. Five of those points were on the power play and included one power-play goal, and he wasn’t the only Wild player to continue a point streak.
Wild’s Offensive Fire Continues
The Wild had five players who continued their point streaks following their win over the Rangers. Kirill Kaprizov and Kevin Fiala extended their streaks to ten games each. Fiala had his second straight multi-point game and has tallied 13 points in the last 10 games. Kaprizov didn’t have a multi-point night but did increase his points to 18 in the last ten games. He tallied his 33rd assist and 50th point of the season in front of his parents, who were in attendance for the win over the Rangers.
The final three players extended their point streaks to a second game each. Matt Boldy has continued his impressive play with three points in two games. He tallied an assist on the power play for his second straight power-play point. His linemate Frederick Gaudreau didn’t have success on a penalty shot but made the Rangers pay later when he scored the eventual game-winner and extended his point streak to two games. The last player on this list is defenseman Jordie Benn. He’s been quiet all season with just a point here and there until the last two games, where he registered a goal in one game and an assist in another for two points.
Wild’s Special Teams Continue Success
The Wild extended their streak of points on the power play to three games, the second-longest streak of the season. While they went 50 percent on the power play, their penalty kill was even better. The Rangers had two chances on the power play but the Wild shut them down both times as they went 100 percent on the penalty kill for the second straight game.
Not only did their power play and penalty kill do well against the Rangers, but they were also able to lower their number of giveaways. Prior to this game, the Wild had 10 giveaways against the Montreal Canadiens and 12 against the Chicago Blackhawks. However, against the Rangers, they were able to lower that number to four. They were able to reduce their giveaways, which was essential in their win over the Rangers.
Wild’s Next Stops
The Wild will be spending the weekend in New York as their next game is against the New York Islanders on Sunday, Jan. 30. It’ll be interesting to see if the game is affected at all as the Islanders game against the Seattle Kraken has been postponed due to a snowstorm. Things may be better by Sunday but there’s always a possibility the the game could be delayed if the snow is bad enough. Thankfully, they are used to dealing with breaks in the schedule, but hopefully, the game will go on without any problems.
They’ll see former teammate Zach Parise when they visit the Islanders, it’ll be the first time since the buyout of his contract last summer. He’s tallied 12 points in 36 games but will be eager to play well against his former team. The Wild will have to play as they did against the Rangers to get past the Islanders. They may not have a strong record this season but they’ll still be a tough team and the Wild will need to take them seriously. Now that they have Talbot and Brodin back, the team is nearly whole again with the exception of a couple of players still dealing with COVID and injuries. They’ll hopefully continue this win streak as they head to face the Islanders.
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Mariah Stark (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.