Previously on “The Des Moines Report”, the Wild’s point streak had reached 10 games after a 1-1-1 week that saw the Wild play 3 games in six days, including a trip to the Mile High City and a match-up at home. This time around, the Wild would once again play three games in six days, but this time, the Friday/Saturday back-to-back would be at Wells Fargo, followed up by a trip to the ‘Big D’ for a Wednesday night contest. Could the point streak continue for the 1st place Wild? Let’s find out!
Game 24: vs Chicago
It was Teddy Bear Toss Night at Wells Fargo and it wouldn’t take long for the bears to be sent flying. In a game that saw five goals in the first period alone and nine in total, it was an exciting one to say the least. Chicago would take a 3-2 lead after 20 minutes of play, with the first Wild goal coming from Colton Beck to unleash the horde of flying teddy bears, and Gerry Fitzgerald following that up to keep the Wild in the game. Iowa would go into the final frame tied up at 4 with two early goals in the middle frame, both coming off the stick of Mitch McLain. In the deciding third period, only one goal would be scored and sadly, it would come from Chicago. The Wolves would take this one 5-4, ending the Wild’s point streak at 10 consecutive games.
Kaapo Kahkonen would stop 21 of 26 shots, while the power play went just 0/1 and the penalty kill went 1/2.
Game 25: vs Grand Rapids
A busy weekend continued at Wells Fargo, with Star Wars characters roaming around the arena on Saturday night to follow up the Teddy Bear madness of Friday. Although Friday didn’t go as planned, a huge 3rd period would spark the Wild to victory Saturday. Justin Kloos and Gerald Mayhew would score twice in a span of 54 seconds to open the game. However, the Wild would squander that lead until the offense came alive again in the 3rd. Dmitry Sokolov, Luke Kunin, and Sokolov again would be enough to propel the Wild to a 5-2 victory over a key division opponent. Kahkonen had this night off and C.J. Motte would step in and pick up his first win with the Wild this season, stopping 22 of the 24 shots the Griffins threw his way.
This time, the power play would go 2/6 while the penalty kill would go a perfect 3-for-3.
Game 26: @ Texas
This one wasn’t so good for the Iowa Wild. The Stars and Wild would trade goals back and forth the first 30 minutes of the game, but from then on it was all Texas. Four unanswered for the Stars, including three in the 3rd for the 6-3 victory over the Wild. Fitzgerald, Beck, and Sokolov were the goal scorers for the Wild, while Kahkonen turned away 24 of the 29 Stars shots. The power play would bury just one of its five opportunities, while the penalty kill staved off just 2 of the 4 manpower advantages for the Stars.
Special “Special” Teams
Although the power play only went 3 for 12 during the stretch of these three games, the Wild PP still ranks 5th in the AHL at 22.4%. Only Utica, Springfield, Texas and Syracuse are ahead of Iowa for best in the league with the man advantage. On the other hand, the PK this season is 9th in the AHL at 83.8%, but is tied for 5th in terms of goals scored while shorthanded. With the PP and PK both doing well, it is a large reason why the Wild are tied for 1st in the Central and Western Conference with Milwaukee, and tied for 2nd in the entire league with Rochester and Milwaukee.