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4 Things: Takeaways from Wild’s patient win over Devils

A strong start led to a close finish.

Minnesota Wild v New Jersey Devils Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The Minnesota Wild eventually cleaned up their act and snuck out a shootout win over the New Jersey Devils. Here’s 4 Things on that adventure:

1 — Cam Talbot is able to seal up any defensive concerns the Wild have, for now.

The only reason they were even able to earn any points, let alone two, was because of the man in between the pipes. Cam Talbot was simply calm and collected the entire hour of action that led to even more fantastic goal preventions in overtime and shutout the three Devils players that they sent out there for the shootout.

Talbot had to deal with a season-high 77 shot attempts by an opponent and 58 of those were unblocked attempts. Almost once a single minute there was a puck that Talbot had to concentrate on and not enjoy his team have controlling the play up the ice. The Wild were just not able to sustain any semblance of pressure beyond their two first-period goals. They got those on a whim—especially the shorthanded tally from Nico Sturm—and just sat back as Cam caught everything his way.

Of course, he did eventually cave in under pressure and let in two goals in the third period—including one that was scored with an extra skater for the home team—but it’s just a sign that he is in fact human.

2 — Can we blame the lack of morning skate and the whole “being stuck in traffic” thing on the Wild’s sluggish attempts?

So, the Wild were kind of the story of the NHL for a couple minutes, as their game was delayed by about 30 minutes because the team was stuck in traffic as they tried to make the trip from Manhattan to Newark. Classic traffic! That meant no morning skate, really no warm-up skate, and just that general groggy feeling you have when being on a bus for way too long surrounded by the glowing red lights of hell.

The Wild got lucky being able to get some goals on the board early, but they really scrambled to stay in the game—as I mentioned before, you know, the whole “season-high shot attempts against” thing. It’s difficult to watch a team that is usually in complete control of possession, fall into this hole of the opposite. Even on this current road trip, Minnesota had the Florida Panthers attempt 65 shots at them (third-highest of the season). Maybe it’s just being away for stretches of time during this early part of their campaign, so I will only be very worried if it continues for the upcoming five-game homestand.

3 — Wild on the other end of a comeback.

It’s like we’re living in a dang opposite world. The Wild came out with a win they didn’t deserve, they had a sub-50 percent expected goal share, and they had a team come back from a multi-goal deficit to force overtime.

This is certainly just the sum of everything that went wrong with this one, but it just feels so damn weird.

4 — Kaprizov looks to be solidified in his old highlight habits, as Fiala drifts away.

Kirill Kaprizov is back on his bullshit, and even though he really came out massive with his four-point performance against the Dallas Stars to declare that he has returned to his Calder Trophy-earning performances, seeing a streak of games where he dipped and dived through any defender is making me feel whole once again.

He didn’t even do anything that special to earn himself a point in this one, but he was just seamless when it came to moving the puck up the ice during the rare chances that the Wild actually had possession of it. Kaprizov looks like a star once again and it’s just so nice to see it.

The other Wild offensive star isn’t so lucky. Aside from the game-winning shootout goal, Kevin Fiala wasn’t really apparent to be on the ice or have an effect on the play. Considering that everyone is now assuming that his name is out there in the trade market—mostly because the Wild didn’t commit to him long-term and he’s getting expensive for a streaky winger—his play against the Devils was just not good enough. He had zero shots on goal, just two shot attempts, and didn’t look comfortable offensively. I truly hope this is not the last we see of a player that has been able to take over games in the past, but it all depends on the supposed upgrade that we might see short-term if they are willing to sacrifice a promising forward in his prime.

At least there’s someone else that is cool to watch right now.