Heading into this game against the Kings. the Wild were riding a five-game winning streak and were looking to extend that winning streak to six games as they get closer and closer to clinching a spot in the playoffs.
The Wild came out flying to start the first period, spending much of their time in the offensive zone because of the speed and tenacity of their forecheck, which allowed them to generate quality scoring chances, the best of which was a Marcus Johansson shot from the slot off the post.
Just a few minutes later, Kirill Kaprizov scored what might be the goal of the year as he made a great move between the legs to get around Mikey Anderson and then finished it off for his team leading 20th goal of the season.
ARE YOU KIDDING, KIRILL KAPRIZOV?! pic.twitter.com/qz8fHHhvHS— Bally Sports North (@BallySportsNOR) April 24, 2021
Despite playing a mostly great first period, the Wild got caught running around in their own zone in the last minute of the period and Trevor Moore made them pay as he tied the game at 1-1 with just under a second left in the period.
Trevor Moore tie it up with just 0.9 seconds left in the first period.— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) April 24, 2021
this SUCKS. pic.twitter.com/QNYo2M3TCd
While the Kings were carrying most of the play in the 2nd period, the Wild actually took the lead on their first power-play of the game as Kirill Kaprizov walked into the slot and sniped a quick wrist shot past the glove of Petersen for his 2nd goal of the game to give the Wild a 2-1 lead.
Kirill the Thrill x2 pic.twitter.com/KGJq2RphRV— Bally Sports North (@BallySportsNOR) April 24, 2021
That would be the only goal in the 2nd period, and despite the Kings outshooting the Wild 31-13 through two periods, the Wild took a 2-1 lead into the 3rd period.
After a mostly even first half of the third period, the Wild extended their lead when a Nick Bonino wraparound attempt went right to Nico Sturm who tapped it in to an opne net to give the Wild a 3-1 lead.
The Kings would not go away easily though, as Anze Kopitar scored a nice wraparound goal with just under 5 minutes left in the game to cut the Wild lead to 3-2.
Despite a few intense moments in the final couple of minutes as the Kings pushed for the tying goal, the Wild were able to get an empty net goal from Joel Eriksson Ek to seal the deal and give the Wild a 4-2 win, their sixth consecutive victory as they inch closer to clinching a playoff spot.
Will Calvin Petersen’s rebound control burn him?
While Petersen did give up 3 goals on 23 shots, you couldn’t really blame any of the goals on him, as two of the were brilliant plays by Kirill Kaprizov, and the other was a wraparound attempt by Bonino that just found a way over to Sturm with the net wide open. So really, Petersen’s rebound control didn’t hurt him, but he just wasn’t able to come up with the big saves when his team needed them.
Can the Wild preserve a lead when they get it?
While the game got a little too close for comfort in the final few minutes of the 3rd period, the Wild did an overall good job of not allowing the Kings to get very close to tying the game after they took a 3-1 lead, and they managed to hang on and get a big 4-2 win.
Can the Wild dominate tonight against a team that playoff contenders should dominate?
The Wild did not exactly dominate in this game, as they were outshot by the Kings 42-24, and while that may look pretty bad, this game was mostly pretty even in terms of the flow of the game, with the Wild’s ability to finish on their chances being the difference in this game. With all that being said, the Wild will want to clean up their five on five play so that they do not get outshot in every game, because that is not a recipe for success in the playoffs. The good news is that they found a way to win the game, which is the most important thing.