Well, well well. If it isn’t our old friend “tie the game late and dramatically win in OT.”
If there were a theme for this team, this would be it.
On the second night of a back-to-back, the Minnesota Wild came out slow and sluggish, as if they had just convincingly beaten this same team with a 5-1 win. A night where the Chicago Blackhawks stopped skating after the first 30 minutes and were preparing for the next one.
Ten minutes into the first, we got our first goal. Henrik Borgstrom tipped a point shot past Kaapo Kähkönen, which he didn’t have much of a chance on.
gustafsson throws the puck on net and it finds its way past kaapo, likely tipped by borgstrom— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) January 23, 2022
1-0 bad dudes pic.twitter.com/NuqYdJD5jR
For 19 and a half minutes, Kähkönen was the only thing stopping this game from being over as soon as it started, keeping up with the flying Chicago forwards and limiting second chances as best he could. It took nearly five minutes for the Wild to register their first shot of the game. Chicago out-chanced the Wild at every turn and outshot them 17-8 after 20 minutes.
After a powerplay tally by Alex DeBrincat (someone save him from this franchise), it seemed like the Wild would limp into the dressing room. But with a late penalty, the Wild were gifted just the opportunity to get back in the game before the period expired.
JEEk!! on the powerplay! pic.twitter.com/oQ97t8Wckn— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) January 23, 2022
If you were to sum up the first-period play of the Wild, it would be seen in this sequence. Chicago outworking the Wild, and Kähkönen bailing them out in an unlikely manner.
if it weren’t for kähkönen, it would be 5-0. don’t see a scorpion save very often. pic.twitter.com/OkhyovwW3C— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) January 23, 2022
After that rough start, it felt like it was all up from there. The Wild looked like themselves, and chances started piling up. Unfortunately, just as the first was all Kaapo, the second was all Kevin Lankinen.
The Chicago netminder, playing his second game in two nights after coming in to relieve a floundering Marc-André Fleury, was stellar. The Wild outshot Chicago 20-9 in the second, and Lankinen was there to stop them all.
wild get a grade A chance but lankinen is there to make the stop again pic.twitter.com/agXoHsKBre— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) January 23, 2022
With the third well underway and time winding down, Kirill Kaprizov extended his unofficial point streak to eight games and tied the game up with a powerplay tally.
But the high from the equalizer didn’t last long. A blunder in the net by Kähkönen led to Chicago tying the game up a minute and eighteen seconds after Kirill scored. Kähkönen lost track of the puck in his pads after a weak side shot, and a few moments later, the puck trickled in. Out of respect for Kaapo, starting two nights in a row and his strong play tonight — he stopped 33 of 36 shots — we aren’t going to post the clip. Without Kaapo, the Wild didn’t have a chance in this one.
If I were an NHL team, I would plan to not have a one or two-goal lead against this Wild team.
fiala makes it even with two minutes remaining! 3-3! pic.twitter.com/RtwRstbQxc— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) January 23, 2022
With the late game-tying goal, the Wild were handed the momentum they needed to finish off Chicago in OT.
smooth like butter pic.twitter.com/erwQmJwoNW— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) January 23, 2022
Dean Evason is the only one who loves a Wild win more than us.
At the end of the day, we can revel that this is how the majority of the Chicago fanbase feels on most nights;
“what’s it like to be a chicago fan right now?” pic.twitter.com/j1bLU5b9Fh— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) January 23, 2022
Kirill, Kevin and Mats. Can The Three Horsemen continue their production?
Hell yes, they can.
Each of the Wild’s best offensive weapons continued their point streaks to eight games, although the NHL doesn’t recognize Kirill’s officially because of a missed game. Zuccarello registered another multi-point game.
They. Just. Keep. Scoring.
Can Cam Talbot improve on his recent mediocre play?
Hard to improve when you are sitting on the bench. All signs pointed towards Talbot getting a start, but perhaps Kaapo’s recent play gave Evason the nerve to start him two nights in a row.
It’s hard to think he made the wrong decision based on the results.
Take your time Cam; come back healthy and rested.
Does Jared Spurgeon miss a step?
26:54 of ice time, two assists and was a menace in both ends of the ice. According to NaturalStatTrick.com, the Captain had a 77.42 CF% and 77.86 xGF% at 5v5.
Miss a step? What step. Spurgeon and Alex Goligoski picked up right where they left off, one of the best pairings in the league.