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Recap: Rossi helps fuel top line in 4-1 win against Blackhawks

Slated with Kaprizov and Hartman, Marco Rossi proved himself a legitimate threat in a 4-1 win over the Hawks.

NHL: Preseason-Chicago Blackhawks at Minnesota Wild David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

Puck drop at 7:00 p.m. in St. Paul tonight featuring the second of two games against the Blackhawks. With roster spots on the line, Minnesota Wild fans were in for an energetic group looking to take care of their division rivals, the Chicago Blackhawks.

The penultimate season tuneup started a little slow. Going against Alex Stalock in the pipes for Chicago, member of the Wild and UMD bulldogs as well as a native of South St. Paul. The Wild appeared to show some mercy to their fellow Minnesotan as Stalock pitched a shutout for the first ten minutes.

We got a new look at the top line, with Ryan Hartman out Dean Evason slotted Marco Rossi in with Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello. The rookie made the most of it early when Zuccarello corralled a loose puck and put it on Rossi’s tape in the slot where the young Austrian made no mistake. Before the goal had been announced, Matt Boldy made a nice pass off the boards to spring Sam Steel on a breakaway. Stalock was up for the challenge, but the rebound found Freddy Gaudreau all alone with an open cage. Gaudreau followed Rossi’s lead and slid it past Stalock to put the Wild up 2-0.

Aside from that minute of action, the first period was rather uneventful. A lot of feeling each other out. Make no mistake, the Wild dominated with an 11 shot lead. However, they failed to generate high quality chances outside of the two goals. Gustavsson was rather untested ony facing four shots.

If you had to miss the first ten minutes of the second period you’re in luck, because nothing happened. The Blackhawks outshot the Wild 3-1 in that span, ending with a Wild penalty that they killed stress free.

To end the lull, Jack Johnson let a rip from the point which went under Zuccarello and beat Gustavsson low pad to bring the game to 2-1. The goal was followed up with a skirmish between Brandon Duhaime and Riley Stillman, they were both given unsportmanlike conduct penalties to put the game at 4-on-4. Evason put Kaprizov and Zuccarello out for the 4-on-4, and as time expired Kirill put Zuccarello on a breakaway and he buried it increasing the Wild’s lead to 3-1. Rossi picked up a second assist for his second point of the night.

After surviving a power play at the end of the period on a Rossi infraction, the wild took the 3-1 into the dressing room. That being said, they came out a little flat allowing a great scoring chance a minute and a half into the 3rd, but Gustavsson came up with a huge save to bail them out. Even earning some praise from the Wild twitter guy.

Kaprizov was forced to take a hook on the play to prevent a goal which sent the Wild on the kill. Fortunately the Wild survived the kill and play resumed 5-on-5.

One guy looking to cement himself in the Wild lineup, Sam Steel, wanted to make the most of the second to last preseason game. at 13:34 in the third he made a nice tip on a shot/pass from Alex Goligoski. 4-1 Wild.

Halfway through the third already on the kill Matt Dumba, who looked marginal all night, took a bad roughing penalty to put the Hawks on a short 5-on-3. They got a few good chances, but Gustavsson stayed as strong as he has been all night.

The Wild successfully drained out the rest of the clock and took care of their Central Division Rivals 4-1. With one preseason game to go, it looks like the Wild are in pretty good shape to have yet another successful campaign.

Burning Answers

Will Rossi be able to win physically against larger NHL centers?

Rossi fit in with Kirill well. His play making ability added another aspect to the first line that Hartman doesn’t necessarily provide. Although he doesn’t score goals like Hartman, he was able to add another dimension to that line. That being said, I don’t think that line needs another playmaker and he likely will not stay there in the regular season. To his physicality, he fit right in and played solid defensively and was able to move the puck to his linemates to generate offense.

Which roster hopeful will come out looking the best?

Between Shaw, Fogarty, and Petan I would say Petan looked the best. He definitely skates the best of the three and seems to generate the most offense. I will say, however I could see Shaw’s tenacity being effective on the fourth line with Dewar and Duhaime. Fogarty was unnoticeable and took an unnecessary high stick. I would say it is between Petan and Shaw. It will be interesting to see what the Wild front office decides to do in the next week.

Does Kaprizov need a warm-up?

Honestly, he didn’t look great. Although he made a nice pass to Zuccarello that led to a goal, he was pretty quiet all night. He went for a few Kirillesque passes which led to turnovers, although they looked pretty. In his defense, he is Kirill Kaprizov coming off of a 108 point season he has nothing to prove. Adding to that, there’s no reason for him to push any harder than he wants to in a ‘blowout’ exhibition against a struggling Blackhawks lineup. Wild fans have nothing to worry about there.