All the Minnesota Wild have been doing lately is winning games the hardest way possible. Three overtime wins after battling through the regulation hour, passing the lead back and forth to eventually earning two points after the extra frame. And luckily for them and our anxiety level, the 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers was probably the calmest victory we have seen this season.
All skaters just chipped in to get the goals and most of them were pretty too!
After some initial even play, the scoring opened with Matt Dumba creeping to the front of the net in a beautiful passing play from Frederick Gaudreau and Matt Boldy.
DUMBA! Boldy and Gaudreau combine with Matt to give the Wild a 1-0 lead. pic.twitter.com/ksvcEfWCbU— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) March 30, 2022
This is Dumba’s sixth goal of the season and after a lengthy streak of going pointless, Boldy is finally on the board as he earned his lone assist this game in the opening frame.
Minnesota wasn’t done just yet, as just minutes later, Kirill Kaprizov weaved his way through the Flyers penalty kill and just popped one over the shoulder of Martin Jones. It was just so damn smooth.
KIRILL WHAT. Kaprizov makes it look so easy as he nets one on the powerplay. 2-0 MIN. pic.twitter.com/6eAXdvVDuw— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) March 30, 2022
His 37th goal of the season was his lone point, so Kaprizov still remains one point behind Marian Gaborik’s single-season record of points as a Wild player, but there is still plenty of time for the Russian star to beat it by just scoring two more points.
The offense continued early in the second period, as Jordan Greenway kept his hot streak going as he finished this beautiful tic-tac-toe play to score his eighth of the season.
BIG F'N RIG. Jordan gets an easy tap-in off a Foligno rebound. 3-0 MIN. pic.twitter.com/j0S2J5Nbz8— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) March 30, 2022
Joel Eriksson Ek earned his second assist of the game, as the GREEF line were able to unite and get all the points on the goal they created.
Minnesota kept on piling on shot after shot, chance after chance; all through the second period until they broke through via an insane Kevin Fiala shot from a seemingly impossible angle.
KEVIN. FIALA. A SNIPE. 4-0 MIN. pic.twitter.com/bnFe8vrMpo— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) March 30, 2022
Fiala has tried these shots before; and Kaprizov scored a similar goal just a few games ago, but this just feels so damn powerful. He put his entire weight behind the shot as it ripped through the icy air and Jones did not even have a chance.
After these four goals, it just felt comfortable and calm. The Flyers added one goal — Morgan Frost potted one — but there was no panic and no real concern for what the end result would be. They just had to coast through the remaining 30 minutes and prepare for the Pittsburgh Penguins later this week.
It felt like they would be able to do that, but Marcus Foligno awkwardly collided with Owen Tippett and appeared to hurt his wrist.
Foligno heads down the tunnel after colliding with Tippett. possible wrist injury. pic.twitter.com/r8s4c7ZZvX— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) March 30, 2022
It’s no one’s fault, but Foligno showed real frustration as he went down the tunnel and there has been no available update as of yet. We shall see, but if this is a freak injury heading down into the most important part of the season to one of their most important players, that might hurt their chances at keeping that second spot in the Central.
Speaking of standings, with these two points, the Wild are five points ahead of the St. Louis Blues and are 11 points into a playoff spot with a 41-20-4 record. Pretty decent.
Next up, it’s the Penguins on Thursday as the Wild try to finish one of their best months strong.
How’s the goalie tandem holding up? (GOALIE CONTROVERSY IN THE STATE OF MINNESOTA!!!!! ~*~NOT CLICKBAIT~*~)
We’ll try to not be clickbait-y here, but Marc-Andre Fleury was just simply outstanding. Saving all the praise for this little section here, Fleury put in the work and was able to save 32 of the 33 shots he faced — earned an even-strength shutout if that’s a thing — and had some complete in-your-face stops as the Flyers were pressing hard down by multiple goals.
Marc-Andre Fleury with a wild pair of saves on JVR. pic.twitter.com/rzEOtPsHOl— Ryan Gilbert (@RGilbertSOP) March 30, 2022
This was just his second game behind these skaters, and he was able to steal a lot of the spotlight away from the goalscorers. Well worth whatever draft pick Minnesota ends up giving up.
So now we just have two good goaltenders — one that has a proven and lengthy record and the other that have been here before and is currently on top of the world and saving everything. Pretty chill.
How’s the Middleton-Spurgeon chemistry lookin’?
Aside from a couple rush chances from Jared Spurgeon and Jacob Middleton laying down the body, it was a fairly quiet game from the Wild’s newest top-four pairing. They held around 60 percent of the shot attempt share at 5-on-5 and about 76 percent of the expected goals share. Kind of what you expect from Spurgeon against a poor team like Philadelphia, as the Wild were just a very good team with them on the ice.
This sure seems like a pairing that will last for a while now.