The Minnesota Wild returned home from a four-game road trip and started this tilt with the Los Angeles Kings off rather slow. It only took 1:33 seconds for Kings forward Rasmus Kupari to score a goal to put the Kings up 1-0. To add salt to the wound, it was a shorthanded goal too. A bad pass from Kevin Fiala at the blue line went directly to Trevor Moore, who threw it out in front so the backchecking defender, Frederick Gaudreau couldn’t reach it, and Kupari could pick it up, and he took advantage.
The Kings then took advantage of some weakness on the puck by Wild defenseman Alex Goligoski after some strong forechecking. Carl Grundstrom took the puck from behind the net and brought it to the bottom of the faceoff circle. From there, he backhanded it over the glove of Marc-Andre Fleury to give the Kings a 2-0 lead.
Then, as if that wasn’t bad enough, Adrian Kempe blasted a one-timer from the right point by Fleury on the power play. Anze Kopitar won the faceoff back to Sean Durzi, who moved it cross-ice and the Kings took a 3-0 lead on the shot that went five-hole.
However, things changed as the first period moved along. The Wild finally managed to put a couple of strong shifts together, and it resulted in a goal. Kirill Kaprizov tied the Wild goal record for a single season on the power play with his 42nd of the season. It all happened thanks to a bounce off of Olli Maata’s stick in front of the net. Kaprizov was looking for Joel Eriksson Ek, but instead, he got the goal. On this goal, Jared Spurgeon earned a career-high seven-game point and seven-game assist streak. Spurgeon ties Ryan Suter for the assist streak record for defensemen.
Jared Spurgeon has a career-high 7-game point and career-high 7-game assist streak. The assist streak ties Ryan Suter's record for D— Michael Russo (@RussoHockey) April 10, 2022
Then, only a mere 50 seconds later, Matt Boldy in his return game scored off a great shot from the faceoff circle. Kevin Fiala won a battle along the wall and moved it to Boldy, who absolutely unloaded on the puck and sent it passed the blocker of Kings goaltender Cal Petersen. The first period ended with the Wild down only a goal.
The second period started just as the first period ended: with the Wild scoring a goal. It only took 1:39 for the captain Spurgeon to make a sweet move in tight on Petersen after a good forecheck and pinch, bring it to his backhand, and put it short side passed Petersen’s blocker. Suddenly, the game was tied.
It took slightly over eight minutes for the Wild to score their fourth unanswered goal, but it came off the stick of Mats Zuccarello right off the draw in the left faceoff circle. Ryan Hartman won the faceoff against Kopitar, Zuccarello chopped at it, and the puck subsequently banked off of Kempe’s foot and went right back to Zuccarello’s stick. From there, he fired it through Petersen to give the Wild their first lead of the game at 4-3.
The Wild didn’t look back from there. Jordie Benn fired a puck from the point that was deflected in the high slot by Marcus Foligno. It was an incredible tip that put the Wild up two goals, and the second period ended with a score of 5-3.
The sixth and final goal was scored by Nick Bjugstad, who was able to tap the puck in after it was shot off the post by defenseman Jacob Middleton. He has had a strong last few games, and two assists in the game tonight including the one on the Bjugstad goal is the kind of reward he deserves for his play. The goal celebration was cut short by Brandon Duhaime taking on Brendan Lemieux in a fight, but it didn’t mean anything in the end.
The Wild gave the fans a scare after that first half of the first period, but luckily, they cleaned it up, Fleury made some excellent saves, and they showed us the kind of team they can be. Their no-quit attitude is exactly what makes the team special, and a team that should be considered a threat moving into the postseason.
Will Kirill Kaprizov break the franchise single-season goal record?
Unfortunately, the Russian superstar was unable to break the record. However, he did manage to tie it. So, he only has 11 games left to score one goal to break the record. I say he does it!
Will the result be at least comfortable?
The result at the end was comfortable, but the way that the Wild managed to get there, at least for the first half of the game, was not. There’s nothing more exhilarating than your favorite team coming back from being down 3-0 early in the game. The problem is the fact that the team has to go down 3-0 first. The Wild went down early, but they started to play their brand of hockey as the game moved forward, and that allowed them to come all the way back and score six unanswered goals. Let’s just say the end of the game was more comfortable than the beginning or even the middle.