The Minnesota Wild headed into this game against the Calgary Flames sans their captain, their alternate captain/resident hype man, and without Kirill Kaprizov’s right hand man in Jared Spurgeon, Matt Dumba, and Mats Zuccarello with the tall order of winning against a team they haven’t had consistent luck against. The Wild were hoping to gain another point to take them to a home ice advantage during their upcoming Playoff series against the St Louis Blues.
The Wild headed out of the gate strong with a 5-1 shot advantage — Jacob Markstrom with some absolute steals including a standout one against Ryan Hartman — however, they couldn’t manage to stay out of the box. Jordie Benn got a call for hooking, and Minnesota went on the PK. Their special teams have struggled this season and have seemed particularly porous over the last several games. Luckily, the boys had a rare night of really good penalty killing.
Minnesota kept the shot-advantage through the entirety of the first but didn’t produce a goal: 10-6 shots, with zero points on the board.
When they came back from the second, it didn’t take long for “Johnny Hockey” Gaudreau to get the first point of the game.
Then Tyson Jost drew a penalty, and our resident Gaudreau, Freddy, gave the puck to Brodin who closed the goal-deficit during the PP with a sick one-timer. I love when Brodin succeeds!!!!
BRODIN TIES IT ON THE POWERPLAY! 1-1 pic.twitter.com/DVhn4rV3Uk— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) April 29, 2022
After tying the score 1-1 and an excellent showing on the power play, Minnesota had to kill another penalty. Brodin continued his really excellent period and gave Johnny Hockey absolutely no room during the kill.
They killed it but a minute later had to kill it once again, this time with Hartman in the box.
Great kill. Eriksson Ek, Brodin and Kulikov were out there for more than 2 minutes— Michael Russo (@RussoHockey) April 29, 2022
The boys got into it a time or two during the breaks with referee, Kelly Sutherland. I am not a “blame the refs” gal, but there were a few moments in this game that seemed emblematic of a season where folks have expressed their frustration with missed calls. (I want to point out too, that good refereeing is as important or more important for player safety as it is just for deciding the outcome of the game.) Mostly, it’s just pretty weird!
1-1 after 2— Michael Russo (@RussoHockey) April 29, 2022
Flames outshot the Wild 12-4 that period.
I have great respect for Kelly Sutherland, but not getting what's up with him tonight. Just ignoring penalties, that screaming left and right at any Wild player who says anything to him after
It’s 1-1 after the second.
They came back for the third with 1:51 of another Flames power play to kill and, by gum, they killed another one!!! Minnesota was 4 for 4 on killed penalties at this point in the game — a rarity again.
What if the referees decided that since Minnesota couldn't do practices, they'd help them practice the penalty kill tonight? SMH, booing the refs when they're doing the Wild a favor.— Tony of the USS 10KRinks.com (@OhHiTony) April 29, 2022
Talbot had to be so so solid throughout the second and into the third, the shot attempts were fully flipped from Minnesota’s strong first: 25-15 Flames with the advantage.
Finally with a little under 10 minutes left, the Wild started to put some pressure on the Flames again. Matt Boldy forced a turnover and our Gaudreau intercepted the puck and scored shortside.
THE BETTER GAUDREAU. Freddy intercepts the puck in the zone, and snaps it home. 2-1 MIN. pic.twitter.com/oSR9It2kaM— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) April 29, 2022
Calgary then tied it with a goal from Lindholm with 2:56 left, say what you will, that Flames top-line is dangerous.
Wild gained a point and headed to over-time.
During the extra period, Rasmus Andersson closed his hand around the puck and the Wild got an overtime power play. Our stars gained their first points of the game during the power-play as Fiala gets the puck to Kirill Kaprizov who scored the game winner.
KIRILLLLLL!!!!!!!! WILD WIN 3-2 IN OT. pic.twitter.com/MJZOsfBnYH— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) April 29, 2022
The game ended at 3-2, and it was a pretty massive couple of points for the Wild. They need to gain at least one point against the Avalanche on Friday, or – and I’ll need to rinse my mouth with mouthwash after this – we’ll need to be Vegas Golden Knights fans and root for Vegas to win against the Blues.
Special teams looked better tonight than maybe they have all season, with an excellent penalty kill and power play goals 2-for-2 on just two shots. Exactly what you want to be seeing before ending your season with Colorado, and heading into the ‘yoffs.
Does Kirill Kaprizov continue to extend the franchise records?
BOY DOES HE!!! Near the end of the third, it was looking like neither Kaprizov nor our other gamebreaker, Kevin Fiala were going to extend any sort of points records or streaks tonight, however Fiala assisted on Kaprizov’s game winning goal. Kaprizov is up to 45 goals, and 105 points and Fiala, 84 points. Really special to watch these two play.
Can the GREEF line shut down one of the most offensively potent lines in the NHL?
Well, actually, the Wild weren’t at their strongest 5-on-5 tonight. Lindholm’s goal came while our GREEF line was on the ice. Keeping them to only two goals was largely the work of Cam Talbot. Talbot had an excellent game and has not had a regulation loss since March 1, I think it’s unlikely he doesn’t play game one, as much as it’s hard to believe you get a goaltender like Marc-Andre Fleury and don’t make your starter.