Thanks to Kaprizov and Matt Boldy, the game was not a total failure, but when you let one of the NHL’s best (if not the best) team get some offensive juices flowing on the power play and have that translate to even-strength action, then you’re already playing from behind even if the game is scoreless.
Here’s how it happened, joy and all.
Almost immediately, the Hurricanes were pulling from their bag of tricks. For several years now they have been known as a team of quantity over quality when it comes to taking their scoring chances and they forced Marc-Andre Fleury to stretch and stride his way into making some massive saves.
Luckily, the 38-year-old netminder was able to match their tricks and pull off some of his own.
Unfortunately for all of us, the theme of the first period was the Wild taking loads of penalties; just so typical of them to want to overcome some barrier they put in front of themselves.
The Hurricanes had three power play opportunities in the first 20 minutes — thankfully they didn’t score on any of their five shots on goal — but they were all over the Wild and they carried that momentum into the regular 5-on-5 play as well. Carolina finished the period with nine high-danger attempts and registered 15 scoring chances. Comparatively, the Wild had just one high-danger attempt and four scoring chances; so it’s incredible that they were able to pull themselves together and keep the game goalless in 20 minutes.
In the second period, the Wild flirted with being the better team. They managed to keep chances fairly even through the first five minutes, peppering away at Frederik Andersen, and oddly enough, after being dominated in the first by the Hurricanes and the officials, the Wild ended up opening the scoring with a special goal.
KIRILL KAPRIZOV. 100 GOALS! pic.twitter.com/E2YfMjDlCt— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) January 20, 2023
On the power play, Kirill Kaprizov scored his 100th career goal, making this game one to remember no matter the end result. A milestone marker that placed him in the record books. Only Patrik Laine and the legendary Alex Ovechkin have been able to score 100 career goals in fewer games than Kaprizov and he’s not even far off. Kaprizov did it in 180 games, Laine in 179, and Ovechkin in just 167. It is still an insane feat but the god-like status Ovechkin has when it comes to scoring goals, and it took Kaprizov just 13 more games to hit the century mark.
Well, the stupid Hurricanes had to ruin our celebration and of course it was Brent Burns.
Ever since he was traded away from Minnesota, it feels like Burns has it out for the Wild every single time he faces his former team. From scoring that insane goal two years ago, to scoring the equalizer tonight — Burns hates us.
Through the remainder of the second period we experienced regression to the mean in just a handful of minutes. Carolina kept on piling the shots on for Fleury to try and save but it’s not like he’s going to steal multiple periods in a row, so some shots ended up going in. On their fourth power play of the game, the home team scored again.
Shortly after this goal, the Wild were able to get on their own man advantage. This would have been the perfect time to score the tying goal and give them a fighting chance to win the game in the third period, or even earn a point by extending this thing to overtime or a shootout.
But unfortunately Matt Boldy and Mats Zuccarello had some extra careless plays with the puck and the Wild’s opportunity was lost thanks to Teuvo Teravainen scoring a shorthanded goal to give the Canes a two-goal lead.
Somehow, Carolina committed to a 3-on-2 rush while shorthanded and Teuvo just launched the puck past Fleury. And honestly, Fleury should have got a piece of that shot but nobody’s perfect, especially after a tiring first 30 minutes of this game.
In the final couple minutes of the second period, the Wild were able to pull the quantity of shots in their advantage and finished the middle frame on a very high note to ultimately win the period at 5-on-5, but special teams ended up being the killer.
With the desperate hope that the Wild could end up performing one of their classic and traditional multi-goal comebacks, Jaden Chatfield makes the whole state of Minnesota frown at the same time. He scored through some traffic.
Dean Evason ended up challenging this goal for potential goaltender interference, but we all knew that it was a good goal. It was a desperate move to try and keep his team in the game, but instead, the Wild went on another penalty kill. Five times in just over 40 minutes! Wild.
Of course, that simple fact killed the Wild again because they took another damn penalty and Martin Necas made the team pay on it. It was 5-1 for the Hurricanes with 14:33 left and we just wanted to get on with our night.
Less than two minutes after Necas really put this game out of reach, Matt Boldy scores his 13th goal of the season just to tease us at a comeback and make the score line look not absolutely terrible.
Matt Boldy!!!!!!! it is (only) 5-2 CAR. pic.twitter.com/1CY6pcIJTM— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) January 20, 2023
The door to a win was still ajar for the Wild, all they needed was a miraculous comeback. We have seen these three-goal performances before, so we knew it was possible but it was always going to take something special.
Carolina unfortunately opened up that opportunity even further when Andrei Svechnikov checked Brandon Duhaime from behind on a very dirty looking hit.
Svechnikov hits Duhaime from behind. terrible. pic.twitter.com/GTk6IpAbr8— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) January 20, 2023
Svechnikov was given a major penalty and a game misconduct, handing the Wild a five-minute power play with just over eight minutes remaining in the game. This was the chance to give it to the home team.
After Andersen stood on his head, Ryan Hartman was denied several times during the five minutes, and Evason even pulling Fleury off for a little bit to make it 6-on-4, the penalty expired with a whimper. The hope was drained out of the team and the final minutes of the game just washed away like they were nothing.
In the end, it was a game started terribly with letting the opponent get on the power play so damn much, and it ended after the Hurricanes got warm and fired away their goals in just a short amount of time. Minnesota showed up eventually and got some offense in thanks to the late-game man advantages, but it was just too late and the game was already decided.
Next, the Wild hope to prey on the struggling Florida Panthers on Saturday and get some rhythm back in their games.