The Minnesota Wild returned home from a four-game road trip and started this tilt with the Los Angeles Kings pretty slowly. It took just 1:33 seconds for Kings striker Rasmus Kupari to score a goal and put the Kings ahead 1-0. To add salt to the wound was also a shorthanded measure. A bad pass from Kevin Fiala at the blue line went straight to Trevor Moore, who threw it out front so that the back-checking defender Frederick Gaudreau could not reach it and Kupari could pick it up and he took advantage.
The Kings then took advantage of some weakness on the puck from Wild defender Alex Goligoski after some strong forechecks. Carl Grundstrom took the puck behind the net and brought it to the bottom of the faceoff circle. From there, he gave it back over the glove on Marc-Andre Fleury to give the Kings a 2-0 lead.
So, as if that wasn’t bad enough, Adrian Kempe blew a one-timer from the right point of Fleury on the powerplay. Anze Kopitar won the faceoff back to Sean Durzi, who moved it across the ice, and the Kings took a 3-0 lead on the five-hole shot.
But things changed as the first period progressed. It eventually 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 in the powerplay with his 42nd of the season. It all happened thanks to a rejection 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 binds Ryan Suter for assist streak record for defenders.
Jared Spurgeon has a career-high 7-game point and career-high 7-game assist streak. The Assist series ties Ryan Suters’ record for D
– Michael Russo (@RussoHockey)
Then, just 50 seconds later, in his return match, Matt Boldy scored a nice shot from the faceoff circle. Kevin Fiala won a match along the wall and moved it to Boldy, who absolutely unloaded on the puck and sent it past Kings goalkeeper Cal Petersen’s block. The first period ended with Wild conceding only one goal.
Second period started just as the first period ended: with Wild scoring a goal. It only took 1:39 for captain Spurgeon to make a sweet move in tight on Petersen after a good forecheck and pinch, bring it to his backhand and put that short side past Petersen’s block. Suddenly the match was a draw.
It took just over eight minutes for Wild to score their fourth missed goal, but it came off Mats Zuccarello’s stick just after the draw in the left faceoff circle. Ryan Hartman won the faceoff against Kopitar, Zuccarello chopped on it, and the puck subsequently knocked out of Kempe’s foot and went straight back to Zuccarello’s cane. From there, he fired it through Petersen to give Wild their first lead of the match at 4-3.
The Wild did not look back from there. Jordie Benn fired a puck from the point that was rejected in the high castle by Marcus Foligno. It was an incredible tip that brought Wild up by two goals and the second period ended with the score 5-3.
The sixth and final goal was scored by Nick Bjugstad, who was able to knock the puck in after it was shot from the post by defender Jacob Middleton. He has had a strong recent games, and two assists in tonight’s match, including the one at the Bjugstad goal, is the kind of reward he deserves for his game. The goal celebration was interrupted by Brandon Duhaime, who took on Brendan Lemieux in a match, but it did not matter in the end.
The Wild scared the fans after the first half of the first period, but luckily they cleaned up, Fleury made some excellent saves and they showed us what 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 heading into the off-season.
Will Kirill Kaprizov break the franchise goal record in a single season?
Unfortunately, the Russian superstar was unable to break the record. However, he managed to tie it. So he has only 11 games left to score one goal to break the record. I say he does!
Will the result at least be pleasant?
The result in the end was pleasant, but the way that Wild managed to get there, at least in the first half of the match, was not. There is nothing more exciting than having your favorite team come back after being down 3-0 early in the match. The problem is that the team must first go down 3-0. The Wild went down early, but they started playing their hockey brand as the game moved forward and it allowed them to come all the way back and score six unanswered goals. Let’s just say that the end of the game was more pleasant than the beginning or even the middle.