The Minnesota Wild’s first week of the season has concluded, so let’s look back on the week that was with news, notes, takeaways, and more!
The Wild opened their NHL season with a four game California trip, playing the Kings twice on their ice, then hoping on I-5 traveling south for 35 minutes to the Honda Center, as the Wild face of against the Ducks in Anaheim.
On opening night at the Staples Center, Wild fans eagerly await the Russian superstar Kirill Kaprizov’s NHL debut.
Wild fans have waited about 5 and a half years for our coveted top prospect Kirill Kaprizov to come to Minnesota. In that time, three Wild general mangers met with him to convince him to play here, but the wait was defentily worth it.
Kaprizov, or as Wild defender Matt Dumba likes to call him “Dolla Billa Kirilla” was the first Wild player in history to recored three points in his NHL debut.
Takeaways From The Kings’ Games
The Wild certenily had a little rust to kick off as they entered the 3rd period of game 1 trailing by a score of 3-1. Hopefully you didnt turn the tv off to get some sleep because the Wild rallied back to eventully win the game in a dramatic fashion.
We all sat wondering who would score the Wild’s first goal, would it be the rookie Kirill Kaprizov? The vetern Zach Parise? Or the hot hand, Kevin Fiala?
Well, Jonas Brodin and Victor Rask came ready to play as they scored the first two goals of the Wild’s shortend 56 game 2021 season.
Kaprizov caped off his historic NHL debut by eventully winning it in OT.
Wild Vs Kings Game 2
Pretty much the exact same result as game 1 the Wild were down 3-1 yet again entering the 3rd period. Last season the Wild were 2-20-1 when trailing entering the 3rd period. To open the season the Wild are now 2-0 when trailing in the 3rd period.
Just like Game 1 the Wild’s russian superstar is resonsible for another Wild OT winner as he sets up newly acquired Marcus Johansson for the one-timer.
A crazy turn of events happend within the last 30 seconds of the 3rd period. Its cliche I know, but hockey truely is a game of inches. Dean Evason had goaltender Cam Talbot on the bench for the extra attatcker as the Wild were trailing by a goal late in the 3rd, all of a sudden the puck lands on the stick of Kings’ defender Matt Roy, as he sends the puck 100 feet down the ice in attempt to seal the game with an empty net goal.
Off the post it goes, with 10 seconds to go Wild defender Ryan Suter starts a rush the other way and eventually throws the puck on net through loads of traffic and scores with 0.3 seconds left.
But the Wild werent done yet, with just under 15 seconds left in overtime Kaprizov continues his magic and sets up Johansson for the OT winner.
Takeaways From The Ducks’ Games
We need a number one center that’s it. Okay, okay, that’s not all of it, we will tell you how the games went. But we still do need a number one center.
The Wild played a very good game against the Ducks to open game one of two against them, but it was Ducks’ goaltender John Gibson who won the game for Anaheim.
Cam Talbot played arguably his best game of the season but the Wild’s offense couldn’t find the back of the net. Kevin Fiala continued to create high danger chances for his team but nobody could captilize.
Kaprizov was playing like he did in the first two games, quick moving and heads up hockey. Despite not recording a point like all Wild players, Kirill Kaprizov still looked sharp. The 23-year old winger created chances for his linemates but nothing to show for it.
The power play continued to get chances and looks but nothing to show for it as the finish game three of the season 0-16 with the man advantage.
Circling back to the number one center issue, we need one bad. This isnt a knock on Rask or Bonino, but they simply can’t keep up with speedy Kaprizov and Fiala. Rask seemed to struggled keeping up with the play and could been seen as the last forward in the offensive zone multiple times. Too many time we saw even Nico Sturm recorded a shift with Kaprizov.
Point is the Wild played a pretty good game with a few minor mistakes, like the Rask missed open net, and others and fall to John Gibson and the Ducks 1-0
Wild Vs Ducks Game 2
During the Wild’s off day GM Bill Guerin made a trade with Colorado’s Joe Sakic, swapping third-pairing defenders in Greg Pateryn for Ian Cole. A relityly minor trade for the Wild but Ian Cole had a very strong Wild debut playing with Carson Soucy.
In the middle of a pandemic and a shortended NHL season the Wild have a couple of crazy stats to been seen in the first 4 games of the season. The Wild’s 2019-2020 leading scorers Zach Parise and Kevin Fiala still havent recorded a point. Along with the Wild’s fourth line center/ healthy scratch Victor Rask has been given 4 games as the top line center.
The Wild opened game 4 up early taking control of the game with young goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen maning the crease for the white and green sweaters. But just like the Kings games, the Wild watched their two goal led vanish after a couple of quick 2nd period goals by the Ducks.
The reining AHL Goaltender of the Year, Kaapo Kahkonen had a shaky 2nd period, but followed it up with a strong 3rd period for the Wild earing him his first win of the season and extending his record to 4-1-1 with the Wild.
Coincidence or not, with Kaprizov extending a shift, there was briefly a newly formed line of Greenway-JEE-Kaprizov, which created a goal for JEE, put the Wild up 3-2, and eventually winning the game.
The Wild return home to play 6 home games against the Sharks and Kings which should be very winnible games, and then the Avs, which would be a challenge. We will check back with you at the end of week two.