It was the day Minnesota Wild fans had been waiting for for two years now, the Winter Classic kicked off at Target Field a full year after it was initially planned to be played because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Fans and players not only had to battle potential COVID-19 issues but also battle through the coldest Winter Classic in history with a temperature at puck drop of -8.
It had been the first game for the Wild since December 20th due to postponed games due to the NHL’s COVID-19 Protocol. The Wild themselves found them selves with only one player being Jonas Brodin on protocol although there was a chance he could’ve played but was ultimately ruled out due to testing positive for the virus again which thrusted Calen Addison into only his 7th NHL game. On the injury front, the Wild were without two-way center Joel Eriksson-EK and Captain Jared Spurgeon.
The Blues had struck first in the game with a goal coming from David Perron however, everyone’s favorite Russian Kirill Kaprizov would score his 13th goal of the season and tie the game 25 seconds later on a shot that deflected off of a Blues defender and into the goal behind Jordan Binnington. It would be a memorable goal for Kaprizov to score on such a huge stage and a sell-out crowd at Target Field.
In the 2nd period, the Blues would take over thanks to the remarkable play of Blues forward Jordan Kyrou. Kyrou would ultimately pot in 2 goals and 2 assists in the middle frame. Rem Pitlick would go onto score on a strange bounce off of a Blues defender and off the back of Binnington’s head good enough for his 6th goal of the season.
In the 3rd period, Kaapo Kahkonen would lead the team out of the clubhouse. Michael Russo would later report that Cam Talbot had sustained a lower-body injury which is all we know as of now and it isn’t determined how much time if any will be missed by Talbot. The Wild came out refreshed in the 3rd, getting goals from good guy Ryan Hartman and Kevin Fiala but it ultimately wasn’t enough even with Dean Evason pulling Kahkonen to the bench with over 7 minutes left for an extra attacker.
Both teams braved the cold but made it an eventful New Years Day for fans in Minnesota, so cold in fact that Marcus Foligno had this to say about it “I was looking over my shoulder for a polar bear. That’s how cold it was out there.”
The Minnesota Wild will have a few days to shake this loss off of them as they are scheduled to play the Boston Bruins in Boston this coming Thursday, they would’ve been on Monday in Ottawa but that game was ultimately postponed.
* Stats/info found at NHL.com