The Minnesota Wild put together a strong month of March to grab a hold of second in the Central Division and third in the Western Conference, as they went 10-4-2 (0.688 P%) in 16 games.
A historic nine-game homestand proved fruitful as the Wild managed to find their early-season Mojo and powered their way to a seven-game win streak that included three straight overtime wins. The streak ended last night with a loss against the Penguins in overtime.
They will look to start a new streak and get a better start in April after a less than stellar start to March when the Wild lost handily to the Flames in St. Paul. The Wild were a different team then, struggling to find their identity they had early on in the season.
After alternating Wins and Losses, the Nashville Predators ruined Mikko Koivu’s jersey retirement night as he became the first-ever Minnesota Wild to have his number sent to the rafters.
This apparently lit a fire under the team as they caught ablaze and went unbeaten in the next seven games.
An aggressive Trade Deadline by Wild general manager Bill Guerin helped keep the motivation high as the Wild acquired Marc-Andre Fleury from Chicago for a conditional second-round pick. Traded Nico Sturm to Colorado in exchange for Tyson Jost. Received Jacob Middleton in exchange for Kappo Kahkonen and a fifth-round pick, acquired Nic Deslauriers from Anaheim for a third-round pick, and finally sent Victor Rask to Seattle for future Considerations.
Fleury is 2-0 with his new team putting up an impressive 1.50 GAA and 0.948 SV% and simultaneously winning over the entire fanbase.
His arrival also pushed Cam Talbot to produce ‘first star of the week’ level goaltending. The new duo has the entire NHL on notice as Minnesota’s goaltending is no longer in question.
Nic Deslauriers immediately quieted any complaints about his acquisition as he scored a goal, followed it up with a world class celly, and proceeded to drag players out of the crease by their neck in just his first game in a Wild sweater. Deslauriers also had a heavy-weight tilt with former Wild, Nick Seeler of the Flyers, in Tuesday’s win.
Jacob Middleton slotted into the first defense pairing with Jared Spurgeon and has assumed a more physical presence with 11 hits and nine blocked shots in his five games with the team.
Some of the Wild’s big guns have also lit on fire this past month as Kirill Kaprizov led the NHL with 14 goals which also breaks the Minnesota Wild record for most goals in a calendar month. Kaprizov also put up six assists in a 20-point March that was good enough to tie Marian Gaborik for most points by a Wild player in a season.
Kevin Fiala has continued his strong play in the second half of the season. His sharp-angle snipe was one of the best of March. His goal capped off the month with six goals and 17 points in 16 games.
A number of other players up and down the lineup had strong March performances.
- Mats Zuccarello had 12 assists and Ryan Hartman had eight goals as they both fed into the top-line monster with a total of 14 points from each.
- Freddy Gaudreau was above 51% on the face-off dot and had ten points as a strong center on the second line.
- The GREEF line continued to shut down opponents best and combined to lay down 121 hits.
- The D-core was led by Captain Jared Spurgeon, who had ten points and was above 55% in Corsi For % and Goals For %.
Look for the Wild to go into the four-game road trip hungry to start another win streak. Their first game of the month is tomorrow April 2nd, in Carolina against the Hurricanes, who rank third in the NHL.