Minnesota forward Kirill Kaprizov had two goals in a 5-1 over Tampa Bay on Wednesday at the Xcel Energy Center. But it was his near-goal in the second period that earned the biggest buzz of the night.
The winger’s between-the-legs attempt from the front of the net beat Lightning goalie Brian Elliott but caught the post in the upper left corner and stayed out.
No goal but another highlight for one of the league’s top playmakers.
Saturday’s opponent, the Buffalo Sabres, have one as well.
Tage Thompson entered Friday second in the league with 30 goals, just one behind Edmonton’s Connor McDavid and eight more than Kaprizov. Thompson season has included a five-goal performance against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Dec. 7 and a hat trick against the Washington Capitals this past Tuesday, including the game-winner in overtime.
He is part of a Sabres squad which leads the NHL in scoring, with a 3.94 goals per game average. The Wild are ranked 16th in the league (3.19 ).
Kaprizov and Thompson, a pair of 25-year-olds, were both named to the All-Star Game for the Central and Atlantic Division rosters, respectively, and the two scoring sensations make for a fun watch on Saturday.
Kaprizov, who enters the weekend with 47 points, is an All-Star for the second straight season, and is the Wild’s fifth player to be selected for the game in multiple years in team history. Kaprizov has recorded 206 points (96-110=206) in 173 career games with Minnesota.
The matchup at the KeyBank Center is the first of back-to-back games over the weekend for the Wild. Minnesota hosts St. Louis on Sunday night.
The Wild has an 11-5-4 mark in the last 20 games against the Sabres and is 10-3-1 overall in Buffalo. Minnesota had a loss and a tie in two games against Buffalo last year.
Minnesota sits in third place in the Centrall Division and enters having won four of their past five road games, the last being a 5-2 win over St. Louis on New Year’s Eve.