Wild’s quick scores set up dominant 7-3 win over Ducks

In this file photo, head coach Dean Evason of the Minnesota Wild watches from the bench during the third period of the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on November 10, 2021, in Glendale, Arizona. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images/TNS)
Testing Article Top Adspace

Sarah McLellan Star Tribune (TNS)

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Kirill Kaprizov wasn’t the only one to leverage a lull in the schedule to his advantage.

The entire Wild lineup emerged rejuvenated from a five-day break.

In its first game in nearly a week, the team routed the Ducks, 7-3, on Friday in front of 18,300 at Xcel Energy Center to seal its third straight win.


Mats Zuccarello scored twice and set up another, Kaprizov assisted on two goals and Matt Boldy picked up his first career multipoint game.

Overall, six Wild players scored and 10 earned at least a point.

At the other end, Kaapo Kahkonen made 39 stops in his third consecutive start in place of injured No.1 Cam Talbot and improved to 7-1-1 over his last 10 games.

Anthony Stolarz had 23 saves for Anaheim before getting pulled after giving up three goals in 1 minute, 35 seconds early in the third period, including two in just four seconds. Lukas Dostal had 12 stops in relief.

Those back-to-back tallies, from Boldy and Zuccarello, were just one second shy of tying the Wild record for fastest two goals in team history.

A parade of goals is also how the Wild started the evening.

Just 7:25 into the first period, Boldy passed off to Kevin Fiala, who deked before sending the puck by Stolarz for his fourth goal during a season-high five-game point streak. Fiala needs just one more goal to become the fourth Swiss-born player in NHL history to reach 100 for his career.

The assist was the first for Boldy, who was skating in his third career game.

Then, only 1:27 later, the Wild’s top line took over.

Kaprizov flung a puck through traffic that Zuccarello directed to Ryan Hartman, who battled the puck into the net for his team-leading 16th goal. Hartman is just three goals shy of tying his career high set with Chicago in 2016-17 when he scored 19 as a rookie.

Max Comtois’ shot off the rush at 11:39 ate into the Ducks’ deficit, but the Wild exited the first with a well-deserved two-goal lead after another smooth sequence from Kaprizov and Zuccarello.

With his back to the action, Kaprizov slid a pass to Zuccarello for a one-timer in the left faceoff circle at 14:59.

This was Kaprizov’s third multi-point effort in his last four games and 11th this season; only eight players have more in the NHL.

Hurt Jan. 6 in Boston after he was boarded by the Bruins’ Trent Frederic, Kaprizov sat out last Saturday vs. Washington with an upper-body injury and then used a layoff in the Wild’s schedule to heal up.

Kaprizov, who was named to the NHL All-Star Game for the first time in his career on Thursday, has racked up a whopping 10 points in the last five games he’s played.

As for Zuccarello, he extended his season-long point streak to five games.

After a goalless second, the Wild offense reignited in the third.

Boldy’s throw at the net deflected in off Anaheim defenseman Cam Fowler 30 seconds into the period. Frederick Gaudreau reached a career high in assists (nine) and points (11) on the play.

The Wild actually lost the ensuing faceoff, but Zuccarello pounced on the puck and hurled it by Stolarz from 42 feet away just four seconds after Boldy’s goal.

Only 1:31 later, Victor Rask’s one-timer chased Stolarz from the game.

Anaheim answered back with a pair of goals, from Derek Grant (4:39) and Trevor Zegras (6:06), but the Wild had the final finish: a rising shot from Matt Dumba with 8:13 to go. Hartman’s assist was his second point of the game.

None of these goals came on the power play, as the Wild didn’t receive a single opportunity the entire night. The Ducks went 0 for 1.

©2022 StarTribune. Visit at startribune.com.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.