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  • Kaprizov went Freak Mode against Lightning


    We have now watched 186 games of Kirill Kaprizov playing in the NHL for the Minnesota Wild and it never gets old.

    With every skate stride, pass, shot, even just having the puck on his stick, Kaprizov is doing something that we have rarely seen from any player on this team. It was unbelievable at one point that the Wild would ever even have such a skilled player or even one competing for individual trophies almost every season, but he is here in the flesh and he continued to cause his typical mischief against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night.

    He finished the eventual 5-1 win over the Lightning with two goals, but that is not even the most impressive thing. I guess we should show you his non-empty net goal for just some context and to see the puck go into the back of the net in a blog where we praise a player.

    Okay, yeah, that was cool and all, but it was just a goal that you see hundreds of times throughout a season. Oh your team was on the power play and then someone in front of the net redirected the puck to score a goal? Seen it before!

    For Kaprizov, the game on Wednesday could have been so much more if the little rubber disc decided to move a couple inches to its right.

    You silly little freak, Kirill!

    Players have scored goals like this before, but most of the time it is within a pile of bodies with the goaltender distracted, and the scorer’s feet completely planted. Kaprizov is doing this essentially one-on-one with Lightning netminder Brian Elliott, and does some stickhandling before even attempting the between-the-legs shot. It is even more impressive that he starts this sequence square to the net, and then slyly swerves to the right to pull this off.

    I think I would have punched a hole in my couch cushion with excitement if this went into the back of the net.

    But that’s not all he did. Kaprizov decided to do more stuff with the puck completely behind his own body and completed an insane pass while under pressure.

    How does he do these things?! It is so magical what he can do with the puck and on the ice.

    Sure, Connor McDavid has speed and skill to whip by defenders, Auston Matthews has a shot that can be let go at any point of the game from anywhere on the ice, Nathan MacKinnon can stickhandle like a maniac — Kaprizov is different and I can’t explain it.

    The other stars around the league have video game-like control of the puck and their moves are the same moves you can do in a video game as well. They are known quantities and typical of a highly skilled player. With Kaprizov, he is doing things and making plays by pulling off sequences and looking like no other player in existence. Maybe this is what watching young Pavel Datsyuk was like, because he is blowing my mind.

    I don’t even know what to say at this point. He’s just going to keep doing this and he will be in Minnesota while he’s doing it. Crazy.

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