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  • Recap: Kaprizov leads Wild to 4-3 win over Coyotes


    The Minnesota Wild deserved this one. After some strong performances against tough competition earlier in the week, the Wild managed to win their third game in their last four after a 4-3 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday afternoon.

    Through the majority of the game, the Wild were in control and had a three-goal lead, but a late-game slip and allowing two quick goals in the final minutes made us sweat a little more than we should have. Thanks to Kirill Kaprizov scoring a goal and three points, Joel Eriksson Ek earning two assists, and Sam Steel and Matt Boldy scoring timely goals, the Wild deserved the win and had the firepower to put the visiting Coyotes away.

    In between the pipes, Marc-Andre Fleury had a below-average game, allowing three goals on the 23 shots he faced, but as you’ll see, there was a whole lot of open space and clear-cut scoring chances handed to the Coyotes that made his end-game stat line look a little worse than it should.

    The Wild started out this game the way we expected them to. With the Coyotes losing six of their last seven games and the Wild being able to get more confident with how they are playing, the home lads got the first shot on goal in the game and never looked back, controlling the entirety of the first 20 minutes.

    Eight minutes into the game, Kaprizov managed to break through the scoreless stalemate after a solid amount of pressure and after he was allowed to go right in front of goaltender Connor Ingram with no trouble.

    A nice set-up pass from Joel Eriksson Ek and the typical Minnesota in-tight finish that we have grown accustomed to from players like Marcus Foligno and Ryan Hartman. Scoring the opening goal meant that Kaprizov’s point streak was stretched to nine games.

    The Wild did manage to get a fruitless power play opportunity, but nevertheless kept their foot on the gas for the entire first period and finished with 23(!) shot attempts compared to the Coyotes’ eight. And they weren’t empty calorie attempts either, with the Wild being given the high-danger area of Arizona’s zone.

    At the start of the second period, the dramatics began. Just a couple minutes into the middle frame, Coyotes forward Liam O’Brien appeared to come off the bench after the whistle, and approach Marcus Foligno for a fight. Nothing too weird about it and they drop the gloves.

    Well, after the normal bout, Foligno started to flip his lid. Yelling at just about any official that was within earshot. He (and the Wild bench) was complaining that O’Brien came off the bench and that should warrant an extra unsportsmanlike penalty and a powerplay chance for Minnesota.

    Well, unfortunately it went the other way for the Wild and because of this outburst, Foligno was handed the initial five for fighting, two for roughing, two for unsportsmanlike, and a game misconduct. He did not return until 17:21 was left in the entire game.

    The Wild had to deal with a four-minute penalty kill, but thank goodness, that was cut short after a Coyotes player took an additional penalty and we were treated to some 4-on-4 action. With that extra space, the Wild were able to have an incredible sequence after the faceoff which led to doubling the home team’s lead.

    Beautiful. Gorgeous. Just so fluid and always active with the puck; moving around available for a pass or to take a shot, never really putting their heads down. It was just a perfect play and display of what the Wild could look offensively if given just a little bit more room. And an added bonus was youngster Sam Steel getting the goal.

    After the second Wild goal, they seemed to sit back a little bit and let Arizona get its fair share of scoring chances in the second period. The scale was tilted through the middle of the 60 minutes and on the one chance where the Wild’s defense gave a Coyote loads of space, they got on the board.

    That’s a whole lot of ice perfectly in the middle of the zone. Not the best display of some shutdown defense, but at least it didn’t kill all momentum for Minnesota heading into the second intermission.

    Just 36 seconds into the third period, captain Jared Spurgeon unleashed a rocket from the point to push the Wild further ahead and silence the visitors.

    On Spurgeon’s second goal of the season, Eriksson Ek earned another point, and his partner Jake Middleton got his fourth assist of the season.

    But that wasn’t enough for the Wild’s offense. They wanted more. They looked hungrier for more.

    After Connor Dewar and Mason Shaw worked their magic with a powerful shift that ended with drawing a penalty, the Wild made the Coyotes pay on the following man advantage.

    Calen Addison deserves the secondary assist on this and more. The rookie blueliner draws in two penalty killers to the boards, manages to sneak the puck to Kaprizov — knowing exactly where the winger would be — and with that extra space created, Kirill wires a perfect pass to Boldy.

    With a 4-1 lead, we thought that it would just be some easy-cruising hockey for the rest of the game. Why change and make it an interesting finish? Just let the game play out and we can all spend our Sunday nights preparing for the week.

    Well, the Wild and Coyotes collectively decided to add some intrigue to this matinee.

    With under four minutes left in the game, Lawson Crouse scored the second Arizona goal of the game and gave at least some respect to the score line. Until J.J. Moser scored with an empty net and made us clench some parts of our bodies.

    Yeah, that’s not the best feeling when for the majority of the game you thought it would be an easy two points. But thank goodness it did not lead to a frustrating overtime period where the visitors could snatch those points with little effort — the Wild held on for the 4-3 win and is 3-2-0 on their significant homestand against some tough competition (and the Coyotes).

    Next up, the Edmonton Oilers come to town on Thursday for what should be a strong test defensively for our Wild.

    Burning Questions

    Can the Wild score four or more goals?

    Yes! The Wild offense had their way with the Coyotes and were able to pick off the dead body of whatever the visiting penalty kill was trying to do. It wasn’t just four blah goals either, there were some beautiful sequences of offense in there and the stars came to play.

    Will the special teams streak continue?

    Wouldn’t you know, it did! The Wild scored one goal on the power play and allowed zero on the two chances the Coyotes had on their man advantage. The dual threat on the special teams keeps on rolling.

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