Five Things to Watch During the Wild vs. Maple Leafs Game

AP Photo/Matt Krohn

The Minnesota Wild won their season-opening game against the Florida Panthers on Thursday, but it seemed that Filip Gustavsson was really the one who stole the game for them. Coming into tonight’s game, the Toronto Maple Leafs also won their season-opening game against the Montreal Canadiens. What do the Wild need to do to pull off a win tonight?

Keep Riding the Gus Bus

Gustavsson proved in his first game of the season that last year was not a fluke. He stopped 41 out of 41 shots to earn the fourth shutout of his career. All of those shut-outs have been with the Wild, by the way. Gustavsson earned another start in net tonight, but he might have to face just as many shots. In their Wednesday game, the Maple Leafs put 42 shots on net. Can Gustavsson step up and block that many again? His style is pretty consistent, so he should put up a good wall again tonight. One other note is that while the defense seemed to be absent on Thursday, they still blocked 26 shots.

Will Rossi Get Another Chance?

After all of Marco Rossi’s struggles last season, he’s back this year and ready to show his growth. Not only is he staying strong on the puck and not afraid to battle along the boards with a bigger opponent, but he even scored his first goal. Unfortunately, it didn’t count because Marcus Foligno was offsides to start the play, which was pointed out by a Panthers challenge. But Rossi seems to have taken it in stride. What counts is that he has scored a goal, even if it didn’t make a tally on the scoreboard. Can he do that again in tonight’s game? Tallying another point would help boost his confidence even more.

Brock Faber vs. Matthew Knies

After the University of Minnesota Gopher hockey team lost the national championship last year, Brock Faber jumped right into the NHL with the Wild. Coincidentally, his teammate Matthew Knies did the same thing with the Maple Leafs. Tonight is the first night that the two former teammates will square off against each other. It’ll be fun to see how the two friends play against each other.

Who Will Score Tonight?

The goals from Thursday’s game against Florida came from Joel Eriksson Ek and Brock Faber. While Kirill Kaprizov and Matt Boldy both got an assist, neither of them put one in the net. While it’s good for the Wild to have some depth when it comes to scoring, it’ll be interesting to see if that was a one-off situation or if Kaprizov and Boldy can start a goal streak tonight. Again, it isn’t a big deal, just an interesting thing to watch for.

Johansson Isn’t Hurt, Yet

During the third period, Marcus Johansson went down in a heap on the boards. He drew an interference penalty but also earned a trip to the training room to assess a possible injury. Remembering back to his first injury-prone stint with the Wild, the writing seemed to be on the wall. After further examination on Friday, it was decided that Johansson was okay to play. While everyone can exhale now, hopefully, this isn’t a sign of things to come.

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