Game Recap: Minnesota Wild vs. Florida Panthers | 01/19/2024

Credit: AP/Lynne Sladky

After a disappointing loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on the first game of their back-to-back road series, the Minnesota Wild pulled out a 6-4 win against the Florida Panthers. In a completely wacky game that seemed to have a little bit of everything, the Wild showed that they aren’t down and out yet.

Quick Recap

Final Score: 6-4 Wild

PIMS: 48 minutes combined

Shots on goal: 35-26 Panthers

Notable Moments: Special Teams Bonanza, Fights Galore, More Wild Injuries, Kaprizov Finds His Stride

Vibes Report: 9/10, More at the end

This game felt like an important test for the Wild. Coming in eight points out of playoff contention with trade rumors already floating around the team, the Wild showed that those first two periods of their game against the Lightning weren’t a fluke.

Sparks flew just 2:15 into the first period when Florida’s William Lockwood clipped Marc-Andre Fleury behind the net. Fleury was sent sprawling to the ice while Zach Bogosian instantly threw off his gloves to seek revenge. 

During the ensuing power play, Minnesota got on the board first with a goal from Kirill Kaprizov, his first since returning from injury. Brock Faber passed the puck down the blue line to Matt Boldy who instantly passed it along to Kaprizov, who was stationed in front of the net.

Four minutes later, Brandon Duhaime fought Lockwood to settle the score. Duhaime fights often and tends to either lose or tie, but this time, it was different. Duhaime sent Lockwood to the ice after a good half-dozen punches. Duhaime was sent to the box while Lockwood headed down the tunnel and didn’t return to the game.

The Wild managed to kill a 5 on 3 penalty. As soon as Marcus Foligno stepped out of the box, Jonah Gadjovich challenged him to a fight after Duhaime knocked Lockwood out of the game. Foligno answered the bell and then skated back to the box for another five minutes. At this point, the first period was only half over.

Faber took a penalty shortly after, but the Wild managed to kill the penalty while Faber, Foligno, and Duhaime all sat in the box. Minnesota got one more power play during the first period but they were unable to capitalize. The first period ended with Minnesota up 1-0.

The second period started off with a bang with Aaron Ekblad scoring for Florida only 30 seconds in to even the score 1-1.

Ryan Hartman managed to draw a penalty from goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who tripped Hartman as he hung around the blue paint. In the Minnesota power play that followed, Hartman scored to put the Wild up 2-1. This was, of course, followed by another scrum after Jake Middleton took down a Florida player along the boards

Hartman drew another penalty 7 minutes into the second period when he was high-sticked by Niko Mikkola. Faber ripped a shot from the blue line to bring the score to 3-1.

At this point, Florida was starting to get testy. That led them to commit another penalty. Eetu Luostarinen slashed Kaprizov and was sent to the box for two minutes. During their fifth power play, the Wild managed to score again when Zuccarello shot a rocket through traffic and right by Bobrovsky. 

At this point, Florida pulled Bobrovsky. Coincidentally, Fleury headed down the tunnel with an upper-body injury and was replaced by Filip Gustavsson. As the TV announcer joked, perhaps it was a show of solidarity.

Another fight erupted off of a faceoff as Ryan Lomberg challenged Duhaime to a fight. This led to matching unsportsmanlike conduct. Confusingly, there was also a two-minute minor called on the Wild for “coach or manager on the ice” which was never explained. Bally Sports had cut to an ill-timed interview with a Twins player who was watching the game and nobody ever showed how the Wild got the penalty, which was served by Zuccarello.

During the penalty kill, the Wild unfortunately took another penalty to briefly put them on a 5 on 3 situation. Bogosian was called for delay of game after putting the puck over the glass at the very end of the penalty kill, making for a four-minute penalty kill. The Wild managed to kill off the entire four minutes without the Panthers scoring.

The Panthers couldn’t let the Wild get too far ahead and Luostarinen scored an even-strength goal to put the Panthers within one. However, the Panthers took another penalty shortly after when Ekblad laid a heavy hit on Marcus Johansson that sent him sprawling to the ice after the hit was directly on his head. Johansson was helped down the tunnel. The second period ended with 4-2.

The Wild started the third period on the power play. Kaprizov capitalized on the man advantage and scored his second goal of the night. Once again, the Wild had a two-point advantage as the score was 5-2. 

Shortly into the third period, the Wild announced that both Fleury and Connor Dewar (who had been leveled with a heavy hit in the second period) were both injured and wouldn’t be returning to the game. Thankfully, Johansson was back.

Florida scored two more with only 17 seconds in between. First Anton Lundell and then Gustav Forsling scored to put the Panthers within one of the Wild at 5-4.

The Panthers started to really apply the pressure and the Wild were left to play several sustained shifts in the defensive zone. Florida then pulled their goalie with 2:15 left in the period, giving them the man advantage as they peppered the goal with shots. As the period drew to a close, the shots on goal were lopsided with the Panthers shooting 19 out of the last 22 shots.

With 11 seconds left in the game, Hartman tied a bow on the game for the Wild by sending the puck off of the boards and down the ice into the empty net. The final score was 6-4. 

Vibes Recap

This game may have actually been a 10/10 if there weren’t three injuries to deal with. After the injury-riddled season that the Wild have been enduring, every additional announcement puts a damper on the excitement.

But other than that, the vibes were immaculate. Multiple fights from the very beginning started a parade of penalties that lasted two whole periods. And while the Wild have struggled with special teams, something magical must’ve happened because they were 100% on the penalty kill and 83% on the power play.

Faber is such a fun player to watch. As a college hockey player, he never was a part of the power play. But somehow as a rookie, he’s taken over the top power-play unit, quarterbacking them to success during this game. He ended the game with three assists. 

Kaprizov is finally looking like himself again, putting two goals in the net. While he had been racking up points since coming back from injury, they had all been assists. Tonight, he looked like the Kaprizov everyone loves to watch.

For perhaps the first time in NHL history, both teams switched their goalies at the exact same time. Oddly enough, it was for different reasons. Bobrovsky had allowed in too many goals while Fleury couldn’t shake an injury he seems to have picked up when Lockwood clipped him behind the net at the beginning of the game. It was good to get Gustavsson back in the net, though. After letting in a few more goals, it seemed like he found his game again and looked more like the Gus Bus that fans know and love.

https://twitter.com/nhl/status/1748540105470390645?s=43&t=2G-IY9G5WJ5R3WPEd8WZOQ

Hartman also had a great game. Not only did he draw two penalties, he also scored two goals. For a player who is frequently called “dirty” by opposing teams, he played pretty cleanly tonight.

Overall, the Wild looked great for the majority of the game. The Panthers play a similar game, looking just as physical as the Wild.

For more Minnesota Wild news and vibes reports, listen to Her Wild Side Hockey Podcast. Updated multiple times weekly, it focuses more on vibes and less on stats.

There Is No NHL Offseason This Year Her Wild Side Hockey Podcast

In this episode, Mikki discusses the importance of women in hockey and different ways to talk about hockey. She also talks about the Stanley Cup finals and possible trades that the Minnesota Wild might make.Links:Her Wild Side Merch Shop!Ticketmaster Affiliate LinkSocial Media:TwitterInstagramFacebookFor more from us, visit Inside The RinkHow to support us and our sponsors:Columbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR   
  1. There Is No NHL Offseason This Year
  2. Hockey, Hockey, Everywhere! That's Why I've Been So Busy!
  3. It's The Playoffs, Baby!
  4. Hockey Culture is Disgusting and Needs to Change
  5. A Post-Mortem for the MN Wild Season

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