Minnesota Wild’s Top Line Makes Franchise History

Last night’s game signaled another matchup against the St. Louis Blues and another loss for the Minnesota Wild as they fought a hard battle and climbed out of a deficit early on but couldn’t leave with a victory. While the Wild weren’t able to win, they got the next best thing as they picked up one point during the OT loss that now has them sitting in third in the Central, one point behind the Blues. They proved their resilience and showed their heart as they were able to mount a comeback as they entered the third period being down 4-1. After the end of regulation, they were tied at five apiece before losing 6-5 in overtime in a heart-crushing fashion. The good news for the Wild was the incredible play by their top line once again as they led the charge and made a comeback happen. The Combination of Kirill Kaprizov, Ryan Hartman, and Mats Zuccarello has dominated all season. Still, it was tonight where they shined as one of the three players factored in on three of the four goals needed to make a comeback even possible.

Kaprizov Continues Magical Season

Kaprizov has been a goal-scoring machine as he entered the game tonight with 42 goals, a career-high for the second-year player. Kirill’s 43rd goal set a new Wild record for most goals in a season, passing the 42 goals tallied by Marian Gaborik (2007-2008) and Eric Staal (2017-2018). In typical clutch fashion, Kaprizov scored the tying goal with 5:02 minutes left in the third period, marking a memorable moment for the franchise.

After the game, Kaprizov spoke to the media, “It feels good to get the 43rd goal,” said Kaprizov, who is also closing in 100 points after picking up his 50th assist earlier in the game to sit at 93 points. “But it really [stinks] to be able to come back all the way, push it to overtime and end up losing. Those are always the toughest games.”

Zuccarello Makes History With Helpers

Kaprizov wasn’t the only player making franchise history last night as Mats Zuccarello got in on the action. Zuccarello added two assists on the night, including his 52nd of the night on Kaprizov’s game-tying goal. Zuccarello had broken the Wild record for most assists in a season earlier in the night when he recorded his 51st, eclipsing Kaprizov and Pierre-Marc Bouchard (2007-2008), who held the record at 50. To make the record-breaking assist even more special, Zuccarello’s 500th career point made him the 62nd active NHL player to reach that mark since he entered the league in 2010.

Hartman Gets in on the Action

The record marks didn’t stop there, as this was the first time in Wild history that a pair of players has recorded 50 assists each. After Ryan Hartman scored his first of two goals on the night, crossing the 30-goal threshold, it marked the first time the Wild have had two 30-goal scorers since Staal and Jason Zucker accomplished the feat in 2017-2018.

For the Wild they hope to continue their special season as they take aim at the playoffs looking to make some noise. While the lack of success against St. Louis and Nashville this season has been concerning, if the Wild can avoid falling into holes early on across a seven-game series, they have a chance to make a legitimate run at the Stanley Cup. It will all come down to the goaltending of Cam Talbot and Marc-Andre Fleury as they look to put the team on their backs and display elite goaltending that everyone knows they are capable of.

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Kevin Santangelo

Co Host of Cue' the Duck Boats Podcast Writer for Inside the Rink

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