When the puck drops tonight at 8 pm EST in Minnesota, it’ll mark Marc-Andre Fleury’s first start for the Minnesota Wild since he was acquired at the 2022 NHL trade deadline. This will also mark Fleury’s fourth team played for during his hall of fame career as he looks to put the ups and downs of his time in Chicago behind him and regain the Vezina winning form he possessed last season. The Wild are red hot coming into this matchup with the Columbus Blue Jackets as they currently have a four-game winning streak they are looking to stretch to five tonight. The Wild have been hitting on all cylinders with the resurgence of Cam Talbot between the pipes as he’s elevated his game since the acquisition of Fleury. Fleury looks to continue the trend of top-notch goaltending as of late as he brings his championship pedigree to Minnesota in hopes of propelling his new team to a Stanley Cup and winning his fourth Cup in his career, cementing his legacy as one of the best, if not the best goalie in NHL history.
Wild Look to Stay Hot and Win 5th Straight
Goaltending is not the only aspect that has been hot lately, as the Wild are averaging three goals scored a game during their four-game win streak thanks to Kirill Kaprizov, who has three goals in his last four games. Another highlight of the winning streak has been the play of newly acquired right-winger Nicolas Deslauriers who has instantly become a fan favorite thanks to his hard-nosed style of play. This style of play has resulted in a goal during his debut and dragging opposing team’s players around the ice like they are children as he cleared his crease after the whistle. Another name to keep an eye out for is Ryan Hartman as he continues his impressive breakout season that has seen the top-line center shatter his career highs as he now has 26 goals, 22 assists for 48 points on the season, and boasts a plus-minus of +26 on the season. Of those 26 goals, three have come during the winning streak as Hartman scored in three consecutive games, helping lead a potent Wild offense. Suppose the Wild can continue to maintain this offensive output into the postseason and continue to improve on defense and goaltending, creating a three-level monster that could propel this team to great heights. The Wild have shown the ability to play with the top teams as they look to establish themselves as legitimate contenders.
The Wild look to continue their winning ways tonight and extend their lead over St. Louis with 20 games remaining in the season and skate into the playoffs on a high note. This team is finding their stride and identity at the perfect moment in the season as they now have control of the second spot in the Central Division with 80 points on the season and have a game in hand on the St. Louis Blues, who sit in third place with 79 points. This is a must-watch game tonight, so tune into ESPN+ and witness one of the greatest goaltenders ever to lace up the skates make magic again in his debut at Xcel Energy Center.