Central Division, Kirill Kaprizov, Minnesota Wild

Wild Special Teams Spoil Kaprizov’s Record Breaking Night

The Minnesota Wild’s winning streak was ended by the Calgary Flames in a 5-3 loss after the Wild came out hot, scoring two goals within the first three minutes of the game. The Flames dominated the second period to get out in front and refused to surrender the lead as they scored just 12 seconds after Jon Merril got his first goal of the season to tie the game in the third period. They then continued the punishment and scored an empty-net goal to extend the lead beyond the Wild’s reach.

Related: Wild’s Spurgeon Highlights Week, Gaudreau Struggles Continue

On the positive side of things the Wild’s closest competition in the Central Division, the Colorado Avalanche, have amassed a ludicrous amount of injuries, to the point the lineup no longer looks like an NHL lineup. They were recently shut out by the Boston Bruins, dropping their third in a row and maintaining the Wild’s spot at third in the division.

Kaprizov’s Dominant Play Breaks More Records

Just when you thought Kirill Kaprizov couldn’t be any more amazing, he breaks more records, and this time it’s an NHL record. With the redirection of a Matt Dumba slapshot, Kaprizov’s goal came just a minute and a half into the first period and extended his goal streak to seven games and his point streak to 13 games. He is now the sole leader of the longest point, goal, and assist streaks in Wild history, making him the only player in NHL history to hold all three records for a single franchise.

Kirill Kaprizov Minnesota Wild
Kirill Kaprizov, Minnesota Wild (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Even though he is only in his third season in the NHL, Kaprizov has rapidly become one of the most electric players in the league. He became the first Wild player to break the 100-point mark in a single season with a 108-point performance in 2021-22 (47 goals and 61 assists), and he is somehow on pace to not only do it again but shatter the 50-goal mark while he is at it. His impact on the entire Wild franchise continues to rise to new heights with every game that he plays.

Special Teams Shift Momentum Away from Wild

The Wild collected all of the momentum just two and a half minutes into the game with two quick goals from Kaprizov and Mason Shaw, followed by a series of strong five-on-five shifts forcing the Flames back on their heels. A continuous march of Wild players to the penalty box allowed the Flames to regain that momentum and eventually score a trio of goals in the second period to put them into the lead. This is nothing new for the Wild as they headed into the game tied for the second-most penalty minutes in the NHL this season with 317.


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On the opposite side of the ice, the Wild had four powerplays that amounted to very few chances and no goals, as their third opportunity was cut short by yet another penalty. Even though they have had fairly consistent results with the man advantage this season, their inability to get set up against the Flames served only as another source of frustration. If the Wild plan on making a deep run into the playoffs they will have to address the number of chances they give their opponents to get back into the game.

Road Trip Continues with Back-to-Back

The Wild, now 1-1 on their four-game road trip, will try and get another two points against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday, Dec. 9, just over one week since they beat them in St. Paul. A quick turnaround has them heading west to face the Vancouver Canucks the next night (Dec.10). While they have beaten both teams in their initial meetings this season, there are no guarantees in the NHL, especially when the next opponent’s roster contains the generational duo of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

Powerplay and penalty kill statistics collected from ESPN.com.

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