Wild ride offensive onslaught to blowout win over rival Jets
Not only did they beat arguably their biggest rival, they got goals from a long list of players.
ST. PAUL -- Not long after trading for physical winger Ryan Reaves, Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin admitted that he’s also been looking to add some scoring to the lineup
It’s no secret that the Wild have struggled to score goals this season. They entered Wednesday’s game with a mere 2.67 goals per game, trailing only the Coyotes, Ducks, Flyers, and Blackhawks for the lowest average in the league.
Essentially, if an opposing team can stymie the top line, the Wild don’t have much of an answer beyond that. Still, when asked about the potential of making wholesale changes, Guerin made it clear that he’s not in a rush to make a deal, and added that he’d prefer for the Wild to figure it out on their own.
That’s exactly what the Wild started the process of doing in a 6-1 blowout win over the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday night at the Xcel Energy Center.
“We were snakebit there for a bit,” Matt Dumba said. “We worked through it and hopefully tonight was kind of that coming out party and guys can start finding the back of the net more often.”
Not only did they beat arguably their biggest rival, they got goals from a long list of players as Kirill Kaprizov snapped a lengthy goal drought, Marcus Foligno scored twice, and Matt Boldy, Mason Shaw, and Calen Addison added a goal apiece. Filip Gustavsson also painted a masterpiece in the crease with 28 saves.
“It was a good effort,” Foligno said. “Everyone was really into it. We shot a lot of pucks. We kept it simple. We went to the net. We just played our game.”
Though the offensive onslaught doesn’t necessarily mean everything is fixed — far from it — Guerin had to like the way the Wild responded to his challenge. Now it’s up to his players to continue that positive momentum.
“I think we’re getting more comfortable with the identity that we need to bring every night,” Dumba said. “The guys are working hard and it just seems like we have that jump and that little bit more energy than we did at the start.”
After a strong start to the first period, Shaw made it 1-0 in favor of the Wild with a shot that leaked past the goal line. Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck appeared to make the initial save on Shaw only to have the puck trickle past him.
That wasn’t the last time Hellebuyck allowed a wonky goal. A few minutes into the second period, Addison stretched the lead to 2-0, unleashing a shot that bounced off Hellebuyck’s shoulder before landing in the back of the net. Not long after that, Foligno made it 3-0.
In complete control, the Wild slowly started to sit back in their own zone, and Jets when winger Kyle Connor made them pay with a snipe to cut the deficit to 3-1. That was as close as the Jets got.
Any thoughts of a comeback ended when Kaprizov got the Wild back on track with a goal to make it 4-1. He hacked away at a puck in front and finally found the back of the net for his first goal in a couple of weeks.
Not to be outdone, Foligno scored again later in the frame, this time in incredible fashion. He pilfered a puck in front of Hellebuyck, ran a give-and-go- with Joel Eriksson Ek, and scored a highlight-reel goal to stretch the lead to 5-1. A few minutes later Boldy converted on the power play for good measure to finalize the score at 6-1.
“I think it was time for us to break through,” Boldy said. ” It’s obviously hard to score goals. We’ve got to do a better job. I think tonight’s a step in the right direction for sure.”
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