Wild hit road for first time in weeks, face Stars
The Minnesota Wild play their first road game in almost three weeks when they face the Central Division-leading Dallas Stars on Sunday afternoon.
The Wild, who last played on the road on Nov. 15 when they lost at Nashville 2-1, went 5-2 during a seven-game homestand that wrapped up with a 5-4 shootout victory over Anaheim on Saturday afternoon.
Minnesota trailed 3-2 after two periods against the Ducks and 4-3 midway through the third period after a Troy Terry power-play goal. But the Wild tied it on a Kirill Kaprizov goal with 2:35 remaining and Kaprizov and Matt Boldy both scored in the shootout to snatch two points in dramatic fashion.
“It was a big third period for us there,” defenseman Jared Spurgeon said. “Weren’t too happy with the first two. Pretty sloppy on our part. Just to get it to overtime (and) tie it up, and then obviously winning the shootout, is huge for us.”
Especially with a challenging four-game road trip to Dallas, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver on deck.
“We’re going to take two points for sure,” Minnesota coach Dean Evason said. “Two periods we were not very good and they were very good. They went to the net. They played hard. … In the third period we realized that maybe we should play the right way and we were able to come back, and we were very fortunate the game was not out of hand by the time we got to the third period.”
Evason said the Wild can’t afford a similar slow start on Sunday.
“(Dallas) is playing extremely well, and we will not be in the hockey game after two periods, or one period, if we play like we did here (Saturday),” Evason said.
The Stars will be well rested. Dallas has been off since blanking Anaheim 5-0 on Thursday.
Jason Robertson, who finished second to Kaprizov in the 2021 Calder Trophy race, had a hat trick in the win over the Ducks to extend his NHL career-high point streak to 17 games. Robertson leads the league with 22 goals, including 20 to go along with 12 assists during the 17-game streak.
“I’m just getting in position to shoot the puck,” said Robertson, who is three games shy of the Stars/Minnesota North Stars point streak record held by Brian Bellows (1985-86). “Just got to get it past the first guy and get it on net.”
Dallas coach Peter DeBoer has loved what he’s been seeing from Robertson.
“It’s unbelievable,” DeBoer said. “He’s making it look easy, and it’s one of the hardest things there is to do, to score in this league at this level.
“He’s a goal a night for us in a league that is a 3-2 league most nights. An invaluable part of what we’re doing.”
Kaprizov brings an 11-game point streak into the contest, one off the Wild record mark of 12 set by Mikael Granlund (2016-17) and tied last season by Kevin Fiala. He has scored seven goals to go with 11 assists during that span.
“I’m surprised every time, but I’m not surprised anymore, you know what I mean?” Minnesota forward Jordan Greenway said of Kaprizov’s late-goal heroics that forced overtime on Saturday. “He finds a way.”
–Field Level Media