March 23, 2023

The Minnesota Wild started out their past week of hockey with a win but ended it with back-to-back losses. They faced the Tampa Bay Lightning at home, Buffalo Sabres on the road, and the St. Louis Blues back at home. They went through a lot of adversity this past week between illnesses and injuries but they pushed through the best they could.

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Despite going 1-2 in the past three games, the Wild had some players step up big, while some barely stepped up at all. Their main scorers were back near the top of the scoresheet with a new name at the very top, but the bottom held a different name and a new problem.

Wild’s Addison Leads Way

The Wild’s scoring was led for the second week in a row by a defenseman but instead of Jared Spurgeon, this time it was Calen Addison. He recorded a goal plus four assists for five points, with three of those points coming against the Lightning and the other two against the Sabres. He currently has 21 points in 31 games and is the Wild’s top point-producing defenseman, two points ahead of Spurgeon.

Calen Addison Minnesota Wild
Calen Addison, Minnesota Wild (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Next on the list was Kirill Kaprizov who didn’t have as many points as expected but still scored three goals. Two of those goals came against the Lightning and one came against the Sabres while he was held pointless for the second time in a week by the Blues. Joel Eriksson Ek and Ryan Hartman also recorded three points, Eriksson Ek had two goals and an assist while Hartman had a goal and two assists.

The final player to make this list was Brandon Duhaime, while he didn’t make the top five in scoring he did make an impression. After missing 18 games with an injury, he returned on Jan. 7 against the Sabres and scored the Wild’s first goal of the game to tie things up at one. That goal was his only point in the past two games but he played strongly for someone returning from a long-term injury. Hopefully, he can keep it up and tally points more often in the future.

Wild’s Shaw Struggles

After having a great start to his professional career, Mason Shaw has found himself in penalty trouble over the last couple of weeks and this week was no different. In their final game before the holiday break, he was handed a misconduct for kneeing and was later suspended for two games. He appeared to be on the right track with zero penalty minutes in the first two games of this week but then he hit a rough spot in their final game.

Mason Shaw Iowa Wild
Mason Shaw, former Iowa Wild, current Minnesota Wild (Jenae Anderson / The Hockey Writers)

Shaw was following through on dumping the puck in when he hit a Blues player in the face with his stick and drew blood. He had to sit for four minutes and that’s when the Blues scored their first goal of the game and put the Wild on their heels. That was just the start of their problems, as their penalties got the best of them, but so did their power play.

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The Wild’s power play found minimal success in their first two games of the week but the final game was when things came to a halt. They had three chances and couldn’t score on any because they waited too long to take a shot. They passed and passed and passed but wouldn’t take a shot until everyone on the opposing team was lined up to block it.

The Wild did figure it out in the third period with their final two power plays of the game, but it was too little too late. They have to start shooting immediately and consistently if they want to have success on the power play.

Wild’s Week Ahead

The Wild will play another three games this upcoming week with the first two being on the road in New York against the Rangers and Islanders with their final game back home against the Arizona Coyotes. Their defense will have to be at the top of their game to put a stop to Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, Mathew Barzal, Brock Nelson, Clayton Keller, and Shayne Gostisbehere.

The Wild’s defense will be busy stopping those scorers while their offense tries to get past Rangers goaltenders Igor Shesterkin or Jaroslav Halak, Islanders goaltenders Ilya Sorokin or Semyon Varlamov, and finally Coyotes goaltenders Karel Vejmelka or Connor Ingram. If they want to win against these teams they’ll have to get their power play in order as well as stay out of the penalty box.

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