Minnesota Wild’s Rookie Exceptional Performance

Will Schiffler, Contributor

The Minnesota Wild called up Matt Boldy to their roster on January 6, 2022, to make his National Hockey League debut. Boldy has been playing at an exceptional level since his first game but on February 14, 2022, Boldy had a night that he will never forget. The Wild played Monday night in St. Paul against the Detroit Red Wings.

Minnesota found themselves trailing early in the opening period after a defensive turnover resulting in a breakaway by Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin who scored on the breakaway. Minnesota attempted to get the game evened up at one, but Joel Eriksson Ek received a penalty for hooking, putting the Wild on the penalty kill. The Red Wings scored four minutes into the game on their powerplay, giving Minnesota a two-goal deficit early.

Minnesota responded quickly after the second goal scored by the Red Wings with their own. Rookie Matt Boldy scored a goal assisted by his linemates Kevin Fiala and Frederick Gaudreau, giving him his first goal on the night and his fifth on the season. The Wild continued to put on the pressure in the first period when they drew a penalty on the Red Wings, putting them on the power play for the first time. The Wild’s power play looked excellent, with their top unit having all their guys back and healthy, which resulted in a power-play goal scored by Matt Boldy, giving him his second goal of the night. Assists went to Jared Spurgeon and Mats Zuccarello on Boldy’s power-play goal. 

Minnesota and Detroit had a tie game at the beginning of the second period with two periods left to play. It did not take long for the Kaprizov, Hartman, and Zuccarello line to capitalize on a scoring chance in the second period. Kaprizov scored on a tremendous pass by Zuccarello, giving him his 21st goal of the season. Minnesota’s offense continued to perform in the second period, where they saw Matt Boldy score his third goal of the game, giving him a hattrick on the power-play. Zuccarello tallied his third assist on the night, and Spurgeon got his second assist on Boldy’s hat trick goal. The Wild found themselves with a two-goal lead going into the third period against the Red Wings.

With 13 minutes left in the period, Minnesota found itself on the power-play once again. Minnesota scored for the third time in the game on the power-play by Joel Eriksson Ek, assisted by Kaprizov and Boldy. Eriksson Ek’s goal was his 14th season, and Boldy recorded his fourth point. 

Shortly after the goal, Minnesota went on the penalty kill after Dmitry Kulikov made a tripping infraction. The Red Wings did not take long to respond while on the power-play to cut the lead to two goals. Detroit continued to put pressure on the Minnesota goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen but could not find the back of the net until late in the third period. Detroit Red Wings scored with two minutes remaining to cut the lead to one. Sam Gagner recorded the goal for the Red Wings for his fifth of the season. Minnesota battled defensively in front of their goaltender and scored an empty-net goal giving Kirill Kaprizov his second goal of the night. Minnesota had a comfortable lead in the game’s closing minute when forward Ryan Hartman found the back of the net. Hartman scored his 19th of the season, and the Wild won the seven to four.

Minnesota Wild’s rookie phenom Matt Boldy was the first star of the game scoring three goals and one assist. Boldy is the first rookie in the Minnesota Wild’s franchise to record four points in a single regular-season game. Minnesota also had notable performances from many players against Detroit. Kirill Kaprizov had two goals and one assist, Mats Zuccarello assisted on three goals, Joel Eriksson Ek had one goal and an assist, Frederick Gaudreau had two assists, and Kappo Kahkonen had 30 saves on 34 shots.

Boldy is the first rookie in the Minnesota Wild’s franchise to record four points in a single regular-season game

Minnesota looks to continue their stretch of winning hockey, where they have recorded a point in 12 of their last 13 games. The Wild are back in action on February 16 in Winnipeg against the Jets and are looking to win after a rough performance in Winnipeg one week ago.