Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Colorado Avalanche 3/27/22 @ 5:00PM CST at Xcel Energy Center


Minnesota Wild (39-20-4)  82pts  2nd in the Central

3.63 Goals For Per Game (3rd in the NHL)

3.11 Goals Against Per Game (20th in the NHL)

19.7% Power Play (20th in the NHL)

76.4% Penalty Kill (22nd in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #97 Kirill Kaprizov ~ 34G 45A = 79pts

2. #36 Mats Zuccarello ~ 19G 44A = 63pts

3. #22 Kevin Fiala ~ 21G 35A = 56pts

4. #38 Ryan Hartman ~ 26G 22A = 48pts

5. #17 Marcus Foligno ~ 19G 14A = 33pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #17 Marcus Foligno ~ 105 PIM’s

2. #44 Nic Deslauriers ~ 90 PIM’s*

3. #21 Brandon Duhaime ~ 80 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #33 Cam Talbot (26-12-1)  2.82GAA  .910%  2SO

2. #29 Marc-Andre Fleury (20-21-5)  2.95GAA  .908%  4SO**




Colorado Avalanche (46-14-5)  97pts  1st in the Central

3.82 Goals For Per Game (2nd in the NHL)

2.77 Goals Against Per Game (9th in the NHL)

24.8% Power Play (6th in the NHL)

79% Penalty Kill (17th in the NHL)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #91 Nazem Kadri ~ 25G 54A = 79pts

2. #96 Mikko Rantanen ~ 32G 45A = 77pts

3. #8 Cale Makar ~ 24G 49A = 73pts

4. #29 Nathan MacKinnon ~ 22G 48A = 70pts

5. #95 Andre Burakovsky ~ 18G 28A = 46pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #56 Kurtis MacDermid ~ 72 PIM’s

2. #91 Nazem Kadri ~ 67 PIM’s

3. #96 Mikko Rantanen ~ 52 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #35 Darcy Kuemper (30-9-2)  2.39GAA  .923%  5SO

2. #39 Pavel Francouz (12-3-1)  2.53GAA  .918%  2SO

*- denotes stats Deslauriers accrued from his time with Anaheim

**- denotes stats Fleury accrued from his time with Chicago


Colorado Avalanche





D. Toews~Makar

J. Johnson~Manson

MacDermid~E. Johnson



Minnesota Wild


Fiala~F. Gaudreau~Boldy

Greenway~Eriksson Ek~M. Foligno







Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Colorado Avalanche 3/27/22 @ 5:00PM CST at Xcel Energy Center

Quick, grab some popcorn and a nice beverage to drink and get comfy on the couch while we sit down for some movies.  Since this is a Minnesota Wild-focused hockey blog, by movies I mean memories from the 2021-22 season.

Here are a few Wild themed categories with their winner announced tonight.  Sorry, no red carpet interviews this time, , no musical numbers you have to sit through, we’re just cutting to the chase and talking about the winners right away.

Best Wild Player – In a Supporting Role ~ WinnerMatt Boldy ~ When looking at candidates for this award, we wanted to recognize a player that is not listed in the stats above that we feel has been a crucial part of the team’s success.

Ever since he arrived to the Wild lineup, rookie Matt Boldy has had immediate chemistry with Kevin Fiala and this in turn has given the team a second scoring line making him a force multiplier.  Boldy hasn’t been on the score sheet as much lately, but he gives Fiala a creative line mate he has lacked in previous seasons.

Former Wild General Manager Paul Fenton was right, Fiala is a game breaker and its important to have him contributing offensively and without Boldy that would likely be more infrequent leaving him frustrated.  Having Boldy on his line makes him happier and more productive.

His later start will probably mean he won’t win the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie, but he’s given the team an immediate boost and the future looks bright for the Milton, Massachusetts-native.

Best Special Effects ~ Winner: Nic Deslauriers taking out the trash.  You won’t be able to find it on any stat sheet or advanced hockey metrics but fans certainly appreciated the winger pulling away Vegas’ William Karlsson from the Wild crease on Monday earlier this week.

Rarely have Wild players shown this kind of creative determination and while it certainly was a late entry to this category we feel it was deserving of the award for its uniqueness.  Fans are also loving the sound the boards make every time Deslauriers staples an opposing skater into the boards.

Best Original ScreenplayWinnerMinnesota’s success with the extra attacker.  Just as filmmakers are known for their signature style / feel in their films, if there was anything that has made the 2021-22 season different than all of the rest is the Wild’s success in scoring goals with the extra attacker.

Minnesota has scored 18 times this season with the extra attacker.  It even happened last night in Minnesota’s 3-2 overtime victory against Columbus.

Credit the team and Wild Head Coach Dean Evason for having the courage to pull a goaltender, at times quite early to get his club back in the game.   No doubt the team has earned some extra points in the standings this season if it had not been for their prowess at finding the back of the net 6-on-5.

Best Director (Best Team Leader) ~ Winner: Marcus Foligno.  ‘Moose’ as he is affectionately known was promoted to being an alternate captain in the wake of the twin buyouts of Ryan Suter and Zach PariseMinneapolis Star Tribune‘s Jim Souhan accurately articulated the how the flawed leadership of these two led to their departure from the team.

Whatever is needed, a fight, a big hit or a big goal the Sudbury, Ontario-native will do whatever it takes to help his team win.  Off the ice, he’s just as much a leader as he is on it.

Candid, honest, intense, warrior, hard-working, accountable, selfless are all superlatives that could be used to describe what he brings to the team, but he is a true leader and that is something that was needed to transform a toxic environment into one where players feel comfortable being themselves.

Game Preview: Minnesota Wild vs. Colorado Avalanche 3/27/22 @ 5:00PM CST at Xcel Energy Center

Best Actor (Team MVP) ~ Winner: Kirill Kaprizov.  When Kaprizov scored his 5-year, $9.5 million a season contract after having played a scant 55 NHL games that certainly raised expectations for last year’s Calder Trophy winner as the league’s top rookie.

After a slow start, he found his groove and is well on his way (knock on wood) to have the most productive season in franchise history.  To use a film cliche, he is well worth the price of admission because you never know what he’ll do next other than the fact there is a good chance it will involve him lighting the lamp or helping a teammate do the same.

Kaprizov is a legit NHL superstar and the Wild likely wouldn’t be where they currently are in the standings without him.  Not only is he our ‘Wild Oscar’ MVP, but I think he has a strong case for some Hart Trophy consideration as well.  When have we ever said anything like that before?

Saturday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets provided plenty of reasons for hope as well as frustration.

On the hope side of things, the team had the firepower and the confidence to rally back from a 2-1 deficit to find a way to earn an important two points.  Kirill Kaprizov found a way to thread a needle with the extra attacker to send the game to overtime.  Jared Spurgeon jumped into the play and made a pretty move to earn the game winner.

This was the 18th time the Wild had a goal with the extra attacker this season.  Its both great and doesn’t seem sustainable.  However, that’s part of what makes this season different and special.

From a frustration point of view, the Minnesota Wild were guilty of being too cute with the puck and even though they would spend a lot of time in Columbus’ end of the ice it wasn’t resulting in many pucks being sent on goal.  Because of this, the Blue Jackets were able to score twice in the 2nd period and if it hadn’t been for a furious effort by the Wild they should have won last night.

Columbus had played the night before and Minnesota appeared to be caught up in a lot of scrums after the whistle.  I understand the team wants to send a message to teams across the league that they’re not going to be pushed around anymore, but it seemed to be a distraction.  What should’ve been a fairly easy game against a non-playoff bound team, instead was a grudge match.

Now the Wild have to refocus and try to earn a victory against the best team in the Western Conference.  97 points?!?!  4 players with over 70 points?  Those are not illusions, the Colorado Avalanche really are that good.

Minnesota added muscle and physicality at the trade deadline, the Avalanche added speed and depth by making deals for Arturi Lehkonen and Andrew Cogliano.  Colorado is a team that was already one of the fastest in the league and they got faster?!   It doesn’t seem fair.

Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Nazem Kadri and probable Norris Trophy favorite Cale Makar are all having fantastic seasons and Minnesota Wild will face a real test against an elite team.  It should test this team’s ability to skate and defend against such a tremendously skilled club as the Avalanche are.

Jonas Brodin and Matthew Dumba must be better than they were last night against the Blue Jackets.  Dumba lost his defensive coverage on both of Columbus’ goals, and now he’ll likely be playing even bigger minutes against a far more dangerous opponent.  Those kinds of mistakes will be exposed that much more against a club that has so many quality finishers as Colorado has.

If there is any silver lining, the addition of Jacob Middleton could prove to be that much more important as the Avalanche will have to realize life in the Wild zone may not be nearly as pleasant as it used to be with the 6’3″ punisher patrolling Minnesota’s blueline.

Minnesota will most likely give Cam Talbot the start after having Marc-Andre Fleury‘s Wild debut on Saturday.  Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar will probably give Darcy Kuemper the start.

I think we all realize the road towards the Western Conference finals let alone the Stanley Cup Finals means at some point the Wild will have to find a way by the Avalanche.  Minnesota wants to be a contender, today’s game will be a great indicator of just how close or how far away we truly are.

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