Game 14: Wild – Ducks Report Cards

By Seth Toupal
Photo: Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP

Kevin Fiala

2 G • 1 A • 5 SOG • 16:44 TOI
5/5 Stars

After 2 goals and an assist, it’s safe to say Fiala is rolling. This was arguably Fiala’s best game of the season so far. He was, simply put, the best player on the ice. He now has 6 goals in his last 7 games, including one tonight where he simply skated past the Ducks and beat Gibson. Fiala had several opportunities to record a hat trick, but showed that he is still a “team first” guy by passing up a contested shot late for a better look that ended up in a Joel Eriksson Ek goal. After what we saw last year from Fiala, there’s no reason to not expect him to go on an extended run of scoring.

Jonas Brodin

2 SOG • 20:30 TOI
5/5 Stars

Order has been restored. Brodin returned from the COVID protocol list and the entire defense looked noticably better. It would be understandable if Brodin would have taken a game to get his legs back under him, but he didn’t miss a beat at all.

Kaapo Kahkonen

26/27 SV • 59:50 TOI
5/5 stars

Disregard the goal he allowed, in which Kahkonen was completely blocked from seeing it’s trajectory, Kaapo had a great night. The Wild defense prevented the Ducks from any sort of extended presence in the Wild zone, but they did have some great chances that Kahkonen turned away. It will be very interesting to see what happens with the goalie situation with Cam Talbot ready to return, because Kaapo has definitely earned more playing time.

Kirill Kaprizov

2 A 16:45 TOI
4/5 Stars

Kaprizov was very generous throughout the night, while also being a massinve problem the Ducks couldn’t figure out how to solve. Kirill had an unreal no look pass to set up Victor Rask for a goal, and also had a nifty assist to Mats Zuccarello that started the scoring. Kap may have found his ideal linemates in Zuccarello and Rask, they all certainly seemed very comfortable.

Joel Eriksson Ek

1 G • 2 PIM 2 SOG • 15:25 TOI
4/5 Stars

The Yule Log finally lit the lamp after a bit of a dry spell. It’s safe to say that JEEK loved having Fiala added to his line, as the trio had immediate chemistry. Eriksson Ek won 10 of 15 faceoffs, as the Wild crushed Anaheim all night in the faceoff circle. Let’s see if this goal sparks another scoring run for Eriksson Ek, because with Fiala on fire this line could become absolutely lethal.

Jordan Greenway

1 A • 2 SOG • 2 PIM 15:53 TOI
4/5 Stars

The quietest member of the Wild’s top line still had plenty to do with the outcome. Greenway tallied an assist on Kevin Fiala’s power play goal, mixed it up when the Ducks tried to push him around, and overall just had the same sort of physical game we have come to expect from Greenway every night.

Mats Zuccarello

1 G • 1 A • 2 SOG • 14:49 TOI
4/5 Stars

Zuccarello has been a much needed boost to the offense since his return to the lineup. His top shelf snipe to start the scoring was a thing of beauty, and I think it’s safe to say the Zuccarello-Rask-Kaprizov line needs to be kept together for as well as they played. The crazy thing too is that Zuccarello has been so dogged for the contract the Wild signed him too, yet we may be on the verge of seeing his best.

Matt Dumba

1 A • 1 SOG 23:07 TOI
4/5 Stars

Dumba was especially locked in defensively tonight. He had more than a few nice plays on the PK and did a great job keeping traffic from settling in front of Kaapo. The offense will come, but it has been nice to see Dumba benefit from a bit of a break to bring it on defense.

Victor Rask

1 G • 3 SOG • 11:07 TOI
3/5 Stars

Rask got quite the assist from Kirill Kaprizov to tally his 4th goal of the season, and seemed very comfortable on the same line with Kirill and Zuccarello. He was also a huge factor in the Wild dominating in the faceoff circle, winning 13 of 14 draws. Rask has 4 goals on just 10 shots so far this year. Another player who hasn’t quite lived up to expectations before this year and now finally appears to be hitting his stride.

Ryan Hartman

1 A • 2 SOG • 2 PIM • 14:09 TOI
3/5 Stars

How about Ryan Hartman stepping up to fill a center spot with Johansson out of the lineup? Hartman filled in admirably, had a couple of good looks that Gibson was able to keep out of the net, and assisted Joel Eriksson Ek on the final goal of the night. Hartman does whatever he’s asked to do, and seems to step up more when he’s asked to handle more of the load.

Jared Spurgeon

1 A • 2 SOG • 18:48 TOI
3/5 Stars

Another pretty standard night from the Captain. He provided his usual stellar defensive play and was credited with an assist on the Zuccarello goal to open the scoring. It was just nice to see everybody back in their normal spots with Brodin back, and it led to a much more aggressive style from the Wild defense as a whole.

Calen Addison

2 SOG 18:24 TOI
3/5 Stars

Another night from Addison where he showed the NHL stage isn’t too big for him. Addison just continues to play physically on defense and isn’t afraid to chip in offensively either. The Wild are going to have a decision to make when Carson Soucy is ready to return, because Addison has filled that spot and the team hasn’t missed a beat.

Ryan Suter

1 SOG • 20:07 TOI
3/5 Stars

Suter played…..alright? With Brodin back he was asked to do substantially less and as a result didn’t stand out as much. It’s still pretty obvious that Suter isn’t skating as fast as he used to, but with as much elite defensive talent as the Wild have, if Suter simply doesn’t do anything to stand out in a bad way the Wild will take that.

Ian Cole

2 PIM 19:14 TOI
3/5 Stars

Cole gets a boost here as the entire defense was great against the Ducks the entire night. He did take a penalty in the 2nd but it didn’t end up hurting the team at all. Cole isn’t going to be somebody who flashes and dazzles on defense like some of his teammates, but the bottom line is he was solid and did his job, which is way easier with everybody back in the lineup.

Marcus Foligno

1 SOG • 14:47 TOI
3/5 Stars

Kind of a quiet night for Foligno as he gets used to being on a different line. He was great on the penalty kill, and there was not much pressure for the bottom lines to score with the top lines scoring at will. Foligno is gonna be fine, just one of those nights that happen throughout the course of a full season.

Nico Sturm

1 SOG • 11:34 TOI
3/5 Stars

Sturm nearly scored on some great stick work, but Gibson made a nice save to rob him. The whole team seemed to have a jolt in their skates, and Sturm was flying around the ice. It’s safe to say that Dean has found some line combinations that work well. And Sturm is definitely a big part of it.

Nick Bonino

12:21 TOI
3/5 Stars

Bonino’s main contribution was winning faceoffs tonight. The Wild dominated in faceoff wins all night which helped them control the action. Bonino won 8 of 12 and just blended in otherwise as the Wild’s top lines dominated throughout the night.

Zach Parise

1 SOG • 14:10 TOI
3/5 Stars

Parise looked a little more aggressive against the Ducks. That was probably due to some pressure being taken off with the line shuffle. The Eriksson Ek and Rask lines dominated all night, so Parise didn’t have to try to force anything. He had a great opportunity, but as we saw most of the night, Gibson made some great saves despite the 5 goals allowed. One of these games Parise is gonna score, it’s just bound to happen.

Nick Bjugstad

3 SOG 12:30 TOI
2/5 Stars

I’m dinging Bjugstad for a couple of turnovers he had that squashed more chances for the Wild to score. He also just looked a step slow compared to everyone else on the ice. Bjugstad did have a couple of good scoring chances, but if tonight showed anything, it was that the Wild found a couple of lines that work, and Bjugstad wasn’t on either of them.