Kirill Kaprizov ties game late, then Wild beat Ducks in shootout
With the Wild trailing, Kaprizov scored with 2 minutes, 35 seconds left to force overtime
ST. PAUL — In danger of losing in regulation to the worst team in the NHL, Kirill Kaprizov saved the Minnesota Wild from the depths of despair.
Who else was it going to be? He found some open ice in the slot, then found the back of the net to tie the game at 4-4 with 2 minutes, 35 seconds left.
“I’m not surprised anymore,” Jordan Greenway said. “He finds a way. You’ve got to think the coaches are like, ‘Stay with Kirill.’ He still finds a way to get open. It’s crazy.”
That forced overtime where, neither the Wild nor the Ducks scored. In the shootout that followed, Kaprizov and Matt Boldy beat Ducks goaltender John Gibson, and Filip Gustavsson made a big stop to secure the 5-4 victory.
“It’s a good wakeup call for us,” coach Dean Evason said. “They easily could have beat us.”
Though the Wild will certainly take a three-game winning streak for the first time this season, the way they played against the Ducks left something to be desired. Luckily for the Wild, they turned it around in the final 20 minutes of regulation to make sure it didn’t come back to bite them.
“We realized maybe we should play the right way,” Evason said. “We were able to come back and we’re very fortunate that the game wasn’t out of hand.”
After getting a goal from Calen Addison to make it 1-0, the Wild decided to park the bus in their zone, failing to generate much offense the other way.
That cost them as Ducks center Ryan Strome found some space in front a few minutes later and redirected a shot to tie the game at 1-1. Despite getting a gritty goal from Connor Dewar to make it 2-1 late in the first period, the Wild weren’t putting enough bodies in front of Gibson in net.
That trend continued into the second period and Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler eventually leveled the score at 2-2 on the power play. It got worse from there as Ducks center Trevor Zegras went unmarked near the crease and made it 3-2.
“The first two periods weren’t very good for us,” Jared Spurgeon said. “There wasn’t a lot of sustained pressure and if there was there wasn’t traffic around the net. It made it pretty easy for him to make saves.”
After a spirited discussion at intermission, the Wild looked much more like themselves in the third period. They got an equalizer from Joel Eriksson Ek on the power play to make it 3-3 and continued.
Though it looked like the Wild were on the verge of taking over, Gustavsson coughed up a rebound on the penalty kill, and Ducks winger Troy Terry scored to make it 4-3.
With the game hanging in the balance, Kaprizov finished off a perfect pass from Mats Zuccarello to tie the game at 4-4. It was the latest clutch goal from Kaprizov as he continues to put the Wild on his back night in and night out.
“You saw him take over there the last 10 minutes,” Spurgeon said. “Every shift he was on he created some sort of opportunity whether it was for himself or for his teammates. That’s the type of player he is."
Now the Wild head on the road for a week looking to build on some positive momentum.
“We’ve been talking about trying to get some momentum, string some games together, and we’ve been able to do that as of late,” Greenway said. “It’s great momentum going into a road trip. We should have confidence. If we play the way we play, we can beat anyone on the road.”
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