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Wild erupt offensively in 8-2 win over Canadiens

Minnesota ties the franchise record for most goals in a game

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Minnesota Wild
Minnesota Wild center Connor Dewar (52) and center Nico Sturm (7) celebrate after Dewar scores his first NHL goal during the second period against the Montreal Canadiens on Monday, Jan. 24, 2022, at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Harrison Barden / USA Today Sports
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Ever since he took over behind the bench, Minnesota Wild coach Dean Evason has made it a point not to number his lines. Anytime he’s asked about the first line, second line, third line, or fourth line, Evason goes out of his way to rephrase the question.

So even though logic would say the first line is Ryan Hartman centering Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello, the second line is Joel Eriksson Ek centering Jordan Greenway and Marcus Foligno, the third line is Freddy Gaudreau centering Kevin Fiala and Matt Boldy, and the fourth line is Nico Sturm centering Connor Dewar and Brandon Duhaime, well, Evason doesn’t like to look at it like that.

Regardless, on Monday night at Xcel Energy Center the combination of Sturm centering Dewar and Duhaime proved to be the difference. In a span of 22 seconds, Dewar scored the first goal of his NHL career, then on the ensuing shift Sturm added a goal of his own.

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Minnesota Wild
Minnesota Wild right wing Brandon Duhaime (21) hits Montreal Canadiens defenseman Chris Wideman (20) during the second period Monday, Jan. 24, 2022, at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Harrison Barden / USA Today Sports

That busted the game open and the Wild rode the wave to a 8-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens. That tied the franchise record for most goals in a game.

It was a perfect example of the depth Evason has talked about time and time again this season. He is truly comfortable rolling his lines, and more important, his players are OK with the playing time be evenly distributed throughout the lineup.

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The eruption offensively made up for the fact that the Wild actually trailed early in the game. Yes, the Canadiens actually led at one point, going up 1-0 when winger Mike Hoffman beat Cam Talbot less than 90 seconds into the contest.

Not long after that, Spurgeon scored to tie the game at 1-1, and Foligno added a goal to make it 2-1 in favor of the Wild. That was the beginning of the Canadiens.

With the score still close in the second period despite the fact the Wild were dominating the game, Dewar netted a goal on the rush to make it 3-1, then Sturm scored less than 30 seconds later to make it 4-1. For good measure, Zuccarello finished off a pass from Kaprizov in the closing seconds of the frame to stretch the lead to 5-1.

That paved the way for the third period where the Wild left no doubt.

After winger Rem Pitlick scored to cut the deficit to 5-2 in his return to the Twin Cities, the Wild poured it on. It started with a goal from Boldy to make it 6-2, continued with a goal from Jordie Benn to make it 7-2, and concluded with a goal from Fiala to finalize the score at 8-2.

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