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Gamethread, Lineups, and More: Wild vs. Blackhawks (4:00 p.m.)

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

A little Saturday afternoon treat. Our Minnesota Wild are back in action after struggling to get two points against the damn Philadelphia Flyers. So now they’re facing an even worse team in the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday afternoon.
Wild vs. Blackhawks
When: 4:00 p.m. CTWhere: Xcel Energy CenterTV: BSN, BSWI, NBCSCHRadio: KFAN 100.3
Projected Wild lineup
Marcus Foligno — Ryan Hartman — Mats ZuccarelloMarcus Johansson — Joel Eriksson Ek — Matt BoldyBrandon Duhaime — Frederick Gaudreau — Oskar SundqvistMason Shaw — Connor Dewar — Ryan Reaves
Jake Middleton — Jared SpurgeonJonas Brodin — Matt DumbaAlex Goligoski — Calen Addison
Filip GustavssonMarc-Andre Fleury
Addison is back in the lineup and replacing Jon Merrill after a streak of underperformance. Maybe Dean Evason believes that the lack of talent in Chicago’s lineup will not pose any threat and then Addison can go crazy.
Projected Blackhawks lineu
Lukas Reichel — Jujhar Khaira — Andreas AthanasiouTyler Johnson — Jason Dickinson — Taylor RaddyshBoris Katchouk — Reese Johnson — Joey AndersonMike Hardman — MacKenzie Entwistle — Buddy Robinson
Caleb Jones — Seth JonesJarred Tinordi — Connor MurphyWyatt Kaiser — Nikita Zaitsev
Alex StalockAnton Khudobin
Those are sure some hockey players!
Join us in the comments down below.

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Wilderness Walk: Faber, Gophers advance in Fargo

South Bend Tribune-USA TODAY NETWORK

Your daily dose of Wild news, along with other interesting stories from around the NHL. For those that cheer for the Gophers you can start building your excitement for the tournament right about now.
On Thursday night, one of the best things in hockey began: The NCAA national tournament leading to the Frozen Four. And in the first round, the University of Minnesota Gophers took on Canisius College and took them down by a massive score. It was a close game to start and the underdogs actually held a 2-1 lead after 27 minutes, but then Minnesota just unleashed hell after a five-minute major penalty.
The Gophers went on to score eight consecutive goals through the second half of the game and earn a 9-2 win to advance in the tournament.
Our own Brock Faber finished the game with two assists and at times looked absolutely dominant in possession and the best skater on the ice by far. So, we will just have to wait at least a couple more days for him to sign his entry-level contract with the Wild and start his professional career.
On Saturday afternoon, he will be facing another Wild defenseman prospect, Jack Peart, when the Gophers clash with St. Cloud State after they handled Minnesota State-Mankato fairly easily, by a score of 4-0. Peart actually scored a beautiful goal to make it 2-0 in that one.

Snipe from Wild draftee Jack Peart puts SCSU up 2-0 pic.twitter.com/HTO2tosTbV— CJ Fogler AKA Perc70 #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) March 23, 2023

The two major Wild prospects in the tournament will be facing off on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. CT.
That’s Wild

In other NCAA hockey news, Western Michigan got knocked out of the first round by Boston University, and that includes WMU captain Jason Polin who the Wild have reportedly shown interest in. He is expected to sign with an NHL team in the coming days. He scored his 30th goal of the season in the 5-1 defeat, and has a whole lot of interest around the league.
Matt Boldy has been shooting more and more all season and is blossoming into a very good volume shooter. [10K Rinks]

And speaking of Boldy, he continued his hot streak on Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers, but in the end the team lost 5-4 in the shootout to the non-playoff team. It was a brutal game to watch as turnovers were plenty and the passes were not connecting. After the game, coach Dean Evason described it as “playing loose” and that he will address these issues in practice. [Star Tribune]

The Dallas Stars won against the Pittsburgh Penguins, so because of the loser point, the Wild held the top Central spot for a couple hours and now the Stars have one more point.

Off the trail…

The biggest headache for every playoff contender. I think we know what the Wild’s should be. [ESPN]

Sidney Crosby calms the waters. [Defector]

Boston Bruins and Vezina-contending goaltender Linus Ullmark opened up about a strategy that he has worked on and contributed to his incredible season. [NHL dot com]

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Gamethread, Lineups, and More: Wild at Flyers (5:30 p.m.)

Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

Some brotherly love happening tonight. The Minnesota Wild are in Philadelphia facing a Flyers team that has punched above their weight, but is still at the bottom of the standings. Hopefully — with as many points needed as possible in this tight Central race — they can get two tonight.
Wild at Flyers
When: 5:30 p.m. CTWhere: Wells Fargo CenterTV: ESPN, SNE, SNPRadio: KFAN 100.3
Projected Wild lineup
Marcus Foligno — Ryan Hartman — Mats ZuccarelloMarcus Johansson — Joel Eriksson Ek — Matt BoldyBrandon Duhaime — Frederick Gaudreau — Oskar SundqvistMason Shaw — Connor Dewar — Ryan Reaves
Jake Middleton — Jared SpurgeonJonas Brodin — Matt DumbaJon Merrill — Alex Goligoski
Marc-Andre FleuryFilip Gustavsson
Projected Flyers lineup
Joel Farabee — Noah Cates — Owen TippettJames van Riemsdyk — Kevin Hayes — Wade AllisonBrendan Lemieux — Morgan Frost — Tyson FoersterNicolas Deslauriers — Scott Laughton
Ivan Provorov — Cam YorkTravis Sanheim — Rasmus RistolainenNick Seeler — Tony DeAngeloEgor Zamula
Carter HartFelix Sandstrom
Join us in the comments down below!

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Wilderness Walk: Score watching

Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images

Your daily dose of Wild news, along with other interesting stories from around the NHL. Every single night until the final buzzer sounds on April 13 to signal the end of the regular season, we will probably be watching the scores of other games that affects what our Minnesota Wild is going to do.
The race for the top spot in the Central Division is so incredibly tough in this three-way race between the Wild, Colorado Avalanche, and the Dallas Stars; that we are twiddling our thumbs and just hoping for it to go right.
Well, luckily on Wednesday night the Pittsburgh Penguins felt like turning back the clock and beat the Avalanche by a score of 5-2. Now, the best they can do is tie both the Stars and the Wild with the game in-hand that they have left to create this three-way deadlock. Unfortunately, if it remains tied, both the Stars and the Avs have the regulation/overtime win advantage over the Wild and that’s the tiebreaker that matters at the end of the season.
That’s Wild

Why Sammy Walker is getting less minutes in AHL Iowa, explained by his coach. [10K Rinks]

Filip Gustavsson is loving his first NHL playoff chase with the Wild. So much that Matt Boldy is calling him a “gamer” for how much fun he is having on the ice. [StarTribune]

Off the trail…
Well, he got there. Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid scored his 60th goal of the season. [ESPN]


Is Sidney Crosby still the most complete player in the NHL? For some reason, it feels like his late career is being underrated for just how deadly he is on both ends of the ice. [TSN]

Dissecting the league’s five-best bottom-six forward groups this season. [DailyFaceoff]

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Wilderness Walk: Boldy, our hero

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Your daily dose of Wild news, along with other interesting stories from around the NHL. Since Kirill Kaprizov went down with an injury, Matt Boldy has led the Minnesota Wild offense to familiar heights. When one superstar for the Minnesota Wild checks out, we guess another one just steps right in and is able to keep up a level of play that we expect.
In the six Kaprizov-less games, Boldy has had at least one point in every game and has a total of six goals and 10 points. Comparatively, in the six games before Kaprizov’s injury, Boldy had one goal and three points. We guess he just knows when to strap up his boots and do a whole lot of everything.
And thanks to him, we were saved from watching another shootout on Tuesday night.

MATTHEW BOLDY!!! pic.twitter.com/7RFhX5liuC— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) March 22, 2023

That’s Wild

We can already see it on the ice, but now we know that the Marcus Johansson that the Wild have right now, is vastly different than the one that was with the team seasons ago. [10K Rinks]

How Marco Rossi evolved his game during his stint in the AHL. This article also includes Wild GM Bill Guerin saying that the Wild’s top skater prospect will be getting another opportunity “soon.” But that can mean anything. [The Hockey News]

Off the trail…

Well, this is unfortunate. The Seattle Kraken held a lead over the Dallas Stars right up until the final seconds of regulation and then Jamie Benn just had to go and force overtime. The Stars eventually loss, but they did earn the one point that ties them once again with the Wild in the standings and are one and two in the Central. Dallas has the tie-breaker with one more regulation/overtime win this season. And just to make things even more stressful, the Colorado Avalanche are just two points behind them both with two games in hand. [DJLR]

The NHL prospects to watch in the NCAA tournament that starts Thursday. [ESPN]

Alex Ovechkin makes it look easy as he breaks another NHL record. After scoring his 40th goal of the season on Tuesday, Ovechkin set a new NHL record for the most 40-goal seasons in a career after this season marks his 13th. [DailyFaceoff]

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Gamethread, Lineups, and More: Wild at Devils (6:00 p.m.)

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Facing some demons tonight. Our Minnesota Wild are out on the coast facing the New Jersey Devils as both teams try to edge their way to winning their respective divisions.
Wild at Devils
When: 6:00 p.m. CTWhere: Prudential CenterTV: BSN, BSWIX, SNW, MSGSNRadio: KFAN 100.3
Projected Wild lineup
Marcus Foligno — Ryan Hartman — Mats ZuccarelloMarcus Johansson — Joel Eriksson Ek — Matt BoldyBrandon Duhaime — Frederick Gaudreau — Oskar SundqvistMason Shaw — Connor Dewar — Ryan Reaves
Jake Middleton — Jared SpurgeonJonas Brodin — Matt DumbaAlex Goligoski — John Klingberg
Filip GustavssonMarc-Andre Fleury
Projected Devils lineup
Timo Meier — Nico Hischier — Jesper BrattErik Haula — Jack Hughes — Dawson MercerOndrej Palat — Jesper Boqvist — Tomas TatarNolan Foote — Michael McLeod — Yegor Sharangovich
Jonas Siegenthaler — Dougie HamiltonRyan Graves — John MarinoKevin Bahl — Damon Severson
Vitek VanecekAkira Schmid

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Wilderness Walk: Wild interested in college free agent Jason Polin

Your daily dose of Wild news, along with other interesting stories from around the NHL. As of late, the Minnesota Wild have really hit on their college free agent acquisitions. Just last season it was Sammy Walker, who has turned into an electric winger that is one of AHL Iowa’s leading scorers and has made his NHL debut already; and less recently, they got forwards like Mitchell Chaffee and Brandon Duhaime in the process.
So when they are interested in a guy, it seems to be a decent bet that he can at least be a solid contributor in a year or two.
Well, according to The Athletic, the Wild are interested in forward Jason Polin our of Western Michigan.

It’s college free-agent season, and like scores of NHL teams, the Wild have lots of interest in decorated Western Michigan senior forward and captain Jason Polin.
In fact, Guerin and amateur scout Brian Hunter recently scouted the NCHC quarterfinals together in Kalamazoo, Mich.
Polin, 23, has five hat tricks this season, leads the nation with an NCHC single-season-record-tying 29 goals, is seventh in the nation with 46 points and is the first Broncos player to ever win NCHC Player of the Year and Forward of the Year. He was also named a Hobey Baker finalist.
If the Wild land Polin, who plays against Boston University in the NCAA regionals on Thursday, he would not be playoff eligible even if they burned the first year of his entry-level contract. — The Athletic

It says it all right there. Wild had representation at a recent game. At 23 years old, Polin really popped off for his senior year, scoring a historic 29 goals and 46 points, earning him the title of NCHC Player of the Year and Forward of the Year.
It took him a while to get there though. Polin had 16 goals and 26 points in 39 games last season, and then 14 points in 23 games the year before that. Clipping over the point-per-game mark felt likely, but it’s always a different beast to actually do it. The most noticeable thing about Polin is how many damn goals he has over his assists — in all four years with Western Michigan, he has either the same amount of goals to assists, or way more goals comparatively.
He’s a shooter, and we know that the whole organization could use more of that.
That’s Wild

He scored a hat trick over the weekend and is producing so many damn points while being his typical defensively responsible self. Marco Rossi is ready to make the jump. [10K Rinks]

Is winning the Central Division worth it for the Wild? [10K Rinks]

The Minnesota Whitecaps swept the Boston Pride and are heading to the Isobel Cup Final for the fourth time in the last five years. [The Ice Garden]

Off the trail…

Dylan Ferguson recorded a 48-save win in his first NHL career start for the Ottawa Senators last night after blanking the Pittsburgh Penguins. [Yahoo Sports]

What the Buffalo Sabres can expect from goaltender prospect Devon Levi, and why they should be patient. [DailyFaceoff]

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Wilderness Walk: Matty Hatty

Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images

Your daily dose of Wild news, along with other interesting stories from around the NHL. Our beloved Matt Boldy scored his first career hat-trick over the weekend and we cannot be more happy for him. It speaks for himself, as the Minnesota Wild beat the Washington Capitals by a score of 5-3.

Bolds said I’ll take that one ‍♂️#mnwild pic.twitter.com/C1srhCTCMq— Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) March 19, 2023

Welcome to the Matt Boldy show! pic.twitter.com/mPKDxq6G7I— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) March 19, 2023

The script is giving today BOLDY HATTY #mnwild pic.twitter.com/2KNrcaDm1D— Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) March 19, 2023

That’s Wild

In case you missed it, we went over some initial expectations for what type of content will be on Hockey Wilderness when we make the move away from Vox Media and to Zone Coverage. [Hockey Wilderness]

Should we be thinking more of who should really be quarterbacking the top power play unit? Calen Addison was dethroned from that position once John Klingberg came in, but the results have been mixed. [10K Rinks]

Off the trail…

Connor Bedard scored…12 points in just one weekend. [Yahoo Sports]

Sizing up the bracket as we head to the start of the national NCAA tournament next weekend. [ESPN]

The Ottawa Senators are going to be sold soon and there is reportedly one offer to buy the team for over $900 million. [Sportsnet]

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Gamethread, Lineups, and More: Wild vs. Capitals (1:00 p.m.)

After an unfortunate loss, there’s possibility here. Our beloved Minnesota Wild suffered a brutal 5-2 loss to the Boston Bruins after some goals were called back that just took them out of the game. Well, they have another chance less than 24 hours later to get back on the ice and earn some points against the Washington Capitals.
Wild vs. Capitals
When: 1:00 p.m. CTWhere: Xcel Energy CenterTV: BSN, BSWIX, NHLN, NBCSWARadio: KFAN 100.3
Projected Wild lineup
Sammy Walker — Ryan Hartman — Mats ZuccarelloMarcus Johansson — Joel Eriksson Ek — Matt BoldySam Steel — Frederick Gaudreau — Oskar SundqvistMason Shaw — Connor Dewar — Ryan Reaves
John Klingberg — Jared SpurgeonAlex Goligoski — Matt DumbaJon Merrill — Calen Addison
Marc-Andre FleuryFilip Gustavsson
The collection of injured players remained out yesterday, but they could return as soon as this afternoon. Jonas Brodin and Brandon Duhaime are the closest, with Marcus Foligno following them. So, in short, this lineup could be completely wrong and we won’t know until warm-ups.
Projected Capitals lineup
Alex Ovechkin — Dylan Strome — Conor ShearyT.J. Oshie — Evgeny Kuznetsov — Tom WilsonSonny Milano — Nicklas Backstrom — Craig SmithAliaksei Protas — Nic Dowd — Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Rasmus Sandin — Trevor van RiemsdykMatt Irwin — Gabriel CarlssonAlexander Alexeyev — Martin Fehervary
Charlie LindgrenDarcy Kuemper
You can really tell that this is a hockey team that is suffering from some key injuries and also sold at the NHL trade deadline. The group of forwards is fine, especially the fact that their top-nine still looks dangerous, but the blue line is full of either young up-and-comers or just depth journeymen. It will be interesting.
Join us in the comments down below!

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Recap: Wild lose tough 5-2 against Bruins

Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

Wild hang with NHL front-runners in spite of injuries. Saturday afternoon in St. Paul saw an excellent hockey game marred by controversial offsides reviews. The main separator of the two teams appeared to be not one, but two offsides reviews which were correctly called back in favor of the Bruins. While the calls were correct, it will no doubt have Wild twitter talking about the NHL’s offsides rules all day, perhaps instead of what should be the main takeaway: Minnesota was able to keep the chances and the score close throughout the game, in spite of playing without several lineup mainstays.

#mnwild’s 14-gm pt streak on line vs. NHL-best Bruins, and here are their lines w/o Kaprizov, Brodin, Foligno, Middleton, Duhaime Walker-Hartman-ZuccarelloJohansson-Eriksson Ek-BoldySteel-Gaudreau-SunqvistShaw-Dewar-ReavesKlingberg-SpurgeonGoligoski-DumbaMerrill-Addison— Michael Russo (@RussoHockey) March 18, 2023

The game started off slow for the Wild, trailing the Bruins in shot attempts and shots. Around the five-minute mark, Minnesota started to find their legs. Many times the Wild have been critiqued for slow starts in afternoon games, but you won’t hear anybody bringing that up today. Trading chances with the Bruins with excellent pace, they were soon rewarded.

ST. PAUL #mnwild pic.twitter.com/8Bmp1Vwzq1— Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) March 18, 2023

Marcus Johansson has been playing his best forest-green hockey since he made his return at this year’s trade deadline. Here, he should probably gets the least amount of credit on this goal (except of course on the scoresheet), starting the play with a questionable pass to Joel Eriksson Ek. True to his own game though, Eriksson Ek gathered the 50/50 puck and made an ugly pass that found the skilled Matt Boldy. With both Bruins left in the wake of Eriksson Ek’s puck-winning ability, it became a warm-up drill between Jojo, Boldy, and Linus Ullmark at the goalmouth. A beautiful goal scored in the blink of an eye.
Minutes later, Ryan Hartman earned a penalty in the defensive zone corner, and as the penalty expired it appeared that Minnesota was going up 2-0. Matt Dumba finished a beautiful feed from behind the net. Unfortunately, the play had been a mile offsides on the zone entry, so the goal was called back.
While this could have been a major momentum-killer, Minnesota actually kept their foot on the gas. On the ensuing faceoff they nearly entered the zone and scored again, but were stopped by Ullmark. For the remaining minutes of the period, the Wild kept Boston out of the high-danger areas and dominated the scoring changes, largely driven by more quality play from the Johansson-Eriksson Ek-Boldy line. Unfortunately, the Bruins were able to make a “good road period” out of it by tying the score in the final minute of the period.

Jake DeBrusk SHEESH pic.twitter.com/GbjhJWuGL4— Spoked Z (@SpokedZ) March 18, 2023

If you’re wondering why goal scorer Jake DeBrusk is so open, note that he is coming from the bench and driving straight into the high slot. It’s a tough play to defend — a second before the shot, the Bruins appear contained with two players below the goal line and nobody penetrating the net-front. Suddenly, DeBrusk is coming into the play open and it’s tough to determine which forward should be assigned to him. Gustavsson slides out to challenge the shot, but DeBrusk pulls off the extremely difficult far-side top corner shot. It may also have tipped off of Mats Zuccarello’s stick, making the save especially impossible. A tough break, and the period ended 1-1.
The second period began with a chippy shift from the line of Mason Shaw-Connor Dewar-Ryan Reaves. Shaw was lining up a hit on one of the Bruins defensemen, who tripped just before Shaw made contact. The contact got messy, Reaves entered the scrum, and eventually Shaw ended up accompanying Boston forward Garnet Hathaway to the box. This led to an exciting 4-on-4, but both goaltenders were stellar and the game remained tied.
Minutes later, the refs gave Jon Merrill two minutes for slashing on a retaliatory play which goes uncalled more often than not. One could speculate that the refs doled out those two minutes in an effort to control the game. The Wild were able to kill the penalty rather uneventfully, outside of a one-timer from David Pastrnak that missed wide.
Just after coming out of the box, Merrill took another penalty, this time for high-sticking. This time, the dangerous Bruins unit wasted no time, scoring 30 seconds into the power play.

Lunch is served saucy pic.twitter.com/J0bOx7PKqb— x – Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) March 18, 2023

Head coach Dean Evason responded by sending out the Johansson-Eriksson Ek-Boldy line, who had been excellent all night. They delivered the response he wanted, throwing three quality shots on net before beating Ullmark. This time, it was Johansson’s turn to feed Boldy an easy goal.
Unfortunately, the play was once again challenged and determined offsides. This one was paper-thin, but appeared once again to be the correct call. I would like it noted for the record that this author’s personal tastes prefer offsides reviews to leave a little more room for the “spirit of the rule” — this is so close that you’d never call it with the naked eye, so I don’t see why we need to start calling these goals back. It’s simply taking excitement out of the game, much more so than getting in the right call.
Already with several injuries to their typical starting lineup and playing what may be the best team in the NHL, it’s tough to win with two goals overturned. This one was a serious momentum-killer. This time, it was the fans’ turn to respond after the challenge, shaking the rafters at the X with a thunderous “ref you suck” chant. With the crowd at their backs, the Wild drew a penalty and generated an exciting flurry in the slot, but they were again stymied by Ullmark.
The second power play unit closed out man-advantage with an ineffectual shift which really made the game start to feel out of reach. Boston’s fifth man came out of the box, and they started to dominate possession until they beat Minnesota goaltender Filip Gustavsson once more.

David got it done pic.twitter.com/GvBkJiveI8— x – Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) March 18, 2023

If you want to learn about the modern game of hockey, watch this give and go by David Krejci, one of the smartest hockey players of our generation. After passing off the puck, he loops to the point and uses crossovers to quickly generate speed into the high slot. The high-to-low drive into center ice is a cornerstone of Tampa Bay’s strategy which generates tons of chances in the slot. Like the DeBrusk goal, this makes Krejci very difficult to cover due to the pass-offs that would be required by the Wild forwards. Suddenly he’s moving to his forehand, wide open in the slot, and the only guys left to defend him would have to abandon their passing lanes in order to help. While there are a lot of Wild players near Krejci, he has all the time he needs to wait out Gustavsson because they can’t abandon their assignments.
At the end of the period, things did get interesting. Sammy Walker won a race to a puck in the corner of the offensive zone and was shoved face-first into the boards by Hampus Lindholm. In the words of the Department of Player Safety, “this…is crosschecking.” While killing the penalty, trade deadline acquisition Dmitry Orlov flipped the puck over the glass and out of play, leading to a long 5-on-3 power play opportunity for the Wild. As crucial as this stretch was, they were unable to capitalize. The Wild had 34 seconds left on the power play as time expired, and the Bruins had a two goal lead.
Minnesota did not score in those first 34 seconds of the third period, and found themselves quickly on the back foot. Boston seemed to know where the Wild forecheckers were going to be before they got there, and they skated around green sweaters with ease. Whenever Matt Boldy and Marcus Johansson weren’t on the ice, the offense was tepid and the Bruins were speeding through the neutral zone on the counterattack. With 13 minutes to go in the period, the Wild got a break when DeBrusk slashed Walker and Minnesota would try again on the power play.
Early in the power play, Frederick Gaudreau found himself half-open, with time and space to wait out Boston’s defense. Ever the heady player, he noted only one Bruin at the front of the net, with two Minnesotans crashing the net: theoretically, this is an impossible defensive task, and Professor Freddy proved this theory right.

Oskar Sundqvist makes it a one-goal game on the PP off a slick feed from Freddy Gaudreau #mnwild pic.twitter.com/i1rYid6IaB— Spoked Z (@SpokedZ) March 18, 2023

Spurgeon’s net-front drive forces Charlie Coyle’s hand, opening up Sundvist for the tap-in. The feed is millimeter-perfect, and Ullmark was unable to get across to the post because he had to honor Gaudreau as a shooting threat. An excellent play from Minnesota’s oft-maligned second power play unit.
The Wild had brought it back to a one-score game, and suddenly things were opening up. Boston’s defensemen were activating offensively rather than trying to park the bus and maintain the lead. Consider it a sign of respect, or just marvel at an elite team playing their game. Either way, it worked out for the bad guys.

The Bruins go to work on the forecheck and Brad Marchand finds Bergeron in the slot who makes it 4-2 pic.twitter.com/qOlrGnMYf4— Spoked Z (@SpokedZ) March 18, 2023

Spoked Z says it all here: the Bruins force three puck battles, and they eventually win one. If you want to understand why Calen Addison is such a polarizing defenseman, watch the two plays that he makes: one is a soft clear that doesn’t get to a teammate, and the next is a drop down low defending a pass to nobody. Merrill is not on the left post to help him because of the earlier bad clearance, which Merrill went to clean up. It’s important to note that the initial clear was in the face of physical pressure, which seemed to be an earlier complaint of the coaching staff when Addison was last scratched.
It’s the type of play that rookie defensemen make when they’re learning to play at an NHL-level, so it’s not totally unforgivable; on the other hand, it’s making the game harder on his teammates. It also essentially puts out-of-reach what was a one-goal game for Minnesota. At a time when his offensive skills are needed to tie the game, his defensive warts were showcased instead.
The Wild were unable to overcome the two-goal deficit, eventually pulling the goalie and giving up an empty-net goal, yielding the final score of 5-2. Missing so many every-night players against a team of this caliber, the team performed admirably. In the face of offsides review-based adversity, the team’s secondary scoring line stepped up, and the team generated plenty of scoring chances against one of the truly elite teams in the NHL. In the end the only bad taste fans should have about this one is frustration, because this one could have been a statement victory for the Wild if a few bounces went the other way.

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