Wild.com’s Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild’s 5-1 win against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona on Friday night:
1. Kaprizov hits the highlight reel once again.
It seems like rookie Kirill Kaprizov does something ridiculous on a nightly basis, and he did so again on Friday on his assist on Nick Bjugstad‘s first-period goal.
After some nifty passing between Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello, the former gained control of the puck near the right circle and steered it behind the net, looking as though he was going to try a wraparound.
Instead, he somehow saw Nick Bjugstad standing unattended at the right post. A behind-the-back pass from Kaprizov, Bjugstad had the puck on his stick with a half-empty cage in front of him.
Some quick hands later, and the puck was in the back of the net with Bjugstad’s fourth goal of the season and Kaprizov’s second assist of the period.
2. First in class.
The opening frame has been a tale of two periods for the Wild and Coyotes this season.
Minnesota entered the night with a plus-11 goal differential, making it the second-best team in the NHL in the opening frame, behind only Toronto.
Arizona started the night with a minus-11 goal differential, making it 28th of the 31 clubs in the League.
That trend continued in a big way on Friday as the Wild lit the lamp three times in the opening 20 and went to the first intermission up 3-0.
If not for a couple of big saves early in the first by Raanta, it might have been 4-0 or 5-0.
3. As goes Zuccy, so goes the Wild.
Entering play on Friday, Minnesota was 6-2-1 with Zuccarello in the lineup.
In those six wins, Zuccarello had 11 points. In the three losses, he had zero points.
Perhaps it’s no coincidence that Minnesota came up short in two games in Las Vegas as Zuccarello was held off the scoresheet. It won six-in-a-row before that, as Minnesota’s six-game winning streak shadowed Zuccarello’s career-long six-game point streak.
That had to make Wild fans happy to see Zuccarello score the game’s opening goal on Friday night off a nifty feed from Kaprizov. Zuccarello also assisted on Bjugstad’s goal for his fourth multi-point game in 10 overall this season.