After a couple of slow starts in a row, the Wild wanted to get out quickly against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.
Maybe that explains why Marcus Foligno pretty much dropped the gloves as soon as the puck fell at the Xcel Energy Center.
While the fight didn’t magically help the Wild score more goals, they undoubtedly followed suit with their best opening in the 20 minutes of the season, scooping an important 5-3 win over the Kings.
The Wild lost briefly and improved to 5: 3: 0 in a huge series against rivals Colorado Avalanche.
A few minutes after Foligno’s fight, Marcus Johansson scored the 1-0 in favor of Wild by wiring a puck into the back of the net. It was a release for Johansson after completely botching a strange rush about 30 seconds earlier.
That opened the floodgates and Kevin Fiala made it 2-0 later in that time with an incredible individual effort. He started the sequence with a sell-out to block a shot with goalkeeper Kaapo Kahkonen from his crease. Then he ran in the other direction and hit goalkeeper Jonathan Quick in the wrist with one shot.
Kirill Kaprizov made it 3-0 in the first half after Johansson found him with a highlight pass in front of him. While Johansson’s pass was worth the SportsCenter, the fact that Kaprizov was capitalizing on it cannot be overstated. That wasn’t always a guarantee of the wilderness in the past.
That was surely big enough for the wilderness to breathe calmly the rest of the way, right? Not quite.
The wilderness began the second period with a parade to the penalty area. That came back to bite them when Dustin Brown scored a greasy goal to help the Kings cut the deficit to 3-1.
This undisciplined game from the wilds resumed a few minutes later when Fiala Matt Roy rode the boards dangerously face first. He was correctly called to board and after a very brief video review was kicked out of the game. In the following power game, the Kings reduced the deficit with a goal from Drew Doughty to 3-2.
With the game in danger of getting away from them, the Wild eventually calmed down thanks to some big saves by Kahkonen between the pipes – nothing more important than his rejection of Blake Lizotte late in the second period.
That was the turning point in the game, and less than 90 seconds into the save, Nick Bjugstad scored a huge goal for Wild to extend the lead to 4-2.
This paved the way for the third period in which Joel Eriksson Ek continued his hot start aiming to score 5-2. He has five goals at team level this season and doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
That put the game in the driver’s seat and while Alex Iafallo scored 5-3 in the middle of the third half, it was nowhere near enough.
On the subject of matching items
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