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Wild Wrap Up Road Trip in Colorado

February 24, 2021, 11:34 AM ET [1 Comments]
Dan Wallace
Minnesota Wild Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Tonight the Wild take their season high three game winning streak to Colorado to face off against the Avalanche. Since returning from their COVID-19 hiatus the Wild have found their offense.

That offensive production of 14 goals over the three game win streak and 11 in the last two, has been highlighted by the return of Mats Zuccarello. Zuccarello had missed the entire first month of the season recovering from surgery to his arm to repair and old injury suffered when he was a member of the Dallas Stars back in 2019.

Zuccarello has looked very much like the player the Wild thought that they were getting when former GM, Paul Fenton, inked the veteran winger to a 5-year deal back in July of 2019. Zuccarello struggled in his first season with the Wild bouncing from line to line with seemingly no real fit. We would later find out that the lingering effects of the arm injury had a lot to do with his play on the ice.

With the Wild in need of playmakers to complement the goal scoring ability of Kevin Fiala and Kirill Kaprizov, Zuccarello is a welcome addition back into the lineup. Zuccarello has scored two goals and added five assists in the last three games and has established very strong chemistry in the last two games with Kaprizov and the resurgent, Victor Rask.

Rask himself has tallied goals in each of the last two Wild wins along with two helpers. Rask is taking full advantage of the opportunity that was afforded him as he drew back into the Wild lineup due to the injury to Marcus Johansson.

The Wild powerplay is very much a work in progress, but they have struck pay dirt once in each of the last two games improving their season pp percentage to 9%. To say the man advantage for the Wild has been absolutely dreadful, is quite the understatement. However small successes are something to build on.

The one glaring omission from the Wild score sheats has been Zach Parise. He is going through quite a funk and has been seen numerous times shaking his head after each failed scoring attempt. Zach is a pro and he continues to work to get into scoring position and get his chances. The goals have just been hard to come by for Parise to this point. Parise does have three assists in the last three Wild contests but is riding a nine game goal scoring drought, with just two goals scored to date.

Cam Talbot is expected back between the pipes for the Wild tonight, and in his absence, Kaapo Kahkonen has been solid and at some points spectacular filling in for Talbot. The Wild for the first time in seemingly forever may just have a solid 1 and 1A goalie tandem they can rely on night in and night out. That of course is critical ever more so this season with the condensed schedule made tighter with the postponements due to the Wild's Covid-19 outbreak.

Tonight is a much tougher test for the Wild as the Avalanche are not the Sharks or Ducks, as they have speed and skill to burn. A great test for sure to see if the Wild can answer the bell and compete with the Avalanche pace of play.

It's always Hockey Day in The State of Hockey!
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