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Red-hot Kraken to face Kirill Kaprizov, Wild

Sportsnaut
Oct 30, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA;  Minnesota Wild forward Kirill Kaprizov (97) skates against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Kirill Kaprizov had something to prove.

A night after being sent off in the second period with a match penalty for high-sticking Drew Doughty in a 1-0 loss at Los Angeles, the Minnesota Wild forward scored two power-play goals in a 4-1 victory Wednesday at Anaheim.

Kaprizov and the Wild will wrap up a three-games-in-four-days trip to the West Coast on Friday night in Seattle.

“He was motivated with everything that went on (Tuesday),” Wild coach Dean Evason said.

Kaprizov, who took a career-high nine shots on goal against the Ducks, has 10 goals in 13 games this season. It’s the second-fastest a Wild player has reached double-digits in franchise history, behind only Brian Rolston, who did it in 12 games in the 2006-07 season.

“He’s clearly one of the best players in the league,” Evason said of his 25-year-old forward, who tied for fifth in the NHL with 47 goals last season, his third. “He has the puck all the time.”

Matt Dumba and Joseph Cramarossa also scored, and Filip Gustavsson stopped 31 shots for his first win for the Wild.

Kaprizov’s power-play goal at 16:37 of the second period tied the score at 1-1 and ended the Wild’s goalless drought at 159 minutes, 45 seconds, a stretch that included a 4-0 loss to the Kraken last Thursday in Saint Paul, Minn.

“The whole group took a sigh,” Evason said. “When pucks aren’t going into the net and you are not feeling good, you need looks on the power play to get you going.

“We had a few more looks here (going 2 for 6 with the man advantage), it allowed us to feel good. Not only the guys on the ice but the guys on the bench feel that too.”

The Kraken have won five straight games, a franchise high. After defeating Pittsburgh at home, they swept a three-game trip to Calgary, Minnesota and Pittsburgh before opening a six-game homestand Tuesday with a 5-1 victory against Nashville, scoring four goals in the first period.

Jordan Eberle scored twice for Seattle, and Andre Burakovsky had a goal and two assists.

“I think the last couple games here during our five-game winning streak, we’ve been having good starts,” Burakovsky said. “I think that was a little bit of a problem earlier in the year where we came out a little bit sleeping, and we’ve been talking about it a lot. Now I think we were coming out hot. That sets the tone for sure.”

The Kraken have won two in a row at home to improve their record at Climate Pledge Arena to 3-3-1. They’re 5-1-1 on the road.

“Our road record’s been a lot better than at home and we have a bit of a stand here,” Eberle said. “So, to get the first one is obviously pretty big.”

But Eberle cautioned about getting too excited.

“I think the biggest thing for us right now is to not get too high here,” Eberle said. “I know we’ve won five in a row, but we have a big homestand, some really good teams that we’re about to play. A lot of times you get a little bit lackadaisical and think things are too easy, and that’s when this league gets you.”

Kraken goalie Martin Jones stopped 24 of 25 shots against Nashville to improve to 7-3-1 with a 2.45 goals-against average filling in for the injured Philipp Grubauer.

–Field Level Media