Kirill Kaprizov aims to continue his goal-scoring ways on Saturday night when the Minnesota Wild host the reeling Arizona Coyotes in St. Paul, Minn.
Kaprizov capped Minnesota’s three-goal uprising in the third period by scoring into an empty net to seal its 3-1 win over the New York Islanders on Thursday. The 25-year-old Russian’s fifth goal in as many games boosted his team-leading totals in goals (25) and points (51) on the season, and also helped snap the Wild’s three-game winless skid (0-1-2).
“We challenged them. They challenged themselves,” Minnesota coach Dean Evason said. “Like we said this morning, two (were) in overtime and one was a shootout, but they’re still losses. (It’s) still three losses in a row. So, yeah, there was some urgency in our game.”
There has been urgency in Kaprizov’s game from the start of his NHL career. The 2020-21 Calder Memorial Trophy recipient has 99 goals and 210 points in just 177 career games with the Wild.
Kaprizov also briefly held the team lead in assists on the season with 26 after setting up Sam Steel’s eventual game-winning goal. Mats Zuccarello, however, pulled even with Kaprizov after setting up the latter’s empty-net goal.
Kaprizov has tormented the Coyotes in his brief NHL career, recording 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) in 12 games. He collected a goal and two assists in Minnesota’s 4-3 win over Arizona on Nov. 27.
Steel, who also scored in that contest, has 13 points (two goals, 11 assists) in his last 13 games. He is one point shy of matching his career high of 22, set in 2019-20.
Filip Gustavsson made 19 saves to improve to 9-2-0 with a 1.64 goals-against average, .939 save percentage and one shutout in his last 11 starts.
While Minnesota is bidding to build a winning streak, Arizona is aiming to snap a season-high seven-game losing skid after dropping a 5-3 decision to the Ottawa Senators on Thursday. The Coyotes have been outscored 31-14 during their recent run.
“We’re going through a tough stretch right now, and we’ve got to crack it,” Lawson Crouse said. “It’s frustrating going through this right now, no one’s happy about it.”
Crouse was happy when he scored his team-leading 15th goal of the season on Thursday. He also tallied in the previous encounter versus the Wild.
Dylan Guenther collected a goal and an assist against Ottawa. The goal was the 19-year-old’s first in three games since returning to the NHL after helping his native Canada capture the gold medal in the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship.
“I’m just trying to use that momentum from the World Juniors, play with a little more confidence,” Guenther said. “You go there, you touch the puck more, play in more situations, and I’m coming back and trying to play like that here.”
Barrett Hayton has scored a goal in each of his last three games for the Coyotes. He has nine points (four goals, five assists) in his last eight games.
–Field Level Media