The highlight-reel goals from Wild superstar rookie Kirill Kaprizov are getting too bountiful to count at this point.
Yet on Friday night at Staples Center, the 23-year-old Russian might’ve produced his most jaw-dropping play to date.
With the Wild searching for a spark early in a game against the Los Angeles Kings on this particular night, Kaprizov dangled around Minnesota native Mikey Anderson with a filthy between-the-legs move, then effortlessly found the back of the net with a wrist shot.
If that wasn’t enough, Kaprizov added another goal later in the game, and the Wild went on to earn a 4-2 win over the Kings. Cam Talbot finished with 40 saves in the game en route to his fifth consecutive win between the pipes.
The final score won’t make sense to people simply analyzing the box score. For nearly 60 minutes of play, the Wild looked overmatched against the Kings. They were outshot a whopping 42-24 and seemed to lack energy up and down the ice.
That said, the Wild ultimately finished the advantage on the scoreboard thanks to Kaprizov. He put the team on his back a couple of times throughout the game and that proved to be the difference.
It was the latest heroic effort by Kaprizov as he continues to stake his claim at the Calder Trophy. The narrative has slightly shifted over the past couple of weeks with Dallas Stars rookie Jason Robertson inserting himself into the conversation.
It looks like Kaprizov used that as motivation. Though he’d ever admit it, Kaprizov has taken his game to the next level over the past week or so. He’s currently riding a four-game goal streak and now has 20 goals amid an impressive rookie campaign.
After a back-and-forth start to the first period, Kaprizov made it 1-0 in favor of the Wild with his latest highlight-reel goal. While that put the Wild in front, a mental lapse in the closing seconds of the first period allowed the Kings to tie the game at 1-1.
That paved the way for the second period where Kaprizov beat goaltender Cal Petersen again with a sniper to help the Wild stretch the lead back to 2-1. That was the only thing that went right for the Wild in the second period as the Kings applied constant pressured to no avail.
With the game hanging in the balance in the third period, Nico Sturm won a one-on-one battle in the crease and scored an insurance goal to make it 3-1. That proved to be a big goal for the Wild as Anze Kopitar helped the Kings cut the deficit to 3-2 late in the third period.
In the end, the Wild held on with Talbot making a couple of big saves down the stretch, and Joel Eriksson Ek netting the empty-netter to finalize the score at 4-2.