NHL: Wild’s Kirill Kaprizov looks to extend hot streaks vs. Oilers
Minnesota left winger Kirill Kaprizov will try to extend a nine-game point streak on Thursday night when the Wild face the Edmonton Oilers in Saint Paul, Minn.
Kaprizov has five goals and nine assists during the hot streak. He also has at least one assist in eight straight games, tying the franchise record set by Jim Dowd in the 2001-02 season.
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The 25-year-old Russian isn’t worried about the streak, though.
“To be honest, I don’t really think to think about that or criticize or talk about my game when it’s going well,” Kaprizov said through an interpreter. “I just kind of play and let the media you yourselves tell me if I’m doing better or not. I focus on my game and just doing the best I can.”
His teammates, however, are heaping praise on a player who has helped Minnesota win three of its past four games.
“There’s no pass that guy is not making through the seams,” forward Matt Boldy said. “You kind of see it unfold with how smart he is. Just walking down, he knows I’m there. I’ve got to be ready for it for sure.”
Edmonton is set to play the second of back-to-back games after defeating the host Chicago Blackhawks 5-4 on Wednesday evening. Leon Draisaitl led the Oilers with two goals and an assist, giving him six goals in his past six games.
Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Mattias Janmark each had a goal and an assist, and Stuart Skinner made 21 saves for the Oilers, who have won three straight and handed Chicago an eighth straight loss (0-7-1).
McDavid had another highlight-reel goal in the victory, completely burning a defender with a move in the neutral zone and speeding away for his 18th tally of the season early in the third period.
Edmonton led 4-1 midway through the final period but struggled to close the contest as Chicago scored three times the rest of the way. Draisaitl’s second goal of the night during that push, off assists from McDavid and Zach Hyman, ended up standing up as the winner.
McDavid leads the NHL with 41 points (18 goals, 23 assists) while Draisaitl is tied for second in the league with 36 points (15 goals, 21 assists). Both have played 23 games.
The Wild are well rested, as they have been off since earning a 4-3 win against the visiting Arizona Coyotes on Sunday.
Minnesota jumped to a 2-0 lead on goals by Kaprizov and Sam Steel (with an assist from Kaprizov) and led 4-1 before a late third-period surge by Arizona in the final 3:18 to make it a one-goal game.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 20 saves for Minnesota in the win and is expected to start against Edmonton as well.
For Edmonton, Jack Campbell likely will start on the second night of the back-to-back with the Oilers desperate for more consistent goaltending. Campbell has an .875 save percentage and a 4.04 goals-against average, and he has won just two of his past five starts.
Skinner got the call in net for the Oilers’ two victories this week, 4-3 in overtime against the Florida Panthers on Monday and then the tight triumph in Chicago on Wednesday.
–Field Level Media
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