Save the best for last, at least in terms of opponents on this Seattle Kraken four-game road trip. That would be the Minnesota Wild, one point ahead of the Dallas Stars in the NHL’s Central Division heading into Monday’s game, unbeaten in regulation in 18 of their last 19 games. Make that 19 of 20.
One of the reasons they’ve been so good has been goaltending. Both veteran Marc-Andre Fleury and 24-year-old Filip Gustavsson have been outstanding, especially Gustavsson. He of 61 career NHL games. He’s emerged as a star with a .932 save-percentage this season.
His goals against average (2.01) and that of “Flower” (2.85) also reflect the Wild’s ability to play a tight checking game with emphasis on the defensive elements.
Fleury got the nod against the Kraken with Philipp Grubauer donning the mask for Seattle at the other end.
Seattle skated into St. Paul 2-0-and-1 on the roadie thus far, coming off the 7-2 shelling of the Nashville Predators on Saturday. The Kraken could guarantee themselves a playoff spot by finishing the regular season 5-and-5 in their final ten games.
The Kraken would not take that next step in Minnesota as the Wild shmooshed the Kraken 5-1.
— Wild defenseman Jake Middleton opened the scoring with the lone goal of the 1st period at 15:17 with a wrist shot through a screen.
— Sniper Matt Boldy went top shelf to make it 2-0 Minnesota at 5:38 of the 2nd period on the power play. He’d score again with a sneaky wrister from the right wing circle through the Kraken D, off the far post and in, at 14:59.
— Seattle outshot the Wild 26-12 through two periods but couldn’t solve Fleury.
Kraken Goal Scorer:
5-1 Wild – Even Strength – Jaden Schwartz (18) from Morgan Geekie and Vince Dunn, 11:00
From along the right goal line, Schwartz banked a rebound chance in off the back of Fleury’s pad.
— Boldy converted the hat trick just 50-seconds into the 3rd period with a one-time slapper from the left wing circle after Joel Eriksson Ek stole a puck from Justin Schultz deep in the Seattle zone. Grubauer was replaced at this point by Martin Jones. Ryan Hartman would add a goal for the Wild at 10:21.
— The Kraken outshot the Wild for the game 36-20. Power plays: Seattle 0-for-3, Minnesota 1-for-3.
— Seattle returns home to Climate Pledge Arena to host the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night.