Wild superstar rookie Kirill Kaprizov has left very little up for debate this season. He’s the best rookie in franchise history and it’d be hard for anybody to argue with that at this point.
Heck, the only player that deserves to be mentioned in the same breath is Marian Gaborik, and Kaprizov passed him on Monday night at Gila River Arena to set a new franchise record for most points by a rookie. He has 37 points in 44 games this season. For perspective, Gaborik had 36 points in 71 games during his rookie campaign.
Fittingly, Kaprizov rewrote the record books with a highlight-reel goal. He finished off a tic-tac-toe sequence with a top-shelf snipe early in the game and the Wild rolled to a 5-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes.
That goal from Kaprizov served as the catalyst, with Jordan Greenway, Marcus Johansson, and Kevin Fiala also chipping in with a goal apiece. Not to be outdone, goaltender Cam Talbot made 22 saves to record another win.
It was a slow start for the Wild on this particular night as they went nearly 10 minutes without a shot on goal. They finally broke through midway through the first period when Kaprizov roofed a pinpoint pass from Nick Bonino on the power play.
That lead was shortlived as Coyotes pulled even later in the first period thanks to a goal from Christian Fischer. Though the goal from Fischer was technically unassisted in the box score, Ryan Suter did his part with an egregious turnover to set up the sequence.
That score held into the second period where the Wild started to runaway with the game. It started with a slam dunk from Greenway on the doorstep as he snapped a 21-game goal drought. It continued with a goal from Johansson later in the second period to increase the lead.
Not long after that, Marcus Foligno scored what looked to be the dagger, only to have the goal disallowed due to incidental contact. In a statement, the league ruled that Foligno “impaired goaltender Darcy Kuemper’s ability to play his position in the crease” before the puck crossed the goal line.
That left the door open for the Coyotes heading into the third period and former Gophers star Alex Goligoski promptly cut into the deficit with a shot from the point.
While it looked like the game might actually be close down the stretch, Fiala wired a wrist shot into the back of the net for some insurance later in the third period, and Brodin added an empty-net goal to finalize the score.