Tale of Kaprizov – that’s it! Minnesota is not yet worthy of its Russian star
Another 19 Kirills at the Wild could not be found.
The confrontation between Minnesota and St. Louis promised to be the hottest in the first round of the Stanley Cup in the West – both teams had a powerful (and finished) regular season. And although the “bluesmen” looked a little more preferable due to more experience, the “savages” who had grown significantly stronger over the past couple of years were able to impose a fight on the champions of 2019.
One way or another, the matches themselves turned out to be rather one-sided – the first three meetings ended with the advantage of the winning team (first it was St. Louis, then Minnesota twice in a row) by four goals, after which the Blues beat the Wild twice with the same score 5:2.
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Of the last four goals of the “savages”, three were at once on the account of one player – Kirill Kaprizov. The Russian had a fantastic regular season, rewriting the Minnesota personal record book, and, unlike the previous playoffs, where he didn’t really have a series with Vegas, he continued to work wonders in the Stanley Cup.
In fact, Kaprizov was the main and, perhaps, the only driving force behind the Wild after two victorious games, which was also acknowledged by the Savage mentor Dean Evason at a press conference after the fifth game, which put Minnesota on the brink of relegation: “Kaprizov is incredible . We are not surprised, we expect this from him. This guy plows like a horse. Even without talking about goals, he wants to win, he tries for the sake of the team. Only there are not enough guys next to him who would try with him. If we had 20 Capricious, we would have fought better, ”concluded Evason.
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The Wild head coach couldn’t find 19 more Capricious before the opening face-off of Game 6, so he had to come up with something else. For example, he first released Cam Talbot instead of Marc-Andre Fleury. However, as it turned out later, this did little to help the “savages”.
“St. Louis” opened the scoring five minutes before the first break – “bluesmen” made only four shots in the starting period, and one of them – from Nick Leddy – was embodied in a goal. Well, in the second twenty-minute period, when the hosts increased their shooting activity, Minnesota had no chance at all – O’Reilly, Bozak and Tarasenko forced Talbot to take the puck out of their own net three times in nine game minutes.
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Needless to say, the “savages” could not win back four goals? Only one goal was enough for the guests, which turned out to be unique to some extent. All three main characters in it were defenders – after the transfers of Kulikov and Merrill, who returned to the Wild, Damba scored with an accurate throw. But the last word still turned out to be for the Blues – Pareiko, with a goal into an empty net, put an end to the match and the entire series.
5-1 and 4-2 – St. Louis passes Minnesota and goes to the second round of the Stanley Cup, where they will try to take revenge on Colorado for a 0-4 loss last year. For the “savages”, the season is over – just like the fairy tale is over for Kirill Kaprizov, who in a few months will go in pursuit of new records. The Wild, on the other hand, should spend this time figuring out how to help Kirill – while the Minnesota turned out to be unworthy of their main star.