Fiala gets 2 goals to help Wild halt slide, beat Rangers 5-2

Mar 8, 2022, 5:38 AM | Updated: 8:53 pm
New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (93) and Minnesota Wild left wing Jordan Greenway (18) vie f...

New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (93) and Minnesota Wild left wing Jordan Greenway (18) vie for the puck during the third period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, March 8, 2022, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)

(AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — With the Minnesota Wild mired in a severe slump, players might have preferred a mental break.

They asked for an intense practice instead of a day off. The result was a much-needed win.

Kevin Fiala scored twice in the second period to help the Wild pull away, and Marcus Foligno added a goal and two assists in a 5-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Tuesday night.

“We just wanted to come in and work. We’ve been in the league a long time. These little ups and downs that you go through, you need to do that,” said Foligno, the alternate captain who was in the conversation with coach Dean Evason on Monday about the desire for a crisp workout.

Ryan Hartman and Joel Eriksson Ek also scored for the Wild, who broke a three-game home losing streak and won for only the third time in their last 11 games. All-Star Cam Talbot stopped 23 shots for his third win at home in more than three months. He gave up 21 goals in his previous five starts.

“We’ve got a lot left, so hopefully we’ve caught something and we can go forward,” Evason said.

Dryden Hunt and Mika Zibanejad scored for the Rangers, whose three-game winning streak was stopped. They’re still 8-3-1 in their last 12 games.

“The other team was hungry. We knew they were not having the best record lately, and they just came out strong,” Georgiev said.

The Wild, who have a league-most 17 home games remaining, needed a win in the worst way after allowing 49 goals over their previous 10 contests. They moved within two points of second-place St. Louis in the Central Division and are one point ahead of Nashville and two points up on Dallas, with a game in hand on the Blues, Predators and Stars.

With the Rangers resting goalie Igor Shesterkin, the Wild put backup Alexander Georgiev through the wringer. After Kirill Kaprizov’s drop pass set up Hartman midway through the first period for his 23rd goal of the season, Eriksson Ek followed with his tip-in of Foligno’s shot about four minutes later for the 2-0 lead. The Wild won nine of 11 faceoffs in the first period.

“We did some good things, but I thought they were a little more desperate,” Rangers center Ryan Strome said.

Zibanejad scored unassisted and short-handed after pilfering the puck from his former teammate Mats Zuccarello before the midpoint of the second period, and the Wild felt Zibanejad was guilty of hooking. They shook that off with the kind of force and confidence they’ve been lacking lately.

Fiala finished off that power play with the tiebreaking goal, celebrating with rookie Matt Boldy by screaming in each other’s faces and embracing in a bear hug. Then Foligno, fed by a textbook stretch pass from defenseman Matt Dumba, used a deke at the edge of the crease to beat Georgiev for his 19th goal of the season.

Fiala then hit the 20-goal mark for the third straight year by controlling a bouncing pass from Zuccarello — who notched his 40th assist — and flicking a shot above Georgiev’s glove. Georgiev made 23 saves.

The Rangers, who entered the game with the second-best goals-against average in the league, remained in a second-place tie with Pittsburgh in the Metropolitan Division with 77 points. They have one game in hand on the Penguins.


Evason reassembled the familiar second line with Eriksson Ek centering Foligno and Jordan Greenway, and the trio combined for five points. Eriksson Ek went the previous seven games without a point. Foligno had one goal and no assists in the last 12 games.

“It was one step in the right direction. We have to do it over and over and over and over again,” Eriksson Ek said.


The Rangers put all three of their Minnesota natives — center Jonny Brodzinski and defensemen Ryan Lindgren and K’Andre Miller — in the starting lineup. Brodzinski and Wild right wing Nick Bjugstad were teammates at Blaine High School, about 25 miles northeast of Xcel Energy Center.


Rangers: Zibanejad has seven goals and nine assists in his last 14 games. … Artemi Panarin had an assist and has 18 points in 17 career games against the Wild.

Wild: Hartman has four goals in the last four games after going eight games in a row without scoring. … Kaprizov has 18 points in his last 13 games.


Rangers: At St. Louis on Thursday.

Wild: At Detroit on Thursday.


More AP NHL: and

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Washington Wizards players including Rui Hachimura, center, and Isaiah Todd (14) work out in Tokyo,...
Associated Press

Warriors-Wizards games in Japan to woo NBA fans, sponsors

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese basketball fans will get to see NBA stars up close when the reigning league-champion Golden State Warriors take on the Washington Wizards in two preseason games. Not surprisingly, Stephen Curry and Japanese-born Rui Hachimura will be the star attractions for each team. And as clearly as the logo of Japanese online […]
1 day ago
New York Yankees' Aaron Judge celebrates his 61st home run of the season, a two-run shot against th...
Associated Press

Maris Jr: Bonds, McGwire illegitimate, Judge to be HR king

TORONTO (AP) — Roger Maris Jr. considers the home run feats of Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa to be illegitimate and says Aaron Judge should be recognized as the holder of the big league season standard if the New York Yankees slugger hits No. 62. “He should be revered for being the actual […]
1 day ago
San Diego Padres' Manny Machado, right, jokes with Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Gavin Lux (9)...
Associated Press

Freeman has RBI single in 10th, gives Dodgers 107th win

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Freddie Freeman helped the Atlanta Braves win the World Series last year and on Wednesday night he helped the Los Angeles Dodgers set the franchise season record with their 107th victory. Freeman singled in Mookie Betts with one out in the 10th inning and the Dodgers beat the San Diego Padres […]
1 day ago
New York Yankees' Aaron Judge hugs his mother, Patty Judge, after the team's baseball game against ...
Associated Press

Fans miss 61 HR ball, Jays bullpen coach gets it to Judge

TORONTO (AP) — When Aaron Judge’s American League record-tying 61st home run dropped into Toronto’s bullpen, coach Matt Buschmann picked it up. “Bad news is I’m down here in Florida battling a hurricane, but the good news is I can announce my retirement,” tweeted Buschmann’s wife, Sara Walsh, a Fox Sports reporter and former ESPN […]
1 day ago
Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Michael Lorenzen throws to an Oakland Athletics batter during t...
Associated Press

Trout hits 38th homer, Lorenzen sharp as Angels beat A’s 4-1

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Mike Trout hit his 38th home run, Michael Lorenzen went five strong innings and the Los Angeles Angels continued their success against the Oakland Athletics with a 4-1 victory on Wednesday night. Taylor Ward also homered, while Lorenzen (8-6) gave up an unearned run to lower his ERA to 0.45 against […]
1 day ago
San Francisco Giants' Joc Pederson watches his two-run triple against the Colorado Rockies during t...
Associated Press

Giants beat Rockies 6-3 to keep slim playoff hopes alive

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Joc Pederson had a two-run triple and the San Francisco Giants beat the Colorado Rockies 6-3 on Wednesday night to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Mike Yastrzemski, Brandon Crawford and Ford Proctor also drove in runs to help San Francisco beat Colorado for the seventh straight time. The Giants have […]
1 day ago
Fiala gets 2 goals to help Wild halt slide, beat Rangers 5-2