Fleury stays unbeaten with Wild with 3-1 win over Hurricanes
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Marc-Andre Fleury has been getting the job done in a brief time since joining the Minnesota Wild. Kirill Kaprizov has been putting it together all season long.
That combination surfaced in a big way as the Wild beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1 on Saturday night.
Fleury made 37 saves to stay unbeaten in less than two weeks with his new team and Kaprizov set a franchise record for points in a season.
Mats Zuccarello and Kaprizov each had a goal and an assist for the Wild, who won for the eighth time in their last nine games and extended their points streak to nine games. Dmitry Kulikov also scored.
Fleury is 3-0-0 since he was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks. He has stopped 92 of 96 shots in those games.
“It’s still a work in progress,” Fleury said of gaining comfort with the Wild. “It’s not going to happen overnight.”
Fleury was closing in on his first shutout with Minnesota until Carolina’s Teuvo Teravainen scored with 6:19 to play. Ultimately, Fleury was too good.
“There’s a reason why he’s going to be a Hall of Famer,” said Carolina defenseman Ian Cole, who was a teammate of Fleury’s when they played for Pittsburgh. “It’s tough to beat him. They didn’t have a ton of chances and they capitalized on their chances. We had more chances and only capitalized on one.”
Fleury was in his first road start with the Wild, who have the NHL’s longest active points streak.
“There were times when we relied a little bit too much on our goaltender,” Minnesota coach Dean Evason said.
Kaprizov upped his points total to 85 (39 goals, 46 assists) after entering the game tied with Marian Gaborik from the 2007-08 season.
Kaprizov said there’s no time to celebrate the accomplishment because there’s another game Sunday.
“We have to focus right away,” Kaprizov said. “Be the best you can be every night.”
The Hurricanes had a six-game points streak end. They last failed to notch a point in 2-0 home loss to the New York Rangers on March 20.
Frederik Andersen stopped 16 shots, but the Hurricanes lost in regulation for just the sixth time in 35 home games (25-6-4).
“Most games it’s really hard to win if you just have one (goal),” Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal said.
Zuccarello scored for the first time in 10 games on a power-play blast at 10:20 of the first period.
“Sometimes you get the bounces and sometimes you don’t,” Zuccarello said. “We’ve got the good bounces as of late.”
The Wild improved to 35-3-6 when scoring first.
“It was good to get the lead,” Fleury said. “I thought our guys were good at blocking shots.”
Kulikov’s goal came just six seconds after he exited the penalty box. He took Tyson Jost’s pass and peppered the puck through Andersen at 4:10 of the second period. That was Kulikov’s fifth goal of the season, but the defenseman’s first since Feb. 16.
Kaprizov’s goal came at 7:24 of the third. He has a six-game goals streak as the Wild began a four-game road trip with a strong performance.
Minnesota had a couple of lineup changes based on injuries.
Defenseman Jon Merrill didn’t make the trip after exiting Thursday night’s matchup with Pittsburgh with an upper-body injury. Alex Goligoski rejoined the lineup.
Left winger Matt Boldy had played every game since the 2019 first-round draft choice made his NHL debut Jan. 6 at Boston. He’s banged up and was replaced in the lineup by center Nick Bjugstad, who made his first appearance since March 16.
Wild: At Washington on Sunday.
Hurricanes: At Buffalo on Tuesday to begin a home-and-home set.
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