SEATTLE KRAKEN

Wild beat Kraken 5-1 behind Boldy’s 2nd hat trick in 8 days

Mar 27, 2023, 8:30 PM

Kraken Wild...

Minnesota Wild LW Matt Boldy,celebrates after scoring against the Kraken on March 27, 2023. (AP Photo/Craig Lassig)

(AP Photo/Craig Lassig)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Matt Boldy had his second hat trick in the last five games for Minnesota, Marc-Andre Fleury made 35 saves, and the surging Wild beat the Seattle Kraken 5-1 on Monday night.

Wild 5, Kraken 1: Stats

Jake Middleton had a rare goal, Ryan Hartman scored late and Jared Spurgeon, Marcus Johansson and Joel Eriksson Ek each had two assists as the Wild stayed in first place in the Central Division. They took a one-point lead on both Colorado and Dallas into the day, with a critical road game against the Avalanche coming next on the schedule.

Boldy is a big reason why the Wild are in the lead, with 11 goals in the nine games they’ve played since superstar Kirill Kaprizov was sidelined by a lower-body injury. The Wild are 6-1-2 without Kaprizov, who’s still 10th in the NHL with 39 goals.

Jaden Schwartz ended Fleury’s shutout bid with 9 minutes left, scoring on a bouncing rebound that banked in off the goalie and into the net.

The Kraken, who wrapped up a four-game road swing with their first regulation loss on the trip, control the first wild card spot in the Western Conference. They lead Winnipeg by three points, having already set the NHL record for the biggest second-year improvement — 28 points and counting — by an expansion club since the Original Six era ended in 1967.

Boldy, who turns 22 next week, is second on the team with 28 goals. His last hat trick came in a 5-3 win over Washington just eight days ago.

The 2019 first-round draft pick flashed a wide grin when he notched the natural hat trick 50 seconds into the third period, prompting a shower of ballcaps onto the ice and an exit for Kraken goalie Philipp Grubauer. The fans were fired up for this potential preview of a first-round playoff series, chanting Fleury’s name a few minutes later after a sliding pad save to deny another prime scoring opportunity.

The Wild were outshot 36-20 by the Kraken and had only five on-target attempts in the first period, bailed out time after time by Fleury during a sluggish start. Middleton created a spark after Spurgeon faked a slap shot, passed the puck to his left and set up his blue-line partner for just his seventh career goal in 151 games in the NHL.

Boldy brought a lagging power play to life with his first goal off the setup from Johansson, the first time the Wild scored on the man advantage in five games. They were on a 3-for-22 skid until then.

Boldy, who has 17 points in 13 games this month since Johansson — the former Kraken left wing — was acquired in a trade with the Capitals and placed on his line, sneaked his second goal through traffic with 5:01 remaining in the second period.

Fleury is 4-1-1 against in two seasons against the Kraken. He beat them 1-0 in Seattle on Nov. 11.

The Wild are 16-2-5 since a Feb. 9 loss to Vegas. They’ve got two games against the Golden Knights, who have the best record in the Western Conference, in the next week.

UP NEXT

Kraken: Host Anaheim on Thursday night, starting a three-game homestand.

Wild: Visit Colorado on Wednesday night, their first game in Denver this season. The Avalanche won both matchups in Minnesota.

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