Filip Gustavsson Tosses 41-Save Shutout in Wild Opening Night Win vs Panthers

NHL: Florida Panthers at Minnesota Wild
Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Wild began their 2023-24 season on Thursday night at the Xcel Energy Center vs the 2022 Eastern Conference regular season champion, Florida Panthers. The evening was a rousing 2-0 opening night success, thanks to goaltender, Filip Gustavsson.

Filip Gustavsson stands on his head with opening night shutout

Related: Minnesota Wild Name Kirill Kaprizov Alternate Captain

Gustavsson, who enters his first season as the Wild’s undisputed #1 goalie, ahead of future hall of famer, Marc-Andre Fleury, couldn’t have began his season any better, pitching a 41-save shutout. Talk about being thrown into the fire and coming out unharmed…

While the story of the night was Filip Gustavsson, he wasn’t the Wild’s only hero at the, Thursday. Minnesota’s offense didn’t control play, by any means, and were outshot by the Panthers 41-21. But shots only count when they go in the net and that only happened twice, in 61 total attempts on goal. Both times, it was Minnesota lighting the lamp.

Brock Faber has big night for Minnesota Wild

In the first period, the rookie defenseman out of Dinkytown, Brock Faber, scored the first goal of his young career and the Wild’s first of the season. Faber has been paired with Jonas Brodin — longtime linemate of now Arizona Coyote, Matt Dumba — to start the season.

Head Coach, Dean Evason, and President of Hockey Operations, Bill Guerin, are going to entrust the newly-turned 21-year-old with a lot of minutes over the next 81 games. On Thursday, in game 1 of 82, he logged 21:33 of ice time, the most of any Minnesota Wild player.

Joel Eriksson Ek also notched his first goal of the season, a beautiful rebound that he had to pull from his forehand to backhand, before flicking it past Florida’s goalie.

Nobody likes to point out preseason success but the Wild have now parlayed their 5-1-0 preseason record with a 1-0-0 start to the regular season. For a team that doesn’t have a lot of expectations entering 2023-24, Guerin & Co seem to have a very hungry, confident early-season locker room.

Related: Dean Evason Hot Seat Check: 6 Questions for Minnesota Wild Entering 2023-24

All aboard the Gus Bus

Winning on opening night is easier when your goalie stands on his head and pitches a gem. It’s funny, because the Wild’s social media push, leading into the season, has been focused on Gustavsson. That includes a video they released on Wednesday (eve of opener) that is as genius as any 2000’s Minnesota Twins commercial. And that’s saying something.

It’s almost like the Minnesota Wild know what kind of season Gus Bus is about to give them. And if Thursday night was any indication, it’ll be a damn good one. And if not, and this blog looks silly two weeks from now, at least the Wild were able to give us a shot of dopamine, after the Twins crushed our playoff dreams on Wednesday.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

Mentioned in this article:

More About: