There were many key contributors in Minnesota Wild’s huge Game 1 shutout victory last night. You could argue that Jared Spurgeon was the MVP with his huge power play goal in the second period. And don’t forget his empty-netter to seal the win. Others might say Alex Stalock was the MVP for turning away the Canucks’ attempts at the net all night long. However, my pick for MVPs go to Marcus Foligno and Ryan Hartman, who were integral in the game 1 win.
Marcus Foligno set the tone from the beginning of the game, and also before the game even started. In his daily diary with The Athletic, Foligno told Michael Russo that the Wild needed to be aggressors early on. And he took it upon himself to make it even more known to the Canucks in the early going.
“I watched the games today, especially the Rangers and Carolina. Carolina was the team that came out guns blazing, and they really took advantage. They scored early and had some hits and they also had a fight, and that’s what our mentality has to be. The team that dips their toe in is probably going to be the team that’s going to be heading out the door in a week.”Marcus Foligno via The Athletic
Foligno’s hit on Ferland clearly lit a spark for the Wild early. Though both players were promptly sent to the penalty box, it led to a Wild powerplay. Kevin Fiala took advantage of that opportunity to give the Wild the early 1-0 lead.
HARTMAN HITS HARD
One of the most remarkable things about last night also was how absent the top two lines for the Canucks were. They are normally very good at creating chances, but only were able to manuafacture five total shots. The Wild deployed their 4th line helped to shut down the Canucks’ attack.
The most impressive effort from that line came from Hartman. Throughout the last two periods in particular, was everywhere on the ice. Hartman was effective in frustrating the Ferland line and made it difficult for Vancouver to create many chances at all. Hartman also managed to draw two power plays for the Wild in the third period, which allowed them to pull away.
It seems like the Wild now have a leg up on the Canucks in this series. If they hope to win more games, it will again require a group effort and some unlikely stars to make that happen.
Ameer Eldomiatti | Minnesota Sports Fan