Matt Boldy scores second hat trick in five games as Wild rout Seattle 5-1

Sarah McLellan, Star Tribune on

Published in Hockey

MINNEAPOLIS — One down, eight to go.

After recently moving into the top spot in the Central Division, the Wild held onto that address by routing the Kraken 5-1 on Monday at Xcel Energy Center in a potential first-round matchup.

Matt Boldy scored his second hat trick in five games, while captain Jared Spurgeon, Marcus Johansson and Joel Eriksson Ek netted two assists apiece. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 35 shots.

The Wild are now 15-1-4 since Feb. 17 to pocket a league-best 34 points.

If the standings in the Western Conference don't change the rest of the way, the Wild as the Central Division leader would host the first wild card seed in the Kraken.

Seattle has assembled one of the NHL's feel-good turnarounds, with the Kraken becoming a playoff contender in just their second season after debuting as an expansion club in 2021.

They showcased their strengths early, peppering the Wild with shots that sometimes required quick-reacting, acrobatic saves from Fleury. In all, he made 13 saves in the first period alone and although the Wild didn't register even half that quantity, they exited the period with a 1-0 lead thanks to a glove-side shot from Jake Middleton at 15 minutes, 17 seconds. The goal lifted Middleton to 15 points on the season, a career high, and he became the Wild's 16th different scorer over the nine games the team has played without the injured Kirill Kaprizov.

Setting the tone for the Wild's offense since Kaprizov got hurt is Boldy, and he took over in the second.

First, he ignited the power play from a 1-for-14 slump at 5:38 after accepting a seam pass from Johansson and skating inside for the blistering shot that's been headlining his recent tear.


Overall, the power play went 1-for-3 while the Kraken finished 0-for-3.

Then with 5:01 to go in the period, Boldy scooped up a Joel Eriksson Ek faceoff win, curled away from pressure and banked a shot off the far post and behind Seattle goaltender Philipp Grubauer.

This was Boldy's sixth multi-goal game of the season and third in the past five games, but he wasn't done scoring.

Just 50 seconds into the third period, he rang another shot another shot off the post to seal his third career hat trick and first natural hat trick. That's tied with Zach Parise for the second-most in Wild history behind only Marian Gaborik's nine; since 2000-01, only five NHLers have registered more hat tricks before turning 22 than Boldy.

Going back to March 11, the Wild's first game without Kaprizov, Boldy has 11 goals, which is the most in the NHL. He's only the fourth Wild player with at least that many goals in a month. The winger is two goals shy of 30.

Boldy ended up tallying his three goals on three shots to epitomize how economical the Wild were; their four finishes overall came on just 13 shots, which is how many the Kraken had in each of the first two periods.

Grubauer was replaced by Martin Jones after Boldy's hat trick, leaving with nine saves. Jones had six stops in relief, getting eluded glove-side by Ryan Hartman at 10:21.

Seattle spoiled Fleury's shutout bid 39 seconds later when Jaden Schwartz pinballed a shot into the Wild net off Fleury.

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