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Wild routs Canadiens as fourth line shines and Kaprizov hits 100 career points


The Wild’s fourth line doesn’t play the most minutes.

Connor Dewar, Brandon Duhaime and Nico Sturm aren’t on the power play, and many games their contributions are the steppingstones to highlights: A blocked shot, finished check or timely clear.

“Most nights there’s not a lot of glory in the kind of game that we play,” Sturm said.

But there was on Monday.

That line was at the helm of an 8-2 dismantling of the last-place Canadiens in front of 18,104 at Xcel Energy Center, combining for two goals and five points in the Wild’s third consecutive victory and sixth in the past seven games that tied the franchise record for goals in a season-high output.

“Our teammates appreciate that role that we play,” Sturm said, “and nights like [Monday], it feels good to be rewarded for that.”

BOXSCORE: Wild 8, Canadiens 2

Dewar potted his first NHL goal, Sturm recorded a career-high three points and nine players overall had at least two points.

Goaltender Cam Talbot made 14 stops in his first start since going out because of a lower-body injury at the Winter Classic, but didn’t play in the third period after tweaking that same injury. Kaapo Kahkonen had five stops in relief.

As for Kirill Kaprizov, he became the fastest in Wild history to record 100 career points (92 games) while Mats Zuccarello and Kevin Fiala are tied for the longest active point streak in the NHL.

“Everybody can play,” said Jordie Benn, who snagged his first goal with the Wild. “Everybody works hard. It’s a pretty special team here.”

After Montreal scored on its first shot when Mike Hoffman connected on a bouncing puck 1 minutes, 23 seconds into the first period, the Wild dominated, racking up a season-high 21 first-period shots while seizing the lead.

Captain Jared Spurgeon tied the score at 3:04 when his shot wove through traffic and behind goalie Cayden Primeau. Then Marcus Foligno buried a rebound at 9:22 for his third goal in as many games that set a new career high in points at 27.

In the second, the fourth line took over the scoring duties.

Dewar tallied his first goal on a slick play, skating the puck through the neutral zone before wiring in a shot from deep in the slot at 4:01.

“It was pretty surreal,” said Dewar, whose parents were at the game. “Supporting the puck with my linemates, put a puck on net and it went in.”

On the next shift, Sturm directed in a puck that was clipped by Dewar, giving Dewar his first career multipoint game only 22 seconds after Sturm assisted on Dewar’s goal.

“When I was down in Iowa two years ago, there were some nights when he wasn’t even in the lineup,” Sturm said of Dewar. “To see how far he’s come and how hard he’s worked, I couldn’t be happier for him. To be a part of that goal makes me proud.”

With 31 seconds left in the second, Zuccarello’s shot squeaked through Primeau to extend his career-long point streak to nine games. He has 16 points during that run, and his 38 points overall are the most he’s had in a season with the Wild. Zuccarello also became the second Wild player to register five consecutive multi-point games; Fiala previously accomplished the feat in 2019-20.

Both teams changed goalies for the third, with Michael McNiven making his NHL debut in place of Primeau, who exited with 27 saves. McNiven finished with four.

Like Talbot, Kahkonen couldn’t stop the first shot he faced, a puck off the stick of former Wild forward Rem Pitlick at 4:24.

After that, though, the Wild cruised, with Matt Boldy (6:04 on the power play), Benn (9:58) and Fiala (15:12) capitalizing. Fiala’s goal was his seventh during his nine-game point streak, which is tied for the longest in his career.

The Wild ended up 1-for-5 on the power play, and Montreal went 0-for-2.

With an assist on Boldy’s goal, Kaprizov became the fifth active player to reach 100 career points in 92 games or fewer; Alex Ovechkin (77), Sidney Crosby (80), Evgeni Malkin (89) and Connor McDavid (92) are the others.

What the Wild as a group is accomplishing lately also has a unique feel to it.

“If we want to get in that upper echelon of the league, that’s so important to be just a dominance where other teams know, ‘Oh, we’ve got to play Minnesota tonight. It’s not going to be a lot of fun,'” Sturm said. “That’s the team that we’re trying to be, and so far it’s working out pretty well.”



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