A spectator last season, Boldy is now a key figure in the Wild’s lineup
Matt Boldy has already made the playoffs with the Wild, having even participated in the warm-ups in the first round against the Golden Knights last year.
But now he’s gone one step further and pierced the composition.
“I’m obviously very excited,” Boldy said.
After previously being on standby in case the Wild needed him to replace an injury in this series against Vegas, the winger achieved a first on Monday night when he faced the Blues in Game 1 at the Xcel Energy Center and Boldy achieved that milestone as one of the NHL’s brightest rookies after an impressive introduction with the Wild.
“He’s obviously made great strides and progressed, not just physically but mentally,” the Wild coach said. Dean Evason mentioned. “He is a very calm, very calm and very mature person.”
As he became a regular in the Wild, filling an effective line with Kevin Fiala and Frederick GaudreauBoldy wasn’t with the Wild early in the season.
In fact, he wasn’t playing anywhere at the time, recovering from a broken ankle he suffered in a pre-season game.
After his ankle healed, Boldy moved to Iowa of the American Hockey League and played 10 games there from November to January before being invited to the NHL.
“Playing in Iowa was key,” Evason said. “We didn’t want to rush him here. He clearly has the skills that could have been here from day one, but he needed an opportunity to go play against men and fight and take the next step towards the National Hockey League.
Since joining the Wild, Boldy hasn’t looked out of place.
Not only did the Massachusetts native make an immediate impact on his debut, scoring the game-winning goal in front of his family on Jan. 6 in Boston, but he was a consistent contributor on offense. The 21-year-old has the longest point streak this season by an NHL rookie — a 10-game streak that also set a Wild rookie record.
Overall, Boldy had 15 goals and 24 assists for 39 points and his 0.83 ppg clip is the best among rookies who have played at least as many games as he (47).
If Boldy had recorded more action, he could have become the favorite for the Calder Trophy as the top rookie.
But unlike some of the other promising players in the league, Boldy is still playing.
This means he has a chance to gain another type of material.
“I’m just happy with how the year has gone so far,” Boldy said, “and I want it to continue.”
Boldy wasn’t the only Wild player to make his playoff debut Monday night.
The team had four rookies in the roster, with forwards Nicolas Deslauriers and Brandon Duhaime and defender Jake Middleton others.
“It was hard to sleep [Sunday] night just thinking about all the scenarios that could happen,” said Middleton, who like Deslauriers was traded to the Wild in the second half of the season. “But it’s something you’ve been dreaming about for some time to have this opportunity. So I’m excited.”
Despite closing the regular season with a few injuries, the Wild entered Game 1 with everyone available.
Winger Marcus Foligno played after being put down last Friday by the Avalanche team Kurtis MacDermidand winger Mats Zuccarello returned after suffering a lower body injury on April 22 and missing the following week of action. The team scraped forward Nick Bjugstad and Connor Dewar with the defenders Jordie Benn and Alex Goligoski.
In net, the Wild tab Marc-Andre Fleury after acquiring the three-time Stanley Cup champion from the Blackhawks before the NHL trade deadline on March 21.
St. Louis winger Ivan Barbaschev had a penalty shot on Fleury in the first period after being hacked on a shorthanded break by the Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin.
Barbashev missed the shot, the first penalty shot Fleury has faced in 116 playoff games.
It was the second penalty shot in the playoffs against the Wild. Ryan Smith of Colorado failed his attempt in 2008.
Fleury’s 16 consecutive playoff appearances are the most for a goaltender in NHL history. It was his first game against the Blues with the Wild; Cam Talbot faced St. Louis in all three regular season matchups.
“It’s not a difficult decision, is it?” Evason talked about the team’s goalie. “It’s an easy decision because we think both are more than capable of starting for us here. We’re delighted to have the opportunity to have both guys available if we need them, and we will. most likely.”