Before the 2019-20 NHL season was paused back in March the Minnesota Wild were one of the hotter teams in the Western Conference and making a furious push for a playoff spot.
One of the driving forces behind that late season surge was the play of goaltender Alex Stalock.
He picked up where he left off on Sunday night by stopping all 28 shots he faced in a 3-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks in Game 1 of their qualifying round series.
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Stalock’s continued great play was not the only factor in the Wild’s win. Let’s take a look at a few other observations from Sunday’s game.
Kevin Fiala stayed hot for Minnesota
This has turned out to be the best move that former general manager Paul Fenton made in his brief tenure with the Wild.
Fiala emerged this season as one of the Wild’s go-to offensive players (leading the team with 54 points) and had scored 14 goals in his final 14 regular season games. He opened the scoring on Sunday night with a power play goal early in the first period.
The always underrated Jared Spurgeon
Spurgeon has been one of the league’s most overlooked and underrated defenders for quite a while now, but everyone in Minnesota knows exactly how good he is.
The rest of the NHL received a great look at it on Sunday.
Spurgeon finished Sunday’s game with three points (two goals and an assist) and four blocked shots in 23 minutes of ice-time.
After assisting on Fiala’s goal early in the first period, Spurgeon added a power play goal of his own in the second period and then added the final insurance marker with an empty-net goal late in the third period.
Micheal Ferland had an eventful night
Not even two minutes into the game Ferland dropped the gloves with Minnesota’s Marcus Foligno.
Later in the game, he had another encounter with the Wild when Luke Kunin held onto his stick from the bench, resulting in Ferland spearing Minnesota’s Ryan Hartman.
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.