CHICAGO (AP) Kirill Kaprizov had two goals and an assist, rookie Jesper Wallstedt made 24 saves in posting his first NHL shutout and the Minnesota Wild beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0 on Sunday.

Wallstedt, who gave up seven goals on 34 shots in his NHL debut at Dallas on Jan. 10, got the shutout in his first time back in net for the Wild. The Blackhawks were shut out for an NHL-high 13th time this season.

“It’s incredible,” said Wallstedt, called up from Iowa of the AHL on Saturday. “With 15 seconds left on the clock, it was, ‘OK, we’re doing this.’ Incredible to feel and see the work I’ve put in since Dallas, every single day since then, has really paid off. Definitely a better night today.”

The victory keeps Minnesota’s slim playoff hopes alive. It has 83 points with five games remaining. Vegas and Nashville, the top two wild-card teams in the Western Conference, entered Sunday with 92 points.

The Wild scored three goals in the second period. Kaprizov started the outburst on a power-play at 1:06 with a hard wrist shot from the right crease to hit the 40-goal mark for the third straight season.

Marco Rossi beat Blackhawks goaltender Arvid Soderblom for a 2-0 lead at 12:31, sneaking away from defenseman Nikita Zaitsev to one-time Mats Zuccarello’s pass. About six minutes later, Frederick Gaudreau stationed himself in the slot and tipped Zach Bogosian’s drive over Soderblom’s right shoulder.

“He played up to the talent we all know he has,” Gaudreau said of Wallstedt. “He seems really calm and composed. He makes saves that aren’t easy.”

Kaprizov added his second goal 8:10 into the final period, beating Soderblom, who made 33 saves.

Wallstedt, Minnesota’ first-round pick in the 2021 draft, had a relatively easy time in the net. Chicago’s best shot came from Alex Vlasic in the slot in the second period. He turned it back like a veteran.

“I thought he made a couple good saves early and settled in,” Wild coach John Hynes said. “We played better in front of him too. We didn’t give up a lot of odd-man rushes or easy looks.”

“I was faster to get into position and get set there,” Wallstedt said of his improvement since Dallas. “I think I’m stronger mentally, know what I need to do during the game to keep my mind fresh. I felt much more in control. It was much more fun today.”

Chicago coach Luke Richardson said the Wild had more energy than his team.

“They spent way too much time in our zone." he said. "Their good players, when they had the puck, were really good. A couple times we kicked it around (on offense) and once they got it, it was like a dog chasing its tail.”


Wild: at Colorado on Tuesday.

Chicago: at St. Louis on Wednesday.



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