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Game-winners galore: Wild’s Bjugstad making most of ice time


In his first season with the Minnesota Wild, Nick Bjugstad isn’t getting much ice time – but he’s making the most of it.

The Minneapolis native and former Golden Gopher is averaging just 12:33 of ice time in his 30 games. Only a handful of players on the Wild are averaging fewer minutes per game.

But Bjugstad is a plus-9 – tied for the fifth-best plus/minus on the team and second among centers, behind just Joel Eriksson Ek (+12).

On the season, Bjugstad has five goals and seven assists. His 12 points are tied for eighth on the Wild and he’s one of 10 Minnesota players with at least five goals.

When Bjugstad has lit the lamp, however, it’s often been a key goal.

Of his five goals, three are game winners, which is tied for the most on the team with Kevin Fiala. For those who are bad at math, that means 60% of his goals have resulted in winners. No player in Wild history has ever had a season with 5+ goals and had more than 50% be game winners.

In 2001-02, Wes Walz had 10 goals with five game winners, in 2019-10 Marek Zidlicky had three among his six goals as did Matt Moulson in 2013-14, and in 2019-20, Eriksson Ek potted four game winners among his eight tallies.

Being back home in Minnesota has agreed with Bjugstad. Four of his five goals (80%) have come at Xcel Energy Center.

Eriksson Ek is second at 72.7% of his goals at home (8 of 11) and Kirill Kaprizov third (7 of 10, 70%).

We can’t wait for fans to witness these goals in person. Soon enough, soon enough.

Other notes:

— Wednesday afternoon’s opponent, Anaheim, has scored 0 or 1 goal in 14 games this season, most such scoring droughts in the NHL. Four of those occasions have occurred against Minnesota.

–The Wild have won four straight games against the Ducks. Minnesota owns longer active winning streaks against just Ottawa (8) and Tampa Bay (5). The Wild have never won five in a row over Anaheim.

— Minnesota and Anaheim rank second and fifth in the NHL in blocked shots per game.  The Wild average 15.2 blocks per contest, their highest rate since 2017-18 (15.8). The Ducks average 14.5.

— Ryan Suter needs two points for 600 in his career. Suter, who has 91 goals, will be the first player in NHL history to reach 600 points without having 100 goals.

Statistics courtesy Sportradar and hockey-reference.com



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