Matt Boldy nets hat trick for Wild in bounceback win over Capitals

The sweat on Matt Boldy’s brow hadn’t even dried in the immediate aftermath of the loss to the Boston Bruins when he declared he already was looking forward to the matchup with the Washington Capitals less than 24 hours later.

“It’s nice to play really quick after a loss,” Boldy said on Saturday afternoon. “It’ll be nice to come back and play tomorrow.”

The motivation was palpable on Sunday afternoon as Boldy netted a hat trick to pace the Wild to a 5-3 win over the Capitals at Xcel Energy Center.

The performance from Boldy was the latest in an impressive run that has coincided with the Wild’s trade for Marcus Johansson. Since general manager Bill Guerin acquired Johansson on Feb. 28 — in a move that flew under the radar amid the usual trade deadline clatter — Boldy has been a completely different player.

He has six goals and five assists in that span and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Asked earlier this week about building chemistry with Johansson so quickly, Boldy noted how much they complement each other.

“He plays so fast and skates so effortlessly and makes so many plays,” Boldy said. “It’s the type of guy that I like to play with, where I give the puck to him and he’s looking back to me.”

That scenario played out a couple of times on Sunday afternoon as Boldy scored after Johansson set him up.

His first goal Sunday came after an initial shot from Johansson. His second goal came after a give-and-go with Johansson. His third goal, well, he did that all by himself with a perfectly placed shot on a breakaway in the final minutes.

Not bad for a player coach Dean Evason has been begging to shoot more.

“Almost looked like he was trying to throw it through the net,” Evason said. “That’s what we need him to do.”

It was a fast start for the Wild as they went up 1-0 exactly 50 seconds into the first period when Boldy cleaned up a rebound in front. Not long after that, Boldy stretched the lead to 2-0, finishing off a pretty passing sequence with Johansson in close.

“He puts me in spots where I have to shoot it,” Boldy said. “There’s really no option, because he’s just so good at finding space and finding areas to put pucks and stuff like that.”

Asked about the chemistry he has been able to build with Boldy so far, Johansson echoed similar sentiments, while making sure to credit Joel Eriksson Ek, who has been playing between both players

“All three of us are working really well together,” Johansson said. “We’re creating enough chances to score a lot of goals, and as long as we do that, that’s a good thing.”

The score held until early in the second period when Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin scored from his office to cut the deficit to 2-1. Luckily for the Wild, Ryan Reaves helped take the edge off midway through the frame with a redirection to make it 3-1.

There were fireworks in the third period as Brandon Duhaime stretched the lead to 4-1 before Ovechkin scored again to cut the deficit to 4-2.

Less than 90 seconds after Ovechkin made things interesting, Boldy completed his hat trick with a goal to make it 5-2.

What was going through Boldy’s head after missing on a breakaway earlier in the frame?

“Don’t miss again,” Boldy said with a laugh. “Just make my move and shoot it where I want to.”

In the waning moments, Capitals center Dylan Strome finalized the score at 5-3. That goal didn’t matter with the cushion Boldy had already provided.

“That’s why they pay him 49 sheets,” Ryan Reaves said with a laugh in reference to the $49 million contract extension Boldy signed earlier this season. “He hit a nice bonus today, so I’m sure there’s a team dinner coming pretty soon.”

Related Articles