Wild have long coveted a gamebreaker. Now they have a pair in Kirill Kaprizov and Kevin Fiala.

Wild general manager Bill Guerin knows exactly what it takes to win the Stanley Cup. He experienced it with the Pittsburgh Penguins on a few different occasions, first as a player, then as a member of the front office.

Though it helped that the Penguins had depth up and down the lineup, as well as a reliable option in the crease, when the going got tough, they could always rely on Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to take over a game.

More than a decade after winning the Stanley Cup for the first time, it’s still virtually impossible to scheme against both players. If an opposing team moves mountains to take away Crosby, that simply frees up Malkin, and vice versa. It’s not a coincidence that the Penguins have been so good for so long.

That’s a recipe for success the Wild are hoping they can replicate starting with Game 1 against the St. Louis Blues on Monday night at Xcel Energy Center. For the first time in forever, the Wild enter the playoffs with the necessary firepower, and they view themselves as a Stanley Cup contender because of it.

Never mind that they might deeper than any team they play against moving forward. Never mind that they boast a dynamic duo between the pipes in Marc-Andre Fleury and Cam Talbot.

At the end of the day, Kirill Kaprizov and Kevin Fiala are the biggest reason to believe in the Wild.

“You’ve got a couple of gamebreakers,” said NHL Network analyst Mike Rupp, who played for the Wild toward the end of his NHL career. “All it takes is the puck on their stick for a few seconds and they can change everything. That’s what Kirill Kaprizov has brought since he’s come into the league, and now we’re seeing Kevin Fiala do that, too.”

The stats speak for themselves. As impressive as Kaprizov was in setting new single-season franchise records with 47 goals, 61 assists and 108 points, Fiala was right behind him with 33 goals, 52 assists and 85 points. They play on different lines, too, forcing opposing teams to pick their poison on any given night.

“That’s the depth, right?” Guerin said. “That’s really important.”

Indeed. The ghosts of postseasons past are a perfect example of that. No matter how good the Wild were in mid-2010s, they only got out of the first round a couple of times. Then, when they did get to the second round, they got chewed up and spit out by the dynastic Chicago Blackhawks.

The difference in those playoff series? While the Wild had talented players like Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, the Blackhawks had legitimate gamebreakers like Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. It took a perfect game to compete with that type of firepower, and sometimes even that wasn’t enough.

Now the Wild have that in Kaprizov and Fiala.

“I would think that at this point opposing teams are going to game plan against Kirill Kaprizov,” Rupp said. “And it’s no knock to Kevin Fiala. That should actually give some favorable matchups to Kevin Fiala, and he’s been really hot. That’s an advantage that the Wild have right now. They have a couple of guys that can take the pressure off of each other.”

That sound familiar? It does to Fleury, who like Guerin, witnessed firsthand the impact Crosby and Malkin had on the Penguins during their Stanley Cup runs.

“Usually every team has a very good defensive line and will try to match them up,” Fleury said. “To be able to have two lines that can do it offensively is big for us.”

Asked what makes Kaprizov so dangerous, captain Jared Spurgeon pointed to his work ethic.

“He’s such a dynamic player and he makes everyone around him so much better,” Spurgeon said. “Sometimes we see there’s a few guys on him and he comes out of the corner with it and makes a play. He’s done great things for us.”

Asked what makes Fiala so dangerous, linemate Matt Boldy credited his hockey sense.

“I think his brain is a little underrated,” Boldy said. “He’s thinking two steps ahead of everyone else. He’s passing it and jumping into a seam. He sometimes passes it to me, and I’m like, ‘All right, hopefully Kevin goes there.’ And the next thing I know he’s right through the seam. I don’t think he gets as much credit for how intelligent he is.”

Together, Kaprizov and Fiala have helped make the Wild among the most exciting teams in the league.

“Gone are the days of the suffocating defensive style of the Wild,” ESPN analyst Arda Ocal said. “That’s well in the rearview mirror. This has been sort of like a launch point for a new era of the franchise. They are so exciting to watch and I think it would make for some pretty compelling theater in the playoffs if Kirill Kaprizov or Kevin Fiala had the puck on their stick with the game tied.”

That said, Kaprizov and Fiala both understand the next step is getting it done in the playoffs. Both players were very quiet in the first round against the Vegas Golden Knights last season; Kaprizov finished with a couple of goals and an assist, while Fiala managed only a goal and an assist.

Those struggles last season helped Kaprizov realize what he needs to do this season.

“To be honest, it’s not about the fancy plays,” Kaprizov said through a translator. “It’s all about the little plays. That’s what we need to continue to focus on.”

That said, Fiala noted how it’s important they don’t overthink the game heading into the playoffs.

“It’s still hockey at the end of the day,” Fiala said. “I’m just going to try to be as calm as possible with my mind, not worry too much.”

Maybe the most important part of the equation is how Kaprizov and Fiala get along both on and off the ice.

“They are good buddies,” Marcus Foligno said. “It’s never like, ‘Well, Kirill has this many points, so I need to get this many points that night.’ There’s nothing like that.”

That goes back to the team chemistry the Wild have prided themselves on this season. While both players have experienced massive personal successes so far, Kaprizov and Fiala are 100 percent about the team success first and foremost. Like the rest of the Wild.

“They don’t care who scores the goals or gets the assists,” Guerin said. “It’s all about the winning.”

No doubt the Wild finally having a couple of gamebreakers helps.

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