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Wild have something special in Kevin Fiala-Matt Boldy duo

While they haven’t played together very long, there’s already a noticeable chemistry between Fiala and Boldy.

NHL: Minnesota Wild at Colorado Avalanche
Minnesota Wild left wing Kevin Fiala (22) celebrates his goal with left wing Matt Boldy (12) and teammates in the second period against the Colorado Avalanche on Monday, Jan. 17, 2022, at Ball Arena in Denver.
Isaiah J. Downing / USA Today Sports
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ST. PAUL — You almost started to wonder if Kevin Fiala was feeling left out.

A big reason the Minnesota Wild have established themselves as a Stanley Cup contenders this season is the solid contributions from the top half of their lineup. Whether it’s Ryan Hartman having the best season of his career between Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello, or the trio of Joel Eriksson Ek centering Jordan Greenway and Marcus Foligno continuing to be highly effective, the Wild can rely on those lines game in and game out when at full strength.

Meanwhile, Fiala cycled through various linemates early on, and struggled to find his rhythm because of that. That no longer seems to be the case.

Though it’s premature to make sweeping declarations, it appears the Wild finally have found the perfect complement to Fiala. He has been skating witt rookie Matt Boldy for the past couple of weeks, and the duo has flashed some chemistry.

“I hit him for a few times last game and I didn’t even see him,” Fiala said. “I just thought he would be there, and he was. It’s a great feeling.”


NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Minnesota Wild
Minnesota Wild left wing Kevin Fiala (22) celebrates with left wing Matt Boldy (12) after scoring a goal against the Anaheim Ducks in the first period Friday, Jan. 14, 2022, at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
David Berding / USA Today Sports

There have been different examples of that chemistry over the past couple of weeks. Like in last Friday’s win over the Anaheim Ducks at Xcel Energy Center.

In that game, Boldy carried the puck into the offensive zone, then made a pretty pass to Fiala, who finished the sequence with a highlight-reel goal. As soon as the puck hit the back of the net, Fiala pointed at Boldy to show his appreciation.

“They looked like they were looking for each other a little bit,” Wild coach Dean Evason said. “That looks like it might be a good pair.”

It’s not a coincidence that Fiala continued to shine in Monday’s shootout loss at Colorado. He scored a goal to help the Wild mount a comeback and played with a tenacity that has sometimes been missing this season.

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Minnesota Wild
Minnesota Wild left wing Kevin Fiala (22) celebrates a goal by left wing Matt Boldy while Anaheim Ducks goaltender Anthony Stolarz reacts Friday, Jan. 14, 2022, at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
David Berding / USA Today Sports

It’s worth noting that Freddy Gaudreau has been centering Fiala and Boldy as of late. He has brought his own flair as the man in the middle.

“We all think really creatively,” Boldy said. “I think that goes a long way out there. Just seeing plays that might take other guys half a second longer or something like that. With how smart they are, they make it pretty easy out there.”

That said, it starts and stops with Fiala and Boldy, the duo capable of creating a scoring chance out of nowhere. Why has it worked so well?

“That’s how it goes,” Fiala said. “You have the chemistry sometimes right away. And I feel right now it’s there.”

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