In his very first game in the National Hockey League (NHL), Minnesota Wild forward Kirill Kaprizov made lots of new friends.
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In Thursday night’s clash against the Los Angeles Kings, the 23-year-old Russian had three points, including the overtime-winning goal, which put his team in a 4-3 victory.
Kaprizov played the hero by intercepting an opponent’s throw in the neutral zone. He appeared alone in front of goalkeeper Jonathan Quick and beat him between the pads.
He thus became the third player in NHL history to settle the debate in overtime during his first skates in the best hockey league in the world.
“I think the most impressive thing is his competitiveness all over the ice. That’s what makes him so good, ”said Wild defender Matt Dumba of his new teammate on Thursday night during press briefings following the match.
“And he gets the puck and we see what he’s capable of. Everyone who watched the game saw that this is a special talent, ”added the full-back.
Good in his area
Like Dumba, head coach Dean Evason had nothing but good words for Kaprizov. The Wild pilot obviously appreciated the offensive contribution of the one who provided assists on the goals of his teammates Jonas Brodin and Victor Rask, but he also liked what he saw of him when he was not puck on his stick.
“I’m sure we’ll all be talking about his offensive strengths, but he was great on defense as well,” said Evason. As a coach, when you’re not afraid to put someone special like that on the ice, sending them out is a very easy decision. ”
Kaprizov was a fifth-round draft pick for the Wild in the 2015 draft. He put the NHL club on hold for a few seasons as he dominated the Continental Hockey League (KHL) with CSKA Moscow.