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Postgame Hat Trick: Wild 5, Ducks 1

Fiala scores twice, assists on another, as Minnesota finishes off two-game sweep of Anaheim on Saturday

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe / Wild.com

Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 5-1 win against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. on Saturday night:

1. The Wild continued the trend.

Minnesota has been good this season when scoring first, piling up wins in six of seven entering the night on Saturday.

Anaheim, had not been good when falling behind ... losing seven of its first eight when allowing opponents to score first. 

It's especially tough for the Ducks, who are one of just two teams averaging fewer than two goals per game this season. 

Knowing all of that, a hot start was vital ... and the Wild got just that.

Like it did on Thursday night in an eventual 3-1 win, Minnesota scored twice in the first period to grab an early 2-0 lead. And like it did on Thursday night, those two goals came in quick succession. 

This time, it was Mats Zuccarello and Kevin Fiala scoring just 70 seconds apart as Minnesota carried a two-goal lead into intermission.

Fiala would add on early in the second, scoring a rare power-play goal for Minnesota to push the lead to three goals, a hill just too steep for the Ducks to climb. 


2. Zuccarello continues his solid start.

The longtime New York Ranger, who battled through consistent pain in his right arm all of last season, his first in a Wild uniform, certainly looks to be 100 percent in his second year in Minnesota. 

Video: MIN@ANA: Zuccarello picks the corner for 1-0 lead

After surgery on said ailment delayed his start by about a month, Zuccarello debuted in Los Angeles on Tuesday, tallied his first point of the season with an assist on Thursday and scored his first goal of the campaign on Saturday night, a beauty, where he gathered in a nice pass from Kirill Kaprizov, then fired a snap shot inside the far post under the crossbar. 

In the third period, Zuccarello tallied an assist on Victor Rask's goal, giving him a two-point night.

In addition to his production on the scoresheet, Zuccarello has just looked far more comfortable in three games this season than he really did at any point last year. 

If he can continue his current level of play, he has the potential to be a real game-changer for Minnesota in its top-6 forward group. 


3. Fiala's on fire.

The two-week COVID layoff has done nothing to slow down or cool off Kevin Fiala, made even more impressive by the fact that Fiala also missed the three games prior to the stoppage because of a suspension. 

Video: MIN@ANA: Fiala extends Wild's lead to 2-0 in the 1st

After a slow start to the season, the Swiss winger was beginning to heat up before his lengthy layoff, and has only gotten better.

Fiala's first goal on Saturday showcased his gamebreaking speed, as he beat a Ducks defenseman to a loose puck in the neutral zone, then cruised down the right wing wall and fired a shot through John Gibson's glove to make it a 2-0 game in the first period. 

Video: MIN@ANA: Fiala puts Wild up 3-0 with PPG in 2nd

Early in the second, he scored one more reminiscent of his workman-like goal from Thursday night, burying a rebound off a scramble in front. 

No matter how he's scoring them, Fiala now has six goals in 11 games, with all six of them coming in his past seven games.

Late in the game, with an opportunity to try for a hat trick, Fiala started a pretty passing play instead, dishing to Ryan Hartman, who quickly fed Joel Eriksson Ek for an goal. The assist was Fiala's first of the year. 

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