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Kirill Kaprizov on pace to shatter Marian Gaborik’s long-standing Wild record for most points in a season

There are 16 games left in the season and Kaprizov has already matched Gaborik’s total of 83 points.

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Minnesota Wild
Minnesota Wild left wing Kirill Kaprizov skates with the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins in overtime Thursday, March 31, 2022, at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. The Wild lost 4-3 in overtime, but Kaprizov tied Marion Gaborik’s franchise record for most points (83) in a single season during the game.
David Berding / USA Today Sports
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ST. PAUL -- Kirill Kaprizov carved out some space in the slot, made eye contact with linemate Ryan Hartman and, moments later, unleashed a no-doubter into the back of the net. As teammate Matt Dumba so succinctly put it, “He doesn’t miss from there.”

No, he does not.

That goal from Kaprizov on Thursday night at Xcel Energy Center tied the score 3-3, eventually forcing overtime in a game the Minnesota Wild lost 4-3 to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“He never seems to score an insignificant point,” Wild goaltender Cam Talbot said. “It’s never in those games that we’re already up or something like that. He’s not looking for his cookies or anything like that. He comes to play when the game is on the line. That’s why he’s a superstar.”

There’s no doubt that the 24-year-old Kaprizov is a superstar. Yes, it’s OK to use that word. He already is up to 83 points this season — tied for sixth in the league — and has pulled even with Marion Gaborik’s long-standing franchise record for most points in a single season.

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The most impressive part? There are still 16 games left. In other words, not only is Kaprizov going to break Gaborik’s franchise record, he’s most likely going to shatter it.

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Minnesota Wild
Minnesota Wild left wing Kirill Kaprizov (97) celebrates his first period goal against the Vancouver Canucks on March 24, 2022, with goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Nick Wosika / USA Today Sports

“I didn’t know,” teammate Freddy Gaudreau said this week when made aware that Kaprizov was closing in on Gaborik. “I just know he’s so good. That’s about it. The points add up really fast for him.”

For some perspective, during Gaborik’s record-setting season in 2007-08, he had 69 points through 65 games. In the same amount of games so far this season, Kaprizov already has 83 points, and has a realistic shot of reaching triple digits in the coming weeks.

“The great thing about him is he works,” captain Jared Spurgeon said. “It’s not like he’s staying on the outside. He engages with everything. That leads into our team when a guy with that skill is also doing the dirty work, as well.”

That’s something legendary goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury noticed immediately about Kaprizov after joining the Wild at the trade deadline.

“He’s a special player, that’s for sure,” Fleury said. “The way he carries himself on the ice. His hands. His footwork. His speed. Even his physicality. He finishes his body checks. I think he surprises a lot of people with the reverse shoulder. He’s definitely fun to watch.”

As soon as Kaprizov inevitably passes Gaborik — it could happen this weekend, possibly on Sunday in Washington against his idol Alex Ovechkin — he will take aim at a couple more franchise records. He currently has 38 goals and 45 assists so far this season.

That means Kaprizov is well within striking distance of Gaborik’s franchise record of 42 goals in a single season, which he shares with Eric Staal, as well as Pierre-Marc Bouchard’s franchise record of 50 assists in a single season.

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If Kaprizov reaches those marks, and there’s a good chance he will, it’s safe to assume it won’t be via a garbage-time goal.

“There’s something special there,” coach Dean Evason said. “The knack to step up. We’ve seen it through history that great players do that. They don’t necessarily score in the 7-1 games. They score in all situations, and most importantly, in the tight types of games, they step up and find a way. He’s a special player.”

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