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Boldy's breakout leads Wild over Islanders

The rookie has ignited the Wild since his callup.
Matt Boldy

The Minnesota Wild were one of the best teams in the NHL before Matt Boldy showed up. But since the rookie made his debut, the Wild have hit an extra gear.

Boldy's presence was felt on Sunday night as the Wild picked up a 4-2 win over the New York Islanders. With a goal and an assist, Boldy played a key role in the victory and has helped Minnesota post an 8-0-1 record since his call-up on Jan. 6.

One of the areas Boldy has made an impact is on the power play. Prior to Boldy's arrival, the Wild were converting on just 16.8 percent (17-of-101) of their chances with the man advantage. But in the eight games since his callup, that number had jumped to 24 percent (6-for-25) entering Sunday night.

After the Wild got on the board with an unassisted goal by Brandon Duhaime, the power play success continued. With the puck along the end boards, Boldy and Kirill Kaprizov were able to wrestle it free and find Joel Eriksson Ek to give Minnesota a 2-0 lead.

Boldy has also unlocked the potential of Kevin Fiala. The Wild winger had just seven goals and 14 assists before Boldy's arrival but has 10 points in eight games with the rookie on his line.

Fiala's hot streak continued when he assisted on Boldy's goal in the second period. Boldy's deflection on a shot by Victor Rask gave Fiala points in his last 11 games, which is the longest active streak in the NHL and put Minnesota ahead 3-1.

Plays like that are a big reason why Wild fans are excited about Boldy's potential. Despite missing the first month of the year with a fractured ankle, Boldy has shined since his call-up, scoring four goals with five assists in nine games.

Despite Boldy's play, the Islanders found a way to stay in the game. A turnover by Duhaime allowed Ross Johnston to cut the lead down to 3-2 but Kaprizov answered with his 18th goal of the year to put Minnesota ahead 4-2.

New York made things interesting with a power play goal from Oliver Wahlstrom but Kaapo Kähkönen finished off a 40-save night by fending off a late rush and giving the Wild their fifth straight victory.

The Wild (27-10-3) will play their final game before the All-Star break on Wednesday when they visit the Chicago Blackhawks.

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