Kirill Kaprizov has 15 points in 17 games. There are some National Hockey League players who would break the law for such production.

For Kaprizov, it's falling short of expectations.

Five goals, 10 assists and a plus/minus of minus-8. Why the Wild's two-time 40-goal scorer isn't sniping on all cylinders is not clear.

There were concerns he was injured when coach Dean Evason recently held him out of practice, but he has continued to play and hasn't missed a game. Another theory is that Kaprizov is pressing too much after getting off to a slow start.

"Hockey players are always going to get in their own heads," Evason said. "Athletes are always going to get messed up with confidence and what-have-you. The great ones pull themselves out of it quicker than some of the others. He's going to pull himself up."

The Wild are 5-8-4, ahead of only lowly Chicago in the Central and coming off a trip to Sweden in which they collected two points in two games. Kaprizov failed to tally a point overseas on five shots.

He enters Friday's game against Colorado with fewer even-strength goals (one) than Jacob Middleton, Pat Maroon and Dakota Mermis. More than a month has passed since that one goal. Add to that Kaprizov's propensity for turnovers and it's not good.

This is all Kaprizov's fault: he set these expectations so high by being one of the top 20 players in the NHL. He's scored 87 goals over the past two seasons and is the first Wild player with consecutive 40-goal years. He had to be so darned good.

There's a lot going wrong for the Wild right now in this five-game losing streak. Special teams have been dreadful. The goaltenders can't keep pucks out of the net. The defense in front of them has turned pucks over in their own end. Kaprizov's scoring slump is only one problem. But him heating up would be the best solution for a team sitting 13th in the Western Conference.

Scoring will jolt his confidence, and to score you have to take shots — but this age-old approach hasn't worked. Kaprizov is tied for 23rd in the league with 61 shots, but 360th among forwards with an 8.2 shooting percentage. His career shooting percentage is 15.5.

Shooters gotta shoot. Kaprizov needs to keep shooting. Perhaps he's gotten most of the bad ones out of the way.

This goal-scoring slump has proven a bit contagious, at least for Matt Boldy, who sits at one goal in 10 games after scoring 31 last season. When the 26-year-old Kaprizov and the 22-year-old Boldy rebound, the team will rebound. They combined for 71 goals last season. There's no mystery to what's missing.

These two also carry a combined cap hit of $16 million for the cash-strapped Wild. Help is not on the way. It's on them.

Evason, earlier in the season, asked for more from Kaprizov and his top line. It's been more than a month since that one even-strength goal. It's time for Kaprizov to respond.

"Have we been firm with Kirill? Sure," Evason said. "Have we patted him on the back, same as every other player? Yeah. You try to figure that out.

"We're not trying to not win hockey games. Kirill is not trying to not score. He's trying to score each and every night. He's trying to do all the leadership things that come along with being an assistant captain and all that stuff and leading by example. ... We're not worried about Kirill Kaprizov."

Kaprizov spent time on the ice following a spirited Wild practice on Wednesday for extra drills, a regular occurrence for him. The Kaprizov we're used to seeing is somewhere in there, and he must keep shooting for him to come out. Perhaps a fortuitous bounce is the breakthrough he needs. Clanging one in off the post. Having a blast deflect off two bodies and trickle through the goaltender's legs.

A team shouldn't need one player to turn a season around. But, boy, the Wild could use some vintage Kaprizov starting Friday.