When he was a kid on his driveway, Matt Boldy might have been on a blitz like this.
"Maybe playing by myself," he said.
That is definitely not the case now.
No one has potted more goals in the NHL in March than Boldy, the winger turning in his second hat trick in five games on Monday to spark the Wild to a 5-1 rout of the Seattle Kraken in front of 19,291 at Xcel Energy Center while joining exclusive company for his scoring surge.
"It just seems to be going in," Boldy said.
In his second NHL season, Boldy is already up to three hat tricks to tie for the second most in Wild history. Not only is he the fourth U.S.-born player to tally three before the age of 22, but since 2000-01 only five NHLers have posted more hat tricks before turning 22 — a list that includes former Wild great Marian Gaborik and current stars Connor McDavid and Patrik Laine.
"That's pretty special," defenseman Jake Middleton said. "It's cool to have a player of his caliber doing it at such a young age, especially with another top player out. The way he's kind of put us on his back is pretty impressive."
The Wild are 6-1-2 without injured superstar Kirill Kaprizov, and Boldy's 11 goals over that stretch are tops in the league.
Going back to Feb. 17, the Wild have been on a 15-1-4 run to pocket an NHL-best 34 points and this victory kept them in first place in the Central Division with eight games remaining. They won despite finishing the game shorthanded, as Ryan Reaves left with an upper-body injury.
If the Wild hold onto that top seed the rest of the way, they could face an upstart Seattle lineup in the first round and the Kraken previewed as an aggressive matchup.
But the pressure didn't rattle goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.
He was locked in early, his 13 first-period stops keeping the Wild afloat before they picked up the pace. Overall, Fleury racked up 35 saves.
"Maybe a little more busy than usual in the first," said Fleury, who is 8-0-1 during his past nine starts. "I just tried to keep us in the game and tried to make the next stop. I always trust we can come back."
Did they ever.
With 4 minutes, 43 seconds to go in the first period, Middleton capitalized on a glove-side shot to register a career-high 15 points and become the Wild's 16th different scorer over the nine games the team has played without Kaprizov.
Then Boldy took over.
First, he ignited the power play from a 1-for-14 slump at 5:38 of the second after accepting a seam pass from Marcus Johansson and skating inside for the blistering shot that's been headlining his recent uptick. The power play ended up 1-for-3, while Seattle went 0-for-3.
Next, Boldy scooped up a Joel Eriksson Ek faceoff win, curled away from pressure and banked a shot off the far post and behind Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer with 5:01 to go in the period.
This was Boldy's sixth multi-goal game of the season and third in the past five games, but he wasn't done scoring.
Only 50 seconds into the third, he rang another shot off the post to seal his first natural hat trick.
"Just putting it on a tee for me," Boldy said. "Great pass by Jo-Jo on the first one. Then Ekky winning the faceoff, and Ekky putting it on a tee again. Those guys are playing awesome."
Boldy's 12 goals since the month started are tied with Arizona's Clayton Keller for the league lead. The winger is two goals shy of 30.
"He's on a tear right now," Eriksson Ek said. "I hope he can keep it up."
Grubauer was replaced by Martin Jones after Boldy's hat trick, exiting with nine saves. Jones had six stops in relief, getting eluded glove-side by Ryan Hartman at 10:21.
Seattle spoiled Fleury's shutout bid 39 seconds later when Jaden Schwartz pinballed a shot into the Wild net, but Boldy had already supplied the Wild with the cushion they would need.
"We've got a lot of games left," Boldy said. "Just kind of keep my confidence, keep playing the way I'm playing, and keep shooting."