LOS ANGELES – Kirill Kaprizov didn't say much once the on-ice celebration spilled over into the visitor's locker room inside Staples Center on Thursday night.
After receiving the team's new "player of the game" hydration bucket helmet from captain Jared Spurgeon, Kaprizov told his teammates, "I don't know how to say — good job, guys."
Then the Russian forward started laughing.
"I love Kirill because he's one of those guys, he's not shy to fumble his words or anything," defenseman Matt Dumba said. "I bet you throughout the season he's just going to pick up so much English and learn so much. So, you don't get much out of him tonight. But give him a month or two and I don't think he'll shut up."
Already, though, Kaprizov is making a statement with his play.
The rookie had an unprecedented NHL debut, scoring the overtime winner in breakaway fashion and assisting on two other goals to lead the Wild to a season-opening 4-3 win over the Kings.
"It was an amazing moment for me," Kaprizov said Friday in Russian through a translator. "It was great the way it all happened, but at the end of the day, I need to start focusing on the next game and make sure this continues through the rest of the season."
Although he had less time to prepare at training camp compared to a normal season and no preseason games to preview the action — two changes with the NHL's abridged 2021 schedule — Kaprizov didn't look out of place in his first game.
In fact, he was the most dynamic presence on the ice and his drive kick-started the Wild's rally in the third period from a two-goal deficit.
He pinpointed Victor Rask in the slot for a shot that sailed in early in the period, this after he helped open the scoring when his cut to the middle set up a Jonas Brodin goal.
And after Marcus Foligno tied the game at 3, Kaprizov finished off the comeback with an unplanned five-hole shot that bounced in off his skate, capping his solo rush into Los Angeles' zone.
"I got lucky," Kaprizov said. "It's not what I intended to do, but it worked out in the end and the goal went in."
Not only did he become the first player in NHL history to record three-plus points and an overtime goal in his first game, but Kaprizov is just the third player to score an overtime goal in his NHL debut.
His three points are the most for a Wild player in his first NHL game, and Kaprizov is the ninth player in team history to tally his first goal in his first game.
"I'm very happy," he said.
Puck drop was Friday morning Russia time. Kaprizov's family and friends watched, flooding him with congratulatory messages.
"Everyone was really supportive," he said.
Kaprizov, 23, played pro in his native country for years before signing an entry-level contract in July to join the Wild after the team drafted him in the fifth round in 2015, and he thought the smaller ice in the NHL might affect him.
He was cautious on his first few shifts and felt nervous, but he rediscovered his game the more he skated and ultimately didn't notice a significant difference between the NHL and the Kontinental Hockey League, where he was a star.
"As the game went on, I felt a little more comfortable," Kaprizov said. "Of course, it would be great to have the fans there. I think it would have been just a more elevated experience. But overall, I felt very comfortable out there as the game went on."
Where he seemed to have the most trouble was getting ready to actually report to the arena.
About 15 minutes before he had to leave for Staples Center, Kaprizov was struggling to get his tie knotted and had to have director of team operations Andrew Heydt help him.
"There were some frantic moments, for sure," said Kaprizov, who didn't undo the tie afterward and plans to leave it as is.
The Kings didn't do much tying up of their own, as they struggled to contain Kaprizov. But they'll get another crack Saturday in the rematch.
"He's a good, skilled player," Los Angeles captain Anze Kopitar said. "Any time you can give him too much time, he's going to make plays and that was the case."
To combat the extra attention, coach Dean Evason's solution is for Kaprizov to rely on his teammates and use give-and-gos to get around the pressure.
This shouldn't be too challenging for the 23-year-old since his outlook so far has been team-focused. Kaprizov even described his start as him just being in the right place at the right time and an outcome that could have happened to any of his teammates.
"For me, it's really about coming to the rink, playing my hardest every single game and expecting the same of my teammates," Kaprizov said. "If everyone comes to the rink and plays their heart out and gives 110 percent and we win at the end, I think that's all that matters. And all of the personal points and accolades, that comes second to me.
"First and foremost is the team."
Kaprizov had this attitude from the get-go, even asking Evason and General Manager Bill Guerin when he could meet his teammates after he landed in Minnesota for his first visit to the Twin Cities last summer.
"He had to go through a quarantine period, so we had to explain to him that he would get to see them, but that's what he was excited about," Evason said. "He was excited about meeting his teammates and being with them. So right from Day 1, Minute 1, he was a team guy."
Kaprizov is also a realist.
As successful as his debut was, it's just the beginning and he has his sights set on what's next.
"I felt great to get all the congratulations and everyone is extremely happy," Kaprizov said. "But it's just one game. It's just the first game and there's a lot of other games for me to focus on."