LOS ANGELES – Kirill Kaprizov has been leading the race for the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie since his first game when he scored in overtime to cap off a three-point debut.
And although others have started to get closer to his production, Kaprizov is still the favorite – a status update he issued Friday night when he scored twice in a 4-2 win over the Kings at Staples Center.
"Sure, I'm biased," Nick Bonino said. "But he's putting together a Calder season."
Kaprizov scored his most dynamic goal of the season, a flourish to the middle after letting the puck pass between his legs. He followed up that highlight-reel finish with a power play goal that accentuated another segment of his skill set and that's his smarts, as he waited and waited and waited until finally scoring glove-side from inside the right faceoff circle.
He also continues to pace NHL rookies in goals and points (40) even though Dallas' Jason Robertson has closed the gap, sitting second in goals (14) and points (36).
And not only did Kaprizov extend his goal streak to four games, the longest such streak for a Wild rookie in team history, but he also became the first Wild rookie to record a 20-goal season after burying Nos. 20 and 21.
"Pretty fun to watch," Bonino said.
This was another busy night for goalie Cam Talbot.
After picking up 39 saves on 40 shots Wednesday at Arizona, he turned aside another 40 on Friday.
But the heavy workload doesn't faze Talbot.
"When there's those shots off the bat, you kind of get into it a little more," he said. "Anytime you see that many pucks, it just semes like the guys are keeping them to the outside for me. It's easy for me to control those rebounds, control where those pucks are going."
Overall, the Wild has won six in a row to tie its longest win streak of the season. The last time the team strung together this many victories was Feb.18-27, a tear that started after the Wild had a difficult loss at Los Angeles in its first game back after its season was shut down by a COVID-19 outbreak.
The team's run is also the second-longest active streak in the NHL.
"We're doing the right things," Bonino said. "We've talked about how our defensive zone has gotten better. It seems like a lot of their best chances are off a rush or off broken plays. Guys have bought in."
And although the team is getting closer to locking up a playoff spot, Talbot isn't expecting complacency in the final 10 games to become an issue.
"Our job is obviously not done yet," he said. "We haven't clinched anything. We're not looking down the road. I think we have the guys and leadership to make sure that doesn't happen."