Wild gain more ground in playoff push, lose Jonas Brodin in process

On the surface, the Wild got everything they wanted out of Tuesday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks.

They got a 4-0 win to gain more ground in their playoff push. They got balanced scoring with goals from center Ryan Hartman, defenseman Jon Merrill, superstar winger Kirill Kaprizov and center Jake Lucchini. They got a bounceback performance by goaltender Filip Gustavsson in net as he posted 27 saves en route to a shutout.

All of that was overshadowed by the potential loss of star defenseman Jonas Brodin.

Though the Wild (34-27-8, 76 points) will certainly take the win as it helped them pull even closer to the Vegas Golden Knights (36-25-7, 79 points) in the race for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, the lasting image for everybody was Brodin struggling to the bench in a lot of pain.

It happened fairly late in the contest as Brodin got tangled up with Ducks winger Alex Killorn in the corner. It looked like Brodin’s right leg got caught underneath him as he fell to the ice. He was very slow to get up and was unable to put any weight on his right leg as he left down the tunnel.

Asked about Brodin postgame, head coach John Hynes did not provide an update.

“It looked like a kind of an unfortunate scrum battle,” Hynes said. “Hopefully it’s nothing too serious.”

If Brodin has to miss a significant amount of time, it could be too much for the Wild to overcome. They are already without captain Jared Spurgeon, who won’t return this season, and irreplaceable center Joel Eriksson Ek, who is expected to return at some point later this month.

As for the game itself, as much as the Wild struggled to generate offense in the first period, it felt like only a matter of time before they got things going.

That proved to be the case as Hartman scored 35 seconds into the second period to push the Wild in front 1-0. Not long after that Merrill stretched the lead to 2-0 as rookie center Marat Khusnutdinov recorded an assist for the first point of his young NHL career.

Not to be outdone by his fellow countryman, Kaprizov made it 3-0 midway through the second period with a tenacious effort to fight through traffic in front.

That was more than enough for Gustavsson. He settled in nicely after not seeing very many shots in the early stages of the game.

As the game wound to a close in the third period, Lucchini hammered home a feed from winger Adam Beckman to finalize the score at 4-0.

As much as the Wild might be reeling from the potential loss of Brodin, they don’t have much time to sulk. Not with Wednesday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings looming.

“We’ve been in this situation quite a bit unfortunately,” Hynes said. “We’ve had a lot of injuries at key times with certain players. At the end of the day, the fact of the matter is, it’s not who’s out of the lineup, it’s who’s in the lineup. We need to make sure that whoever is in tomorrow night we’re ready to play the best game on the ice that gives us a chance to win.”

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