Kirill Kaprizov celebrated his first American Thanksgiving on Thursday at Wild captain Jared Spurgeon's house.
"It was great," Kaprizov said in Russian through a translator. "But I ate a ton, a ton of food, and I felt extremely heavy today on the ice. But it worked out."
Kaprizov was spectacular in the Wild's 7-1 pasting of the Jets on Friday afternoon at Xcel Energy Center, assisting on three goals and scoring one himself for a four-point performance that tied his career-high from his last home game.
As a result, Kaprizov broke Marian Gaborik's record for the most points by a Wild skater through the team's first 20 games. Gaborik had 21 through 20 in 2001-02 and 2002-03; Kaprizov is sitting on 22 points.
Overall, in 75 career regular-season games, Kaprizov has 73 points and is the second fastest in Wild history to hit 70 with the team — trailing only Brian Rolston (68 games).
Furthermore, the 24-year-old winger became only the second player in team history to record three-plus points on three separate occasions by the 20-game mark; Todd White (2005-06) is the other.
After ranking among the NHL's top goal scorers as a rookie, Kaprizov is near the top in a different category a month-plus into this season: assists.
Only eight players in the league had more helpers than his 16 after the Wild played Friday, output that coach Dean Evason linked to other teams focusing on Kaprizov.
"He understands and recognizes the opening might not be there for him," Evason said. "But maybe that's why he's getting other people those opportunities because they're all concentrated on him."
Whether he's setting up goals or finishing them, Kaprizov is looking more like the NHL's reigning Rookie of the Year after an eight-game goalless skid to open the season. His 11 points over the past five games are tops in the league.
"That's the way the game's going right now," Kaprizov said of racking up assists. "It's been kind of in the moment, the opportunities have been there to make assists. I try not to worry about it too much. I try not to focus on that. The same thing could happen with goals. They'll start coming in numbers. I'm not worried about it."
On a roll
Ryan Hartman continued his goal-scoring tear on Friday, scoring his team-leading 11th goal in the second period.
The center's last four tallies have come over the past five games, and Hartman hasn't gone more than two games in between goals.
"A big reason why I wanted to be here is the opportunity that I have to make a difference," said Hartman, who signed a three-year, $5.1 million contract extension last season. "I'm trying to take advantage of the minutes I've been given and the spots I've been given."
Leading the way
The NHL was idle on Thursday, but the date was still significant.
Historically, most teams that are in a playoff spot at Thanksgiving tend to advance once the season ends.
Not only was the Wild in a playoff-bound seat, but the team grew its first-place lead in the Central Division after crushing division rival Winnipeg in the first of five straight home games. The Wild is ahead of the No. 2 Blues by four points and is five in front of the Jets, who are in third.
"Division points mean that much more, so every game is a four-point game," said goaltender Cam Talbot, who registered his 30th career win with the Wild. "It's not like last year where we were just playing the same seven teams. These ones are a little bit easier to get up for, especially coming back from a long road trip in front of our crowd. It was nice to come out and play the way we did and start this homestand off right."