By: Jeremy Perrigo
The Minnesota Wild traveled to Boston Monday night coming off a 2-0 shutout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks Saturday. The Wild, who do not yet have a player with double-digit points, have struggled to put the puck in the net consistently this season. Goaltender Devan Dubnyk, a diamond in the rough for the Wild early on, has put up a save percentage of .947 and goals against average of 1.67 in his last three starts. Boston comes into the game leaving something to be desired after dropping a 3-2 regulation loss to the Washington Capitals Saturday. It was announced Monday morning that the B’s would be without forward Brad Marchand who is listed with an upper-body injury. The Bruins hoped to come out to a better start than they have in their last few games, despite being without their leading scorer.
The Wild opened the scoring 4:53 in when Nino Niederreiter cashed in on a rebound in front of the net, the result of a Ryan Suter shot from the left point.
Just past the halfway mark of the period, Jake DeBrusk charged into the Wild zone chasing down a sky-hook pass from Zdeno Chara. DeBrusk lifted the stick of Jared Spurgeon, looking as though he was going to skate behind the Wild net, before throwing the puck in front which bounced off the leg of Suter and past Dubnyk.
The Bruins would light the lamp again when Frank Vatrano stormed the Minnesota zone and fired a slapshot with the puck on edge, which created a knuckle-ball effect that rang the post and bounced off the left foot of Dubnyk and into the net.
Minnesota outshot Boston 11-9 in the period, while the Bruins led on the scoreboard 2-1.
Tim Schaller made a strong move through Niederreiter and fired a shot that rebounded off Dubnyk in front. Danton Heinen attempted to knock the puck in first before Sean Kuraly finally put in the second attempt 5:34 into the period.
It wouldn’t take long for Boston to extend their lead to three when Torey Krug one-timed a pass from David Pastrnak off the top of the left circle to beat Dubnyk for the second time in less than three minutes.
The Bruins continued to put pressure on the Wild throughout the remainder of the period, and it showed on the score sheet. Boston outshot Minnesota 15-4 in the period, taking a 4-1 lead into the final 20 minutes.
Alex Stalock replaced Dubnyk in net for Minnesota to start the period.
The Wild would refuse to hand over the game to the Bruins, Mikael Granlund scored off a Matt Dumba feed just 1:33 into the period, the result of a turnover inside the Bruins zone.
Matt Cullen would take a slashing call 6:32 into the period, and on the ensuing power play it would be the Wild who got a breakaway chance as Granlund broke past Torey Krug towards the Bruins’ end. Krug hauled down Granlund, resulting in a penalty shot. Rask denied the Minnesota winger with a blocker save to keep the score 4-2.
Niederreiter took a roughing call with 4:51 left in the period and it would be Minnesota again getting the opportunity. This time Eric Staal came in on Rask shorthanded to score 47 seconds into the Boston powerplay.
The Wild pulled Stalock down a goal in the dying minutes of the game. Despite multiple chances to tie the game, Minnesota could not find a way to pull even. Tim Schaller sealed the deal with an empty netter, the clock reading 56.4 seconds remaining in the game.
Final Score: Boston - 5 / Minnesota - 3
The Wild overcame a poor second period to outshoot the Bruins 12-10 in the third. Boston would outshoot Minnesota 34-27 overall while the Wild won 52.2% of faceoffs and outhit the B’s 37-24.
Next Game: at New York Rangers, 7pm EST
Boston was forced to play Monday without their top scorer, Brad Marchand. This allowed Anders Bjork to play beside Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak. While this line was relatively quiet throughout the game, it was the Bruins rookies and depth players that showed up when the team needed them most.
Jordan Szwarz had two assists, Jake DeBrusk, Sean Kuraly and Tim Schaller each had a goal. Schaller also had an assist along with Danton Heinen. Torey Krug has found his offensive game as of late, but still struggles on the back end, getting bailed out by Tuukka Rask after drawing a penalty shot.
Rask made some big saves when called upon, stopping a total of 24 shots on the night. If the Bruins expect to win games with an injury plagued team, they need contributions from up and down the lineup, and that is exactly what they got Monday night. Look for a similar performance Wednesday when the B’s roll into Madison Square Garden.