In a break for the Wild, the Bruins were dressing young goalie Niklas Svedberg instead of Tuuka Rask, who played the night before in a 3-2 loss to the Nashville Predators.
Advantage: Wild, right?
You would be wrong.
It was a huge crowd in Downtown St. Paul to take in Wednesday Night Rivalry on NBC, because, you know, Minnesota and Boston play each other twice per season.
The Wild gave of the first goal of the game to Carl Soderberg. The Bruins got the puck bouncing around the front of the net and Soderberg had a wide open net because Niklas Backstrom was flopping around the crease. Twenty-seven seconds later, Kyle Brodziak would get a beneficial bounce off the post for his fourth goal of the season. Then Patrice Bergeron sent a soft shot in on Backstrom and it skipped in to the goal. It was an absolutely brutal goal to give up with a few ticks over two minutes remaining in the period.
Minnesota cam out for the second period looking for the equalizer. They put great pressure on the Bruins and Svedberg, but with the combination of good play from Svedberg, a multitude of missed chances, and a lot of iron the Wild couldn't find the back of the net. the Wild did get over a minute of a two-man advantage that only mustered one measley shot on goal. Minnesota did out-shoot the Bruins 20-5 in the period.
If the power play wasn't enough of a scourge, the 5-on-3 power play has been nothing short of hideous.
In the third period, the Wild continued to apply pressure as they desperately searched for the game-tying goal. It would finally come on the strangest of strange hockey plays. Ryan Suter gobbled up the puck at the Bruins blue line and skated down the left and took a slap shot. The save was made by Svedberg, who thought the puck was in his catching glove. The puck then bounced down to Zach Trotman, who took his sweet time looking for an opportunity to clear the zone. Suter stole the puck and got a weak shot toward the net and it deflected off Jason Pominville's skate and into the net. Boston did have a chance that ended up being reviewed and called a "no goal." The puck was underneath the right pad of Backstrom who was doing everything he could to hold the post. The puck did cross the goal line, but was pushed in along with Backstrom by a crashing Bruins player.
Brett Sutter, who was having a nice couple games got called for interference after he hit Craig Cunningham. I was perplexed by this penalty myself. Cunningham was the puck carrier at the time the hit was made. Sutter wasn't dirty with his hit in regards to leaving his feet or throwing elbows or anything. However, the principle point of contact was the head. But this is where I get confused. If Matt Martin avoided a penalty in the game as well as supplemental discipline because Keith Ballard turned at the last second, then the same should be said for a player stopping short to avoid contact. Sutter was already engaged to the hit, and if Cunningham had continued on his path with his current pace, contact would have been made with the body and the sudden stopping/jump/dodge to avoid contact happened at the last second and too late for Sutter to avoid the head. Even still, if Cunningham was the puck carrier, then interference is absolutely the wrong call to make in that situation. It will be interesting if anything at all comes from that hit and one maybe to keep an eye on.
Any ways, on to overtime. The Wild were able to secure a point after killing off the two minute Sutter interference minor. The second game in as many nights that included a late power play for the opposition. In the few minutes that lapses between regulation and the start of overtime, the Wild completely disappeared. For a team that came roaring back to tie the game, they seemed all too content to just get the loser point. the Bruins were all over the Wild's zone in the extra session and the game would be won after the Wild couldn't get out of their own zone. Louie Eriksson nabs the game-winner and the Wild have suffered two quick losses to playoff teams while the rest of the Central Division keeps winning.
Minnesota will host the Nashville Predators on Saturday at 7 pm. The Predators have been a surprise team this season and Pekka Rinne has been healthy and solid for them. Peter Laviolette now leads that team after they fired long-time head coach Barry Trotz after last season.