Another game, another slow start, another loss. The Wild came out looking like they were half-asleep, and couldn't stop Loui Eriksson. To add injury to insult, Zucker was carried off the ice at the end of a stinker in Boston.
Apparently the Wild haven't figured out how to start a game on time, as they came out slow (again). Not wanting to take advantage, the Bruins gave the Wild two early power plays, but the best scoring chances went to the home team. Shortly after the second penalty was killed by the Bruins, Brad Marchand skated a circle around both Matt Dumba and the net to score a wraparound, which Dubnyk couldn't have been further away from if he had tried.
The Wild, to be fair, earned a few chances, but none were good enough to beat Gustavsson (no, not our guy, their guy). Very little of note happened, though Matt Beleskey (who I'll talk more about later) did decide to check to see how hard his fists were by punching Brett Bulmer in the face after testing his stick's strength on Bulmer's shoulders. The two were sent to the box (which I think is baloney, considering you could hardly call what Bulmer did "fighting" but I digress).
The Wild would take the 1-0 deficit into the first intermission. Technically the shot count was even, but the Boston scorer was being very generous to Minnesota (Boston nice, right? (the irony in that will become clearer later)).
Despite continued dominance by the Boston Bruins, Jason Zucker was tired of losing, and gave the Wild a tie game with a good goal. Any hope of that turning the momentum, however, didn't last long as Loui Eriksson scored two goals in just under 4 minutes to give the Bruins a 3-1 lead.
Proving that the hockey gods do, in fact, have a sense of humor, one of those two goals bounced into the net off of Jason Pominville. In case anyone missed the irony in that, they decided to hammer the point home when Ryan Suter fired a weak wrist shot (as if he had any other kind) that was half-deflected by Jordan Schroeder to make the game 3-2.
The second period was by far the best period of hockey for both teams, which should speak to just how poorly the rest of the game went for the Wild. It's worth noting that Boston had as many shots on goal in the 2nd period alone as the Wild had in the first two periods combined.
The third period continued much in the same vein; with the Wild earning a few chances, but mostly defending as though they had a late lead. Eriksson completed his hat trick just 4 minutes in, cementing the Bruins' lead at 4-2. Brad Marchand toyed with the Wild even more by giving the Wild a power play late in the period. Mikael Granlund was (inexplicably) on the ice for it, despite his terribad play throughout the season.
Scoring threat Nate Prosser was put out onto the ice after Duby came off, because we all know he gives the Wild the best chance of scoring. After the Wild failed to score on the man advantage, Brett Bulmer served a too-many-men penalty the Wild inflicted on themselves (another late penalty when they are behind and trying to come back).
Not ready to end the game, Colin Miller took a game misconduct, while Tyler Randell and Ryan Carter got in a kerfuffle and served matching roughing penalties. Torey Krug got in on the fun as well, so the Wild were up a man, technically.
As the whistle was about to blow, Matt Beleskey (told you he'd come around again) decided to practice his golf swing on the back of Jason Zucker's knee.
Zucker stayed down on the ice for a good long while and had to be carried off the ice. He was completely unable to put weight on the leg, but there is a glimmer of hope from Pat Micheletti.
I guessing it hit a nerve. Perineal nerve to be exact. Same thing happened to me in college. #16— Pat Micheletti (@patmick2626) November 20, 2015
Regardless, there was no reason for a slash on that player at that point in this game. There's no way the DoPS looks at it, but it is exactly the kind of thing the league should be penalizing: a pointless action that benefitted no one besides future teams to play the Wild by injuring one of their best offensive players.
Hopefully that means he won't be out any games. In any case, the Wild lost 4-2, and it wasn't that close.
The Wild play again on Saturday, and they will need to put in a better effort tonight. Boston is a good team (with the league's best power play, or thereabouts). But this game was not Boston dominating, it was the Wild skating slowly, passing like they'd never touched a puck before, and turning the puck over like a pastry.
It's early to give up on the season, but it's been a good long while since the Wild have played well (or had a lead in a game, for that matter) and if they don't stop dropping points, that'll be all she wrote.