So the Minnesota Wild finished their four-game road trip Tuesday night against the Boston Bruins and it was a tale of two games really. Split into 30-minute segments where in one segment, the opener, the Bruins put on an absolute clinic, and the second, where both teams seemed content to just play loosey goosey hockey and try to have some fun with it.
With the Wild having assured themselves a winning road trip after a tough 1-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Monday, their strategy against the Bruins seemed to be see if you can get something started, but eh. With the trip already a success, it was pretty clear the Wild were just not interested in getting into a sprint with a Bruins squad who had a couple nights off leading into Tuesday’s contest. They were tired, the Bruins knew it, and they put this game to bed pretty quickly.
The Bruins had first period goals from Danton Heinen, Brad Marchand, and Jake Debrusk who really sealed this game up when he deflected the puck off his chest and past Alex Stalock. Up to that point the Bruins had only been skating circles around the Wild, but at that bounce of the puck the writing was on the wall. Patrice Bergeron would add a fourth goal for the Bruins early in the second period, not that it mattered. By this point in the game the atmosphere had started shifting, perhaps the Bruins were just playing down to the Wild.
At the same time, these guys are professionals. It’s their job to show up for these things. On the Bruins first goal Joel Eriksson-Ek got tangled up in the corner and caught out in no-mans-land leaving Heinen all alone in front for a nice deflection past Stalock. Marchand’s goal came after Bergeron rocketed one off the end boards and Marchand was right there to put the ricochet in the net. Some real great awareness on Marchand’s part as Stalock was out playing Bergeron’s shot from the point, and Greg Pateryn and Charlie Coyle were left spinning in search of the shot.
The Wild had a few chances throughout the game, but they weren’t putting anything past Tuukka Rask in net for the Bruins who stopped all 24 shots he faced. The Bruins were suffocating on the Wild’s three power play opportunities, not allowing even a shot on goal while the Wild had the man-advantage.
It was definitely a frustrating night for Alex Stalock who if you think about it kinda got the short end of the stick tonight, playing behind a clearly tired team against a great, well-rested Bruins team. He would stop 23 of 27 shots faced. I hope Bruce Boudreau gets him back in a game soon so he can wash this bad taste out of his mouth.
Your Minnesota Wild will be back at home on Thursday as they welcome the Winnipeg Jets to town and everything that comes with that. (Enjoy our city Jets fans. Don’t litter. Thanks.) The Jets are playing alright hockey, I guess. They put up a balmy 7-4 win against the Colorado Avalanche Tuesday night, 12 goals in their last two games. Whatevs. These games tend to be fun, hopefully the Wild show up for this one.