The Minnesota Wild lost to the Boston Bruins by a 4-1 final score to start a three game east coast Eastern Conference road trip. Once again the Wild Killer, Jarome Iginla was a major factor in the Wild’s demise. He scored a pair of goals, including an empty netter to put the game out of reach. The Wild had but a single goal Monday night scored by Jason Pominville. Minnesota’s record drops to 35-23-10 and 12-16-5 on the road. This was the first time in 7 games that Minnesota lost against the Bruins on their home ice. Overall the Wild are now 10-2-0 against Boston all time. The Wild played well defensively but were shut down offensively by Tukka Rask who notched his fifth straight win making 33 saves on 34 shots. Minnesota had a number of grade A scoring opportunities throughout the game but could only beat Rask once. The Bruins run their win streak to 9 games with the win and have outscored opponents 37 to 13 during that stretch. This was only the second time in the last 12 games that the Wild have lost in regulation. Net minder Darcy Kuemper took the loss making 25 saves on 28 shots. His record now stands at 12-5-4 with a 2.22 goals against average and a .923 save %. The Wild have have to forget this loss quickly as they face the New York Islanders Tuesday evening at 6 pm Central Time.
The two squads played a scoreless first period at the TD Center. The Wild actually out shot the Bruins 10-8 over the first 20 minutes. Minnesota had the only power play of the game when Andrej Meszaros took a tripping call on Zach Parise. The Wild managed two shots on the man advantage but failed to score. This was the second straight game Minnesota has been called for O penalties, a franchise first. This was also the third time this season the team has recorded zero penalty minutes for a full game. The second period was a different story for the Wild as they surrendered two goals by the 12 minute mark. Jarome Iginla broke the scoreless tie with a fluky goal. His soft shot bounced off of defenseman Jonas Brodin and slipped between Kurmpers pads for the score. The second Bruins goal came from Loui Eriksson when he was lost by the Wild defense and left alone to flip home a shot after a pass by Carl Soderberg. Minnesota would finally get on the scoreboard at the 18:34 mark when Ryan Suter hit a streaking Jason Pominville with a pass up the middle of the ice. Pominville unleashed a slap shot that hit the right goal post and went into the net. Pomminville broke his stick on the shot send the blade sailing past Boston goalie Tukka Rask. That would be the extent of scoring for the Wild this evening. That goal was Pominville’s team leading 26th of the season on 48 points. He also has a personal point streak of 5 games. The assists on the goal went to Ryan Suter, his team leading 31st and Mikael Granlund, his 30 of the season. Minnesota has now gone 12 straight games scoring 3 or fewer goals but have lost only 2 of those, including tonight, in regulation.
The Bruins would make it a 3-1 game 7:50 into the third period on a Reilly Smith goal. Then with Darcy Kuemper pulled for an extra attacker Iginla would score an empty netter to put the game completely out of reach. Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo said in his post game comments, “We’re going to look at our lines tonight. I’m not sure that we have exactly the right mix.Whether we change 1, 2, 3 lines, I’m not sure.” That said I’d expect to see some different lines hit the ice in the morning skate and at game time against the Islanders Tuesday evening. Once again the Wild played well just not well enough against one of the top teams in the NHL. Tukka Rask was hot tonight, but how many times can you blame a hot goalie for losing a game in a single season. The Wild’s woes are not defensive. They just fail to score when needed night after night as is evidenced by their 27th ranked 2.32 goals a game average. This team needs to score. Period. Perhaps Coach Yeo will find the right line combinations starting with the game against the Islanders. I sure do hope so. Minnesota has 14 games left in the regular season and need to win the vast majority of them to stay at the top of the Wild Card chase in the Western Conference. At any rate I’ll be back Tuesday morning with a preview of Minnesota Wild vs New York Islanders. Until then this is Scott Drain still shouting, “Let’s Go Wild”