Wild vs. Bruins Preview


Boston Bruins at Minnesota Wild, 7pm tonight, NBCSN

It’s Rivalry Night on NBCSN, so naturally they’ve tapped the heated rivalry between the Bruins and Wild. Regardless of what the game is called, the Wild are facing a tough end of a back to back after they lost in semi-dramatic fashion last night in Chicago. This game is even more in question due to varying degrees of illness from Jared Sprugeon, Darcy Keumper and Niklas Backstrom. The Wild have already bested Boston once this season, scoring three goals in the third period to cap off an amazing comeback in Boston in October. The Bruins are struggling right now, and find themselves just this side of .500, but with the same amount of points as the Wild right now.

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Game Preview-

The Bruins are struggling, as you can see, and they’re lack of scoring punch in especially out of the ordinary for them. That being said, everyone knows how talented this team is, and that they are a tough team to beat any night of the week. It’s also worth noting that the Wild have alternated Wins and Losses for 12 games straight now, so they have yet to find any consistency either. Both of these teams are on the outside looking in of the very early playoff picture right now, which has got to be viewed as unacceptable from both fanbases. Hopefully the loss in Chicago last night is more motivating than draining, and the Wild can be the hungrier team tonight, since that’s what it will take to win this game.

Line Changes-

There doesn’t look to be any changes tonight, so it should look much like the game last night





Hopefully with Spurgeon expected to play after an illness, we may finally have our top 4 defensemen back together again for just the fourth time in the last 22 games, which would be incredibly helpful, given the situation with the goaltenders.

Goaltending Matchup

So the Wild are hoping that Backstrom can go tonight with Darcy Kuemper very ill, and John Curry having made the trip from Iowa after playing part of a game last night(and earning the second star of the game). Backstrom has been solid but pretty unspectacular so far this season, sporting a 2.43 GAA and .903 SV% with a 5-3-1 record.

Tuukka Rask is the likely starter for Boston tonight, as he has seen the lion’s share of the starts for the Bruins. After a Vezina winning campaign last year, Rask has fallen back to earth hard with a fairly pedestrian statline of 2.52 GAA, .914 SV% with a 12-9-3 record. Hoepfully the Wild can take advantage of Rask slumping, but the talent is obviously there, and Rask is just as prone to stealing a game as any other former Vezina winner.


The storyline to this one very well likely could have something to do with the game in Chicago last night, as I said, it could either be a motivating factor for the Wild, or be the reason that they come out flat and spot the Bruins a healthy lead. Given that the Wild are 2-0-1 on the second half of a back to back, hopefully they can keep up the trend of alternating wins and losses for just one more game.

Also worth watching for the Wild are two of the goal scorers from last night, Nino Niederreiter and Thomas Vanek, for obvious different reason. Nino is up to 14 goals on this young season, and seems to be really finding his offensive groove, while Vanek is also finding a little offensive groove with 4 points in 4 games after starting the season dreadfully slow.

The most likely story of the night will be the goaltending, as either Backstrom will put forth a very courageous effort in defeating the Burins, or will receive pity from most observers if the Bruins shell him tonight as he’s dealing with an illness. Having John Curry appear in the game at any point would be a storyline worth noting, but hopefully Backstrom can hold it together and it doesn’t come to that.