Torey Krug scored the game-winning goal in overtime in his return to the lineup for the Boston Bruins, while Patrice Bergeron contributed four assists in their, 5-4, comeback win over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night at TD Garden.
Tuukka Rask (11-2-2 record, 2.18 goals against average, .928 save percentage in 15 games played) made 32 saves on 36 shots faced (.889 SV%) in the overtime win for the Bruins.
Jaroslav Halak was originally slated to start, but was sick and replaced by Rask ahead of warmups Saturday.
Minnesota goaltender, Alex Stalock (5-3-1, 2.79 GAA, .908 SV% in 12 games played) had a season-high 34 saves on 39 shots against for an .872 SV% in the overtime loss.
Boston improved to 15-3-5 (35 points) on the season, while maintaining their top of the Atlantic Division statues.
Meanwhile, Minnesota slipped to 9-11-3 (21 points) on the season and remained last (7th) in the Central Division.
The Bruins improved to 9-0-4 at home this season and the Wild fell to 8-4-1 all time in Boston.
The B’s are now on a three-game winning streak.
Kevan Miller (knee) suffered a setback in his ongoing efforts to return from his injuries near the end of last season and in the offseason and missed his 23rd game this season on Saturday.
Miller and John Moore (shoulder) have yet to make their season debuts for Boston so far.
The Bruins were also without the services of Karson Kuhlman (fractured tibia), David Backes (upper body), Zach Senyshyn (lower body) and Par Lindholm (laceration) on Saturday night against the Wild.
Kuhlman’s been out for the last 15 games and is still wearing a boot after being injured in Toronto on Oct. 19th, while Backes participated in Saturday’s optional morning skate in a red no-contact sweater.
Backes’ ongoing upper body injury– likely a concussion suffered in his collision with Ottawa Senators forward, Scott Sabourin, on Nov. 2nd– is one that the Bruins are not looking to rush his return, considering it would be at least his third concussion with the club since signing with Boston on July 1, 2016.
Meanwhile, Senyshyn missed his 5th consecutive game and cannot be reassigned to the Providence Bruins (AHL) while injured, so even though most of Boston’s forwards are ready to go and his services are not needed, the focus is on his return to health before he can be assigned as necessary in whatever role the team feels is right for him.
Lindholm sustained a cut in Thursday night’s matchup with the Buffalo Sabres, missed most of the first period, but returned and would have been a healthy scratch on Saturday with Brett Ritchie’s return to the lineup.
Now, instead of Lindholm sitting comfortably in the press box on level nine at TD Garden, he is likely doing so while bandaged or stitched up and doing his best to heal while taking in the game.
Bruce Cassidy juggled his lines for Boston’s matchup with Minnesota, moving Chris Wagner to the second line right wing slot with Jake DeBrusk on the left wing and David Krejci at center and returning Charlie Coyle to the third line center position between Anders Bjork and Danton Heinen.
Ritchie’s return to action meant he’d skate on the fourth line right wing with Joakim Nordstrom on the left and Sean Kuraly down the middle.
On defense, Krug returned to the action for the B’s after missing the last five games with an upper body injury and resumed his role as a second pairing defender on the left side with Brandon Carlo as his partner.
Matt Grzelcyk returned to his usual spot on the third defensive pairing, but was matched up with Steven Kampfer on Saturday as Cassidy wanted to keep his veteran 7th defender fresh and scratched Connor Clifton for a night.
As a result of Krug’s return, Urho Vaakanainen was reassigned to Providence.
Jared Spurgeon kicked off the game’s action with a hooking penalty against Bjork at 1:07 of the first period. Boston didn’t convert on the ensuing power play opportunity.
Less than a minute after their power play expired, the Bruins were shorthanded when Zdeno Chara hooked Jason Zucker at 3:55.
Minnesota was unsuccessful on their first skater advantage of the night.
But at 8:46 of the opening frame, Krug slashed Kevin Fiala in retaliation for some stick work that Fiala had initiated on Krug, resulting in the Wild’s second power play of the game.
This time around, Minnesota was sure to notch a power play goal as Zucker (8) collected a goal off a rebound from Brad Hunt’s initial shot from the point to give the Wild the, 1-0, lead at 8:53, while on the skater advantage.
Hunt (6) and Mats Zuccarello (6) tallied the assists on the goal.
It was the 7th time this season that the Bruins gave up the first goal in a game– and for the 2nd consecutive game as the B’s allowed the first goal on Thursday against the Sabres.
Midway through the period, Brad Marchand and Matt Dumba exchanged pleasantries along the wall, yielding roughing minors at 11:25 and resulting in 4-on-4 action.
About 90 seconds later, the Wild went on a rare 4-on-3 power play thanks to Charlie McAvoy’s tripping infraction against Zucker at 12:56.
Minnesota was unable to convert on the resulting abbreviated 4-on-3 and 5-on-4 opportunities.
After one period of play at TD Garden on Saturday night, the Wild led the Bruins, 1-0, on the scoreboard with Minnesota holding the advantage in shots on goal, 15-10.
The Wild also led in takeaways (5-2) and hits (9-7), while the Bruins led in faceoff win percentage (54-46).
Both teams had four blocked shots aside and two giveaways each heading into the first intermission.
Minnesota was 1/3 on the power play and Boston was 0/1 on the skater advantage entering the second period.
Early in the middle frame, Chara blasted a shot from the blue line that was tipped in by DeBrusk (4), tying the game, 1-1, at 4:14 of the second period.
Chara (6) and Ritchie (2) picked up the assists on DeBrusk’s goal, yielding Ritchie’s first assist on a goal since Oct. 19th in Toronto.
Two minutes later, Victor Rask (2) turned and angled his skates flawlessly at a flying pass from Spurgeon to put Minnesota back into command of the scoreboard, 2-1, with a goal at 6:14.
Spurgeon (9) and Ryan Suter (11) nabbed the assists as the Wild regained the lead.
Midway through the period, Chara caught Zucker with a high stick that drew blood and resulted in a four-minute double-minor for Boston’s captain at 12:43.
Eric Staal (7) deflected Suter’s shot on the ensuing power play to the empty space right in front of himself and utilized his hand-eye coordination to whack the loose puck into the twine as the Bruins netminder reacted to the initial shot by the Wild defender.
Suter (12) and Zuccarello (7) each earned their second assist of the night as Minnesota pulled ahead, 3-1, at 14:26.
Moments later, Marchand cross checked Carson Soucy and presented the Wild with yet another power play at 17:14. This time, Minnesota was unsuccessful on the advantage.
With only seconds remaining in the period, Krug sent a shot that caromed off the boards and back into the slot whereby Marchand (16) snagged the rebound and sent the puck into the back of the twine– bringing the Bruins to within one-goal– at 19:56.
Krug (12) and Bergeron (13) had the assists as the B’s trailed, 3-2, entering the second intermission.
Through 40 minutes of action, the Wild led the Bruins, 3-2, on the scoreboard and, 26-23, in shots on goal– despite Boston holding a, 13-11, advantage in the second period alone.
Boston led in blocked shots (12-11) and faceoff win% (52-48), while Minnesota led in takeaways (5-4) and hits (16-13) heading into the third period.
Both teams had three giveaways aside and the Wild were 2/6 on the power play, while the Bruins were still 0/1.
Just 30 seconds into the third period, Bergeron tripped Jonas Brodin and was charged with Boston’s 7th straight penalty of the night.
Minnesota did not score while Bergeron was in the box, but capitalized on a lucky bounce early in the period when Fiala (5) tried to work a backhand deke through the low slow while attempting to shake off a Bruins defender and accidentally sent the puck airborne, deflecting it off of Krug’s stick and into Boston’s own net.
Fiala’s unassisted effort gave the Wild a, 4-2, lead at 5:19 of the third period.
Midway through the final frame of regulation, Minnesota’s Victor Rask, received a holding penalty at 14:39 and ended Boston’s run of seven consecutive penalties in the game.
The Bruins did not score on their second power play of the night.
With 2:22 remaining in regulation, Cassidy pulled his netminder for an extra attacker, which proved successful– not just once, but twice– first on Krejci’s (3) goal at 18:05 and then again on the power play with another goal from Krejci (4) at 18:53.
On Krejci’s first goal of the game, DeBrusk couldn’t redirect an initial attempt into the net, leading to Bergeron’s quick tap of the puck to the veteran No. 2 center for the surefire goal on the unguarded side of the net while Stalock was out of position.
Bergeron (14) and DeBrusk (4) had the assists as the Bruins pulled to within one, 4-3, at 18:05.
Then at 18:29, Minnesota’s Luke Kunin tripped McAvoy, which led to Boston’s third power play opportunity of the game and Minnesota’s 2nd consecutive penalty of the night.
While Kunin was in the box, the Bruins went to work on a 6-on-4 advantage with 1:31 remaining on the gameclock and their goalie pulled.
That’s when, at 18:53, Krejci rocketed a one-timer pass from Bergeron into the back of the net after Bergeron had enough time to retrieve a new stick from the bench and chip in for his third assist of the night, tying the game, 4-4.
Bergeron (15) and Krug (13) tallied the assists on Krejci’s second goal and the B’s forced overtime for the 6th time this season after scoring two goals in 48 seconds.
After 60 minutes, Boston led Minnesota in shots on goal, 38-33, and had a, 15-7, advantage in shots on net in the third period alone.
The Bruins also led in hits (25-23) and faceoff win% (52-48) heading into overtime, but the Wild led in blocked shots (15-13), takeaways (13-6) and giveaways (7-5) as the extra frame began.
Since no penalties were called in overtime, Minnesota finished the night 2/7 on the power play and Boston went 1/3 on the skater advantage.
Cassidy started overtime with Krug, Marchand and Bergeron on the ice while Bruce Boudreau opted for Joel Eriksson Ek, Suter and Spurgeon to kick things off for Minnesota.
Midway through the overtime period, Krug (3) waltzed his way from end-to-end, skating right up the middle of the ice while the Wild players just… let him go by… …and slipped a shot through Stalock’s five-hole to complete Boston’s comeback and seal the deal on a, 5-4, overtime win.
Once more, Bergeron (16) and Marchand (23) had the assists as Bergeron picked up his fourth assist of the game on Krug’s game-winning overtime goal at 2:41 of the extra frame– completing a span of three goals in 4:36 elapsed game time from the third period to the end of overtime for Boston.
The Bruins finished the night leading in shots on goal, 39-36, despite trailing in shots on goal in the overtime period, 3-1, to the Wild.
Minnesota wrapped the night up leading in blocked shots (16-13) and giveaways (7-5), while Boston ended the night leading in hits (25-23) and both teams split faceoff win% (50-50).
The Wild fell to 0-3 on the season in overtime, but the Bruins improved to 1-1 in the extra frame this season, while improving to 2-2-2 when trailing after two periods.
Boston finished their two-game homestand 2-0-0.
The B’s will begin a two-game road trip with games on back-to-back nights next Tuesday in Montreal and Wednesday in Ottawa before returning home to close out the month of November against the New York Rangers in a Black Friday matinee in the NHL’s 2019 Discover Thanksgiving Showdown.
The Bruins will unveil their new alternate sweaters on Sunday at an event for season ticket holders and likely debut their new threads on the ice in their matchup with the Rangers.