Jordan Greenway scored the go-ahead goal and Ryan Hartman added an empty net goal for insurance in the Minnesota Wild’s, 4-2, victory over the Boston Bruins Wednesday night at Xcel Energy Center.
Cam Talbot (23-12-1, 2.98 goals-against average, .907 save percentage in 37 games played) made 24 saves on 26 shots faced in the win for the Wild.
Bruins goaltender, Jeremy Swayman (17-8-3, 2.10 goals-against average, .925 save percentage in 29 games played), stopped 30 out of 33 shots against in the loss.
The B’s fell to 37-19-5 (79 points) overall and remain in command of 4th place in the Atlantic Division as well as the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Minnesota, meanwhile, improved to 35-20-4 (74 points) on the season and rose to 3rd place in the Central Division.
Patrice Bergeron (upper body) joined Jakub Zboril (right ACL) and Urho Vaakanainen (undisclosed) on Boston’s short list of players out of the lineup due to injury ahead of Wednesday night’s game in Minnesota.
Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, told reporters before the game that Bergeron would miss at least two games (Wednesday night in Minnesota and Friday night in Winnipeg) and has returned to Boston for further evaluation as the team doesn’t want to risk the infection of a lingering injury.
Bergeron may join the team in Montréal on Monday if he is cleared by doctors in Boston.
Jack Studnicka was recalled from the Providence Bruins (AHL), but could not make it in time to St. Paul, so he’ll join the big Bruins in Winnipeg.
In the meantime, Anton Blidh re-entered the lineup on the fourth line with Curtis Lazar shifting to center, while Tomáš Nosek was promoted to first line center duties against Minnesota.
Jack Ahcan was the only healthy scratch for Boston on Wednesday, while Jake DeBrusk took part in his 300th career National Hockey League game and Trent Frederic suited up in his 100th career game.
Brandon Carlo tripped up Kevin Fiala and presented the Wild with the first power play of the night at 5:40 of the first period.
It wasn’t that long before Minnesota converted on the skater advantage courtesy of an attacking zone faceoff win that the Wild utilized to work the puck around to Kirill Kaprizov (31) for a left hand shot from the right side, possibly off of a Bruins defender and past Swayman to make it, 1-0.
Alex Goligoski (26) and Hartman (21) tallied the assists on Kaprizov’s power-play goal and the Wild jumped on the board first at 6:55 of the first period.
A couple minutes later, Frederic and Brandon Duhaime exchanged fisticuffs as the temperature of the game was rising– crescendoing with five-minute majors for fighting for each player at 8:54.
Less than a minute later, Boston was back on the penalty kill when Erik Haula tripped Greenway at 9:41, but the B’s managed to kill off Haula’s minor infraction without issue.
Late in the period, Mats Zuccarello sent a stretch pass to Kaprizov through the neutral zone while Kaprizov was standing at the attacking zone blue line and sent No. 97 on a rush into Boston’s own zone.
Kaprizov blew past the uprights as Bruins defenders, Charlie McAvoy and Mike Reilly, were caught trailing the play while Kaprizov (32) elevated a shot top-shelf past Swayman to give the Wild a, 2-0, lead at 14:28 of the first period.
Zuccarello (42) and Jared Spurgeon (21) notched the assists on Kaprizov’s second goal of the game.
Boston stopped the bleeding shortly thereafter when Frederic sent a shot pass to the slot that deflected off of Matt Dumba’s skate in Craig Smith’s direction as Smith (14) was crashing the net and buried the rebound to cut Minnesota’s lead in half, 2-1, at 16:59.
Frederic (9) and Carlo (7) had the assists on Smith’s goal.
About a minute later, Greenway caught Connor Clifton with a high stick and was cut a rut to the sin bin as a result at 18:04.
Despite Boston’s power play extending into the middle frame, the Bruins were unsuccessful on the skater advantage.
Entering the first intermission, the Wild led, 2-1, on the scoreboard despite both teams amassing eight shots on net each.
Minnesota held the advantage in takeaways (1-0), giveaways (4-2), hits (11-8), faceoff win percentage (60-40) and was 1/2 on the power play, while Boston was 0/1 on the skater advantage heading into the middle frame.
Kaprizov was penalized for holding at 1:15 of the second period and the B’s made quick work of the ensuing power play.
About 30 seconds after Kaprizov sat on the penalty bench, Brad Marchand (24) riffled a catch and release shot from the high slot underneath Talbot’s glove side and over his leg pad to tie the game, 2-2, with a power-play goal– snapping an eight game goal-scoring drought for No. 63 in black and gold in the process.
Charlie Coyle (19) and McAvoy (31) had the assists on Marchand’s goal at 1:49 of the second period.
Almost midway through the period, Smith was sent to the box for slashing Zuccarello while the two battled for the puck in the neutral zone, but Minnesota couldn’t get anything going on the power play at 8:18.
Through 40 minutes of action, the score was tied, 2-2, despite Boston outshooting Minnesota, 17-15, overall, including a, 9-7, advantage in the second period alone.
The Wild continued to hold the advantage in blocked shots (10-9), takeaways (6-2), giveaways (6-3) and hits (20-15), while the Bruins led in faceoff win% (54-47).
Minnesota was 1/3 on the skater advantage, while Boston was 1/2 on the power play heading into the final frame.
After hacking at the puck for a while, the rubber biscuit sprung loose from the crease and the Wild pounced on it before working it around the attacking zone, whereby Goligoski passed it to Spurgeon along the blue line.
Spurgeon’s shot from the point went off Swayman before Greenway (6) slipped home the rebound under Swayman’s blocker side as the Bruins goaltender was outstretched in desperation to make a paddle save.
Minnesota went up, 3-2, at 7:56 of the third period courtesy of Greenway’s goal, while Spurgeon (22) and Goligoski (27) tabbed the assists.
Late in the period, Smith and Jon Merrill exchanged pleasantries and yielded 4-on-4 action for a pair of minutes as each player received two minutes for roughing in a post-whistle scrum at 15:38.
With 1:10 remaining in the action, Cassidy pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker.
After a stoppage with 51 seconds left on the clock, Cassidy used his timeout to rally Boston for a game-tying goal but it was to no avail.
David Pastrnak turned the puck over off of Hartman in the neutral zone before Hartman (24) raced to the puck first and put the icing on the cake in the empty net at 19:55.
At the final horn, the Wild won, 4-2, and finished the night with the advantage in shots on goal, 34-26, including a, 19-9, advantage in the third period alone– which marked the most shots that the Bruins allowed in any third period this season.
The B’s left the building leading in blocked shots (20-13), while Minnesota exited their home ice with the win and the advantage in giveaways (8-4), hits (26-24) and faceoff win% (52-49).
The Wild finished the night 1/3 on the power play, while the Bruins went 1/2 on the skater advantage on Wednesday.
Boston fell to 10-12-3 (4-6-2 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 5-12-2 (1-6-1 on the road) when trailing after the first period and 8-4-0 (3-3-0 on the road) when tied after two periods this season.
Minnesota improved to 22-7-1 (10-2-1 at home) when scoring first, 20-1-1 (10-0-1 at home) when leading after one period and 8-2-0 (6-0-0 at home) when tied after the second period in 2021-22.
The Bruins continue their four-game road trip (1-1-0) Friday night in Winnipeg before wrapping things up in Montréal next Monday, which also happens to be the same day as the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline (March 21st).
Boston returns home to host the Tampa Bay Lightning on March 24th.
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