Don’t look now, but the Boston Bruins are on a five-game winning streak after shutting out the Minnesota Wild, 4-0, Tuesday night at TD Garden. The Bruins haven’t lost since Dec. 29th’s, 3-2, comeback win in overtime against the Sabres in Buffalo.
Boston improved to 15-3-2 when scoring first this season, as Danton Heinen recorded the game’s first goal. Brad Marchand, Jake DeBrusk and Patrice Bergeron each added goals of their own in the Bruins’ win.
Tuukka Rask (12-8-2 record, 2.43 goals against average, .920 save percentage in 22 games played) made 24 saves on 24 shots against for the win and his first shutout of the season.
Rask’s last shutout came on March 17, 2018 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tuesday night’s shutout was the 42nd of his career.
Alex Stalock (5-4-0, 2.75 GAA, .894 SV% in 11 GP) stopped 23 out of 27 shots faced for an .852 SV% in the loss for the Wild.
The B’s improved to 25-14-4 (54 points) on the season and remain 3rd in the Atlantic Division– two points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for 2nd place and two points ahead of the 4th place Sabres.
Minnesota fell to 21-18-3 (45 points) and remained 5th place in the Central Division.
Bruce Cassidy left his lines alone for Boston with Joakim Nordstrom (non-displaced fibular fracture) and Charlie McAvoy (lower body) still out of the lineup due to injury and Colby Cave, as well as Steven Kampfer, as the only healthy scratches Tuesday.
Moore fired a shot that Heinen tipped in past Stalock at 5:23 to give Boston the, 1-0, lead with Moore (6) and Krug (23) tallying the assists.
Moments later, Bruins captain, Zdeno Chara, cut a rut to the penalty box after being penalized for interference, having bumped into Minnesota’s Jordan Greenway without the puck at 7:00 of the first period.
The Bruins successfully killed off Chara’s minor infraction and momentum further swung to their side as almost a few minutes after the Wild’s power play failed, Marchand was in the right place at the right time.
Moore worked the puck over to Bergeron, who then fired a shot that went wide of the goal and caromed off the end-boards to Marchand as No. 63 in black-and-gold crashed the net.
Marchand (16) put home the rebound as Stalock was moving a step behind across the crease, giving Moore his first two-point game in a Bruins uniform.
Bergeron (23) and Moore (7) were credited with the assists at 11:29.
Late in the opening frame, the B’s and Wild swapped minor penalties with Kevan Miller going to the box first for holding Nino Niederreiter at 16:16, then Minnesota’s Eric Staal following up with a tripping minor against Rask at 17:42.
After an abbreviated 4-on-4 sequence, the Bruins went on an abbreviated power play that yielded their third goal of the period and first of two power play goals on the night.
Bergeron fired a shot towards the goal that deflected off of DeBrusk’s (14) chest and went past Stalock to give Boston a three-goal lead.
Bergeron (24) and Marchand (30) had the assists on DeBrusk’s goal at 19:15 of the first period and the B’s led, 3-0.
DeBrusk has four goals and one assist (five points) in his six games since returning from concussion-like symptoms.
Entering the first intermission, Boston was ahead by three goals and led in shots on goal, 15-6. Minnesota led in blocked shots (4-1), giveaways (5-2) and hits (13-9) after 20 minutes, while the Bruins led in face-off win percentage (67-33).
Both teams had two takeaways each through one period as the Wild went 0/2 on the power play and the B’s went 1/1.
Early in the second period, Zach Parise tripped Bergeron just past the six-minute mark of the middle frame and the Bruins went back on the power play.
Less than 20 seconds later, Bergeron (14) got his revenge on the scoreboard, redirecting a shot past Stalock for the power play goal at 6:24 of the second period.
Marchand (31) and Krug (24) had the assists on Bergeron’s goal and the Bruins led, 4-0.
Almost midway through the second period, with the pace in play rather deflated, Moore was charged with interference against Luke Kunin, resulting in the Wild’s final power play of the night and last chance to muster anything resembling the commencement of a comeback.
Minnesota did not convert on the ensuing skater advantage.
Through 40 minutes of play at TD Garden, the Bruins led, 4-0, on the scoreboard and, 20-18, in shots on goal. Minnesota actually outshot Boston, 12-5, in the second period alone, but the Wild couldn’t get past the brick wall of Rask in Boston’s crease.
The B’s led in blocked shots (13-5) and face-off win% (59-41) after two periods. Minnesota led in takeaways (6-3), giveaways (8-5) and hits (23-16), while finishing the night 0/3 on the power play.
The Bruins went 2/2 on the skater advantage Tuesday night.
There were no penalties and there was no scoring in the third period from either club as the Bruins secured the, 4-0, victory and finished the night leading in shots on goal (27-24), blocked shots (18-9), giveaways (12-11) and face-off win% (54-46).
The Wild finished the night leading in hits (28-21).
Boston hosts the Washington Capitals this Thursday night at the Garden before traveling to Scotiabank Arena for a battle with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday night.
The Bruins return home for a Monday night (Jan. 14th) rivalry matchup with the Montreal Canadiens, before traveling to Philadelphia for the first of back-to-back games on the road at Wells Fargo Center against the Flyers next Wednesday (Jan. 16th) and at home against the St. Louis Blues next Thursday (Jan. 17th).
They’ll play one more game after that against the New York Rangers at home next Saturday (Jan. 19th) before the All-Star break and bye week begins for Boston.