3 takeaways from the Bruins’ 5-2 win over the Wild
The Bruins avoided a big deficit early on as two Wild goals were knocked off the board before taking control to win.
The Boston Bruins entered Minnesota looking to build on their 3-0 victory over the Winnipeg Jets while shaking off losses in Detroit and Chicago.
A 60-minute effort led by Brad Marchand’s three assists resulted in Boston’s 52nd league-leading victory this season and the end of the Wild’s 14-game point streak.
Boston’s tilt against Minnesota was indeed “wild.” Saturday’s game featured 11 combined penalties and a pair of successful coaching challenges thrown by Jim Montgomery.
Boston’s two challenges came at critical times. The first challenge kept Minnesota’s lead at 1-0. The second review held Boston’s cushion 2-1.
After Saturday, Boston’s video coaches are now five-for-five on the season in knocking down goals.
Former Bruin Marcus Johansson struck at 10:15 in the first period to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead. A collision between Hampus Lindholm and Brandon Carlo resulted in Johansson’s commitment in a de facto 3v0 at the gates of Linus Ullmark.
As the last minute of the opening period approached, Jake DeBrusk jumped over the boards and flew to the offensive side, receiving a perfect board-to-board pass from captain Patrice Bergeron. The sixth-year Bruin shot over Filip Gustavsson’s glove to tie the game at 1-1.
Boston’s plummeting power play hit early in the second, as David Pastrnak’s wrist shot pierced Gustavsson for his 47th goal of the season. Pastrnak’s scorer broke his 22-game skid without a power play count.
The Bruins extended their lead to 3-1 with less than six minutes remaining in the second period. A lucky rebound from a Minnesota defenseman in David Krejci who tried to get across the net to Charlie McAvoy made its way under Gustavsson’s pads, giving Boston some insurance.
Minnesota cut Boston’s lead to 7:17 after the start of the third after an effective power-play goal from Oskar Sundqvist.
The dynamic duo of Marchand and Bergeron connected again to regain Boston’s two-goal lead with 7:38 left in regulation. Marchand got rid of his defender by skating behind the net and found a tightly covered Bergeron, whose shot easily beat Gustavsson.
Trent Frederic’s empty-netter solidified Boston’s 5-2 win over the Wild.
Here’s what we learned from Boston’s impressive outing at St. Paul.
Boston special teams practiced.
Neither team lacked male advantages in Saturday’s encounter. The Bruins had four chances to the Wild’s five, with each team scoring a power-play goal.
Boston’s discipline hasn’t been too much of a concern this season. But repeatedly committing avoidable offenses as they did throughout Saturday afternoon – including delaying Dmitry Orlov’s game penalty late in the middle stanza – is not a trend that one Bostonian wants to see, especially with one of their most reliable penalty killers in Derek Forbort on the lineup.
Even though Minnesota’s power play managed to score third on Gustavsson’s count, Forbort’s absence didn’t haunt the Bruins. Once again, Boston relied on its league-leading penalty kill to keep the Wild at bay.
Boston’s impressive shorthanded unit has regained its form over the past two games. The Bruins killed nine of ten penalties after allowing three goals on six combined power-play chances against Detroit and Chicago.
The Bruins continue to thrive when it matters most.
After sustaining such a historic pace, Boston’s passionate fanbase has raised their expectations and now expect the Bruins to win almost every night.
Some fans started pressing the panic button mid-week. Those worries have eased — a 10-game winning streak can do that — but concerns were raised when the Bs lost back-to-back games to non-playoff teams at the start of their current five-game road trip.
The Bruins responded to their disappointing losses in Detroit and Chicago with back-to-back wins over much more threatening teams in Winnipeg and Minnesota.
Behind one of the league’s best goaltending duos, Gustavsson and Marc-Andre Fleury, Minnesota recorded a 14-game point streak on Saturday. Marchand and Charlie Coyle both acknowledged the higher stakes against one of the hottest teams in the NHL in recent times.
“It was a good test for us. They’ve been playing really well lately,” Marchand told NESN’s Sophia Jurksztowicz. regularly for 60 minutes. I think we did a very good job tonight, and we didn’t really have any big disappointments throughout the game. And when we had to grow up, we did.
“Usually when we play tough teams and teams that have done well, we get to our game right away because we know we have to,” Coyle said in his post-match interview with the Los Angeles Times. media.
Speaking of the Weymouth native…
Coyle was possessed.
There is something in this air of Saint Paul for Coyle. The former Minnesota center was easily Boston’s most dynamic player.
On Saturday, Coyle used his size, strength, speed and reach to separate himself from his defenders and generate attacking opportunities out of thin air.
“He’s just a boy kid there,” Montgomery told NESN’s Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley of Coyle’s dominating exit. “It looked like he was a grown man who sometimes played against pees, especially in the last minute of play. It was quite impressive.
In logging 17:23 of ice time, Coyle recorded one assist, five shots on goal, led all shorthanded forwards on the ice and won seven of ten faceoffs.
“It’s always fun to come back here. I loved it here and playing in this building,” Coyle told reporters. “There are a lot of memories and things going through your mind, but it makes you play even harder and makes you want to win for your team now and get the better of these guys.”
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