Wild look to boost strong December with another win vs. Bruins


The Boston Bruins and Minnesota Wild will renew acquaintances for the second time this week, completing their season series with a pre-holiday date Saturday night in St. Paul, Minn.

Minnesota has won of five of its past six games, including back-to-back 4-3 overtime triumphs on Tuesday in Boston and Thursday against Montreal. Previously, the Wild had a three-game win streak snapped Monday in Pittsburgh.

Meanwhile, Boston will be completing a back-to-back after seeing its streak of four straight overtime games (1-0-3) snapped in a 5-1 loss at Winnipeg Friday.

Kirill Kaprizov has scored Minnesota’s past two overtime game-winners, joining defenseman Brent Burns as only the second player in Wild history to tally overtime winners in consecutive games. Burns did that in March 2007.

“Good players find ways in those situations,” Minnesota coach John Hynes said of Kaprizov. “That’s why he’s such a good offensive player. It’s just the instincts to get to spots where you can score. It’s not a coachable thing. That’s why guys like him are special players.”

Kaprizov and Marco Rossi each had a goal and two assists against Montreal.

Following Chicago’s Connor Bedard, Rossi — who had a Gordie Howe hat trick after fighting the Canadiens’ Kaiden Guhle — is the second NHL rookie to reach the 20-point mark this season.

Minnesota is 9-3-0 since Hynes was named head coach on Nov. 27, but injuries to defensemen Jonas Brodin and Jared Spurgeon, and to forwards Mats Zuccarello and Ryan Hartman, have made the back half of that run even more impressive.

“It’s not easy,” Wild forward Marcus Foligno said. “This is a hurt lineup. But at the same time, this is the character we have. We’re deep, and we have character guys that want to play the right way, and John has us with the right message and identity.”

The quick turnaround comes at a great time for the Bruins, who have now gone since Dec. 9 without a regulation win and are in the midst of their second three-game skid already this season. They have lost five of seven (2-2-3).

Boston was shut out until defenseman Brandon Carlo scored with 5:38 left in the third period on Friday.

Winnipeg held the star duo of 19-goal scorer David Pastrnak and captain Brad Marchand to a single shot on goal. As a team, the Bruins had logged just 13 shots through two periods and finished the game winning just 42.6 percent of faceoffs.

“I think our compete level (was most disappointing),” Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said. “We didn’t win enough one-on-one battles. It started in the faceoff circle and it just spiraled downhill from there.”

“We didn’t come to play (Friday night), and that’s on us,” Carlo said. “… We’re just going to continue to move forward.”

Another veteran Bruin, Jake DeBrusk, also failed to record a shot against the Jets and has yet to score a goal this month.

“It consumes you,” Montgomery said Thursday before the trip began. “No different than a baseball player, or a quarterback who hasn’t thrown a touchdown in three quarters. It’s your job, right? And when it’s your job, it consumes you.”

Prior to Friday, James van Riemsdyk had been on a strong run with points in four consecutive games.

The Bruins will be without defenseman Matt Grzelcyk for a second straight game. He did not make the trip north after suffering an upper-body injury early in Tuesday’s first period against Minnesota, though he did return after the intermission that night.

–Field Level Media

PHP Code Snippets Powered By : XYZScripts.com