(Photo Credit: David Berding-USA Today Sports)
By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty
Home: Minnesota Wild
Away: Boston Bruins
DeBrusk – Bergeron – Pastrnak
Johansson – Coyle – Senyshyn
Heinen – Frederic – Kuhlman
Nordstrom – Acciari – Backes
Krug – Carlo
Grzelcyk – Miller
Clifton – Kampfer
Donato – Staal – Kunin
Zucker – Eriksson Ek – Fiala
Greenway – Sturm – Rask
Foligno – Fehr – Brown
Suter – Spurgeon
Brodin – Hunt
Bitetto – Pateryn
This one featured plenty of storylines coming into it. For the Bruins, it marked the NHL debut of 2015 first-round pick, Zach Senyshyn. Additionally, Trent Frederic was called back up, and David Krejci, Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug, and Chris Wagner sat to rest before the quickly approaching first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The goaltending matchup was Jaroslav Halak vs. Alex Stalock.
Additionally, Charlie Coyle’s first game as a Bruin in Minnesota was set to get underway, as well as Ryan Donato’s first game against the Bruins as a member of the Wild. Minnesota had a debut of their own, as former Clarkson University captain Nico Sturm joined the team on an entry-level deal as an undrafted free agent following the conclusion of Clarkson’s season.
It was a milestone game for Bruce Cassidy, as this marked his 300th NHL game behind the bench. His record coming in was 163-98-38. Steven Kampfer also hit a career milestone with his 200th NHL game.
Good chances came on both sides throughout the first period, but no one could break through. Part of this on the Bruins end was undoubtedly due to the roster fluctuation ahead of the postseason. Sensyhyn showed a willingness to get amongst the action in the first period. With good chances and tempo, it’s a little surprising that we didn’t see any scoring on either side. The shots were 9-8 in favor of Minnesota.
The second frame got off to a rough start early on as Kevan Miller and Jordan Greenway brushed shoulders and Miller slid awkwardly into the boards. He was helped off the ice.
The Bruins came out hard to start, outshooting Minnesota 6-2 throughout the first six minutes of the period. It was just a matter of breaking through.
That all changed with a persistent forecheck from the Bruins fourth line, and good puck movement on the blue line. Joakim Nordstrom eventually buried his seventh goal of the season, assisted by Noel Acciari (8) and Matt Grzelcyk (15).
The first penalty of the game came against Luke Kunin for roughing with 5:05 to go in the period.
Good news came late in the period as Miller returned for the Bruins. For Minnesota, well, Alex Stalock was having quite a bit of fun. Here are a couple of examples.
That wasn’t the only time he went far out of his crease to play the puck, he did so on the defensive zone boards to his left. Oh yeah, he even did a bunny hop in his crease too.
Stalock’s antics were quite the spectacle. Otherwise, the Bruins took control and doubled the Wild’s shots at 18-9 for the period. Despite such domination in the shots on goal and scoring chances categories for the Bruins, their lead sat at just one.
Score: 1-0 Boston
The plot thickened for Kevan Miller as he was not seen on the bench to start the third period.
Brandon Carlo and Kunin both went off for roughing just less than two minutes in, neither team scored with the extra space to operate on the ice. Clifton then went off for interference about four minutes later, no dice for Minnesota.
Besides the Nordstrom goal, neither goal was giving an inch. Karson Kuhlman did ring the post one time, but the goaltending battle commenced. This was until David Pastrnak buried his 38th of the season to make it 2-0 towards the end of regulation. Jake DeBrusk (15) and Patrice Bergeron (48) had the assists.
Zach Senyshyn scored his first career NHL goal on an empty netter set up by Marcus Johansson (17) and Steven Kampfer (2).
The final shots were 35-26 in favor of the Bruins. The last game of the regular season is up next for the Bruins when the Tampa Bay Lightning come to town for some matinee hockey at 1 PM on Saturday.