Saturday, February 18, 2012

Game Fifty Seven: Hockey Day In America

Whenever a team goes on an extended road trip, they are usually matched up with a team that they only see once a year. Sunday afternoon was one of those cases as the Bruins traveled to Minnesota to take on the Wild. This was game three of their six-game road trip.

The Wild once held the number one spot in the Western Conference at the midpoint of December. Ever since then they have lost all momentum. Coming into this game, they were riding a seven-game losing streak. All-Star center Mikko Koivu was ruled out for this game due to an undisclosed injury.

The Bruins are coming off a disappointing loss against Winnipeg on Friday night. Tyler Seguin missed practice on Saturday and Chris Kelly injured his teeth during the same practice. Both were in the lineup for this game. Boston needed those two players against a team that has given them problems before. Minnesota won the only meeting between the two teams last season.

Now let's get to the game. The Bruins held the Wild to very little offense by playing some great defense (yes, I said great defense) in the neutral zone. The fourth line of the B's was explosive as ever. Daniel Paille had three shots on goal and two breakaways alone. He was moved back down to the energy line and Josh Hennessy was moved up to the third line.

Minnesota got on the board first in the second period when Chad Rau scored his second goal of the season. Dany Heatley and Cal Clutterbuck made some quick passes in the neutral zone to set up Rau. The Wild went up 2-0 when Matt Cullen beat Tim Thomas on the power play.

The problem for the Bruins in this one was the outstanding play of Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom. He made 48 saves including a robbery on a shot by Milan Lucic. Solid goaltending will always get the better of you. The Bruins dropped this game by a score of 2-0.

The Bruins next game will be Wednesday night against the St. Louis Blues. Will there be a trade between now and then? Plan on it.

Gold Star: Daniel Paille...Going back to playing with his usual linemates really helped him in this game. He finished with three shots on goal.

Black Star: Brad Marchand...There were points in this game where he disappeared. He only recorded two shots and was not a pest at all.

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