Bruins dominate Wild for ninth straight; extend lead over Penguins to five
Bruins' winger Jarome Iginila poses with the puck from is 555th career goal. Iginla played in 1300th game on Monday.
it was because they were hosting a Western Conference foe or just
because the Minnesota Wild are a superior team to the Boston Bruins'
last eight foes, from the very beginning the match at TD Garden in
downtown Boston had a different feel to it.
But in the end
it had the old feel, the machine from Beantown crushing yet another
opponent, methodically wearing down the slick skaters from Minnesota,
the Bruins turning a one goal lead at the end of two into a 4-1 rout on
Monday night for their ninth consecutive victory.
sizzling hot Jarome Iginla potted two of the four goals, on a long-range
knuckler that faked out Minnesota goaltender Darcy Kuemper and the other
an empty net finisher, Riley Smith got a slump-buster and Loui Eriksson
found twine on a spectacular feed from Carl Soderberg as the Bruins
increased their lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins for the top seed in
the Eastern Conference to five points.
Tuukka Rask stopped all but one of Minnesota's 34 shots, allowing only a
Jason Pominville breakaway goal late in the second period.
Wild are as quick and aggressive as their name would suggest, and when
mixed with their penchant for risky behavior in their own zone, it makes
them a dangerous matchup for a grinding, heavy team like the Bruins -
and also more risky as the Bruins may be the most opportunistic squad in
the league up and down all four lines...
Minnesota had their chances, throwing the deep ball off of big rebounds
with stretch passes across two zones, but Rask stoned every breakaway
chance but one to earn his 31st win of the season.
first period belonged to the aggressive Wild, outshooting the Bruins
10-8 to open the game and winning most of the battles along the boards
and getting to just about every puck before the Bruins did, but as it turns
out, it was just a matter of the patient Bruins taking Minnesota's best
shot and counter punching in the second frame.
goals came in his 1300th game in the National Hockey League, the first a
knuckler off the hip of Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin from the top of
the left circle that Kuemper mis-timed and tumbled through his wickets
for a 1-0 Boston lead just less than four minutes into the second...
Eriksson was the beneficiary of some nifty stick work from big Swedish
centerman Carl Soderberg, who shoplifted a puck from Kyle Brodziak while
the centerman was looking for an outlet from the zone, then circled
around the back of the net - blocked from attempting the wrap around
shot he instead floated to the wing and hit Eriksson's tape with a nifty
pass across the low slot.
The Wild got one back late
in the period on a Jason Pominville break away - literally - as he beat
Matt Bartkowski to one of those stretch passes that he caught up to at
the high point with a step on the Bruins' defenseman, Bartkowski
chopping down on Pominville's stick as he shot, his stick snapping in
half as the puck lodged in the net behind Rask.
Minnesota couldn't capitalize on their brief momentum shift to end the
second period, which was unfortunate because the Bruins took control of
the final frame from opening faceoff - Smith snapping in a big rebound
in the low slot off a Patrice Bergeron shot to put the game out of
reach, then Iginla wristed one into the empty net from center ice with a
minute to play to provide the final tally.
was just the second in regulation for the Wild in their last dozen
contests, and maintain their lead over Dallas for the first wildcard
spot in the Western Conference playoff race.
now catch the red eye to New Jersey, where the will face off against
the Devils on Tuesday night when the have a chance to match the longest
winning streak in the NHL this season with a win, then could extend that
to the longest with a victory over the Avalanche in Denver on Friday