(SportsNetwork.com) – The Boston Bruins will try to earn only their second win
in December when they visit the Minnesota Wild for Wednesday’s battle at Xcel
Boston has a 1-4-2 record this month, with both losses after regulation coming
in the club’s past two outings. Last season’s Presidents’ Trophy winners have
just 33 points in 2014-15, leaving the Bruins a point out of a playoff spot in
the Eastern Conference.
The Bruins could have a difficult time ending a three-game slide tonight
considering Boston’s history against Minnesota. The Wild have dominated the
Bruins since entering the league as an expansion club in 2000-01, going 12-2-1
in the 15 all-time meetings. Minnesota also boasts a 6-1-1 record as the host
in this matchup.
Boston lost for the fourth time in the last five encounters with the Wild on
Oct. 28, as Minnesota scored three unanswered goals in the third period to
take a 4-3 decision at TD Garden.
The Wild, however, could be forced to play without either of their top two
goaltenders on Wednesday. No. 1 Darcy Kuemper was scratched with an illness
before Tuesday’s loss in Chicago and he isn’t expected to be able to suit up
tonight. Niklas Backstrom started Tuesday’s contest, but also is said to be
dealing with the same stomach issue and he may not be able to go on Wednesday
John Curry has been recalled from Iowa of the American Hockey League and he
could get the start for the Wild. The 30-year-old journeyman made one start
for Minnesota in 2013-14. If neither Backstrom or Kuemper is able to suit up,
Johan Gustafsson also may be recalled to serve as the backup.
Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon also has missed the last two games with a
stomach bug and is questionable for tonight.
The Bruins, who are 0-1-2 since captain Zdeno Chara returned from a 19-game
absence due to a knee injury, have dropped their last two outings in the
After falling in Saturday’s 3-2 decision to Ottawa on home ice, the B’s lost
by the same score Tuesday in Nashville. Derek Roy recorded the lone goal of
the shootout for the Predators as Boston fell in the opener of a three-game
Milan Lucic and Reilly Smith scored once each in regulation for the Bruins.
Tuukka Rask came up with 38 saves in the game’s first 65 minutes, but was
powerless to prevent Roy’s dekes from pulling him out of position before a
backhander provided the hosts’ winning margin.
“This is an important road trip for us and it would have been really nice to
get that extra point,” said Smith.
Backup netminder Niklas Svedberg could get the start tonight in net. Svedberg
is 3-4-0 with a 2.28 goals against average in nine games this season, but has
never faced the Wild.
The Wild have lost two of their last three games and fell 5-3 in Chicago on
Tuesday. Patrick Kane’s late power-play goal was the game-winner for the
Blackhawks, but Minnesota wasn’t happy about the call that led to that man
Minnesota defenseman Erik Haula was whistled for hooking with 4:35 left in
regulation and Kane scored 67 seconds later to give Chicago a 4-3 lead. The
Blackhawks would later seal the game on an empty-net tally from Ben Smith.
“Four minutes left and (the referee) decides a good hockey game with a weak
penalty like that,” Haula said.
Head coach Mike Yeo seemed to agree with his player’s assessment of the call.
“That time in a hockey game in a tie game, a one-handed hook on a dead play,
pretty frustrating,” Yeo said.
Nino Niederreiter scored on a penalty shot for Minnesota, while Marco
Scandella and Thomas Vanek also posted goals in the loss. Backstrom gave up
four goals on 38 shots.
The Wild trailed Chicago 3-1 after 40 minutes before Niederreiter and
Scandella drew the club even with goals earlier in the third period.
Minnesota hopes to get back in the win column tonight when it begins a four-
game homestand. The Wild are 9-3-1 as the hosts this season
Boston is 6-7-1 as the guest and will complete this swing Friday in Winnipeg.