The Minnesota Wild head back on the road for an eventful week full of hockey games. They’ll start the run of four road games in six days with a contest in Boston.
It was a disappointing .500 homestand for the Wild (5-5-2), finished off with a shutout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. The Wild look to rebound with a successful road trip against the Eastern Conference; they’ve only won back-to-back games once this season. The Bruins and Wild have each only played 12 games this season, the fewest in the league (along with Carolina).
The good news is the Wild will face the Bruins (5-4-3), a team its beaten six straight times at the TD Garden and also shut out twice last season with Devan Dubnyk (4-4-1) in goal. The Wild also have a good history against the Bruins, going 14-4-2 all-time and 8-2-0 in Boston.
After the Wild were shut out in their last game, head coach Bruce Boudreau said they’d get back to the drawing board for the road trip. He reportedly changed up their lines during the morning skate in Boston, according to Michael Russo of The Athletic. It’s not an uncommon procedure when things aren’t going well.
Eric Staal has 15 goals against the Bruins in his career, and Tyler Ennis has 17 points in 27 games. Ice-time muncher Ryan Suter skated for 27:27 in the last game against Chicago. Suter is sixth in the league for time-on-ice per game at 26:17. Mikko Koivu has three points in his last four games (1-2—3).
The Bruins are 3-1-3 in their last seven games. Zdeno Chara is slated to play in career game No. 833 in a Bruins uniform tonight, which would tie Dit Clapper for fourth-most games played by a defenseman in the club’s history. Chara has seven points in 18 games against the Wild. Brad Marchand will need to be contained; he leads the Bruins with 14 points.
Boston’s power play is 12-for-43 this season and fourth-best in the NHL; however, the numbers are just 4-for-60 on the power play against the Wild. Minnesota is 18-for-78 lifetime against the Boston penalty kill and 7-for-40 overall this season.
In the Minnesota-connection category, the Wild wouldn’t face Minnesota native David Backes tonight. He’s expected to be out eight weeks after surgery last week to remove part of his colon. Backes is the team leader in scoring against Minnesota. He’s part of a list of six Bruins players on the injury list.
Zach Parise (microdiscectomy surgery), 12 games
Charlie Coyle, IR, (right fibula fracture), 9 games
Total man games lost to injuries: 40
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