On paper, the Wild were always going to struggle in this particular matchup against the Boston Bruins.
In a matchup with the best team in the league, the Wild were without their best player (Kirill Kaprizov), arguably their best point guard (Jonas Brodin), a top point guard (Jake Middleton) and their alternate captain (Marcus Foligno). among others.
In the end, that proved to be too much as the Wild fell 5-2 to the Bruins on Saturday afternoon at the Xcel Energy Center. That broke their franchise-best 14-game point streak.
Arguably the most frustrating part of the game is that Wild probably felt they deserved a better fate. Not only did they fight tooth and nail for 60 minutes, they wiped a pair of goals off the board due to offside. This overshadowed an otherwise impressive effort from the Wild given the circumstances.
After an aggressive start to the game, Marcus Johansson made it 1-0 in favor of the Wild, completing a sequence of tic-tac-toe passes. He began to rush into the offensive zone, then passed to Joel Eriksson, who quickly passed to Matt Boldy before the puck ended up back on Johansson’s front stick.
The Wild appeared to extend their lead later in the first period when Matt Dumba pinched in the play and tapped home a feed from Johansson in the slot. After further review, the officials disallowed the goal, ruling that Connor Dewar was offside.
That left the door open and Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk eventually tied the score at 1-1 late in the first period with a shot that went past Filip Gustavsson.
Things started to open up in the second period in large part because the Wild couldn’t stay out of the penalty box.
It started with Jon Merrill being called for slashing and continued with him being called for high sticking. Of course, Bruins wing David Pastrnak made the Wild pay, scoring on the power play to make it 2-1.
The Wild appeared to tie the game later in the second period when Boldy sent a puck into the back of the net. After further review, the officials disallowed the goal, ruling that Boldy was offside.
Not surprisingly, the home crowd took exception to the overturned call, blasting the officials with boos from every level of the arena. That frustration grew late in the second period when Bruins center David Krejci extended the lead to 3-1 on a fortuitous jumper near the rim.
With a prime opportunity to cut into the deficit, the Wild came up empty with an extended two-man advantage after the Bruins gave them a couple of penalties.
Although the Wild cut the deficit to 3-2 on a goal from Oskar Sundqvist early in the one-goal third period, Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron made it 4-2 with a perfectly placed shot later in the frame.
As the game wound down, Bruins winger Trent Frederic made it 5-2 with an empty netter.