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Bruins Come Close, But Fall Short in Minnesota

Wild breaks tie in final minute of third period

by Caryn Switaj @NHLBruins / BostonBruins.com

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Bruins and Wild were expecting a tight game on Thursday night at Xcel Energy Center. 

 

Tuukka Rask and Devan Dubnyk entered the night as two of the league's top goaltenders, and they finished it just the same. 

 

Only one team could come out on top, though, with the Wild squeezing out two points in the final minute to earn the 1-0 win and hand the Bruins their first loss in four games. 

With 44.5 left on the clock in the third period, Mikael Granlund sent a shot towards the net from the right circle that banked off Adam McQuaid's shin pad, hit Rask's skate and bounced over the goal line.

 

McQuaid had been knocked down earlier in the shift into the crease and was slow to get up. Rask continued to follow the play and McQuaid sturdied himself at the goal mouth. A few seconds later, Granlund's shot took a fortuitous bounce off of the defenseman's leg. 

 

"I think I've lost in the overtime when there's point something left on a clock, so that's a little more frustrating, but it's up there for sure," said Rask, who stopped 28 of 29 shots in the loss. 

 

Video: BOS Recap: Rask makes 28 saves in last-minute loss

 

The Bruins had played a solid game, one that deserved at least a point.

 

Patrice Bergeron was frustrated by the ending.

 

"I mean, I was expecting [a whistle when McQuaid was down], but I was also expecting for us to get the puck out earlier and we kind of shot ourselves in the foot on that one," said Bergeron. "It was a long shift for us, we had a minute left and we got caught, and we paid for it."

 

The most frustrating part for the Bruins was the fact that the Wild got its lucky bounce - and they weren't able to get their break earlier in the night, when a goal by David Backes was called back after a Coach's Challenge. 

 

"Bounces were one-on-one and then ours was just an offside and theirs was a goal, so yeah," Rask lamented. "But after two periods, when it's 0-0, you feel like it's either going to be some kind of a breakdown or a lucky bounce, and that's what happened."

 

With 5:25 left in the second period, Backes put the puck past Dubnyk after a strong rush into the zone by himself, David Krejci and Ryan Spooner.  

 

As Krejci stickhandled over the blueline, Backes actively tried to keep his skate stretched behind him to stay onside before the play developed. On Backes' right and close to the Bruins bench, Spooner's skate was a touch off the ice.

 

"I know everyone was looking at Krejci, but as long as he's got control of the puck and he's pushing it forward, there's no issues there," said Julien. "Spooner seemed to have his skate up in the air so he was the guy nearest to the bench, so that's where the offside was called on."

 

The goal would have given the Bruins a 1-0 lead, and would have significantly changed the game. 

 

"A guy that's been able to steal games and when he's on top of his game, he's a tough as anyone to beat," Backes had said pregame about Dubnyk. "He's a tall guy - we need to make it tough for him to see shots, find second opportunities, and be tough in front of their net where they're good at clearing it out."

 

"That's where the war will be waged - in front of their net, in front of our net, and we've done a good job keeping control in front of our net. We need to establish ourselves a bit more in their slot so that when we get those rebounds or second opportunities, we're able to grab those pucks and throw them into the net."

 

The trend of the Bruins outshooting and out-chancing their opponents didn't continue, but they were going up against a team that had given up just 10 goals in their previous nine games. 

 

"They're the stingiest team in the league, so we knew we had to really battle hard to get those goals, and we tried the best we could," said Julien. "I thought their goaltender played well also. It's just one of those games, that if we would have had that bounce go our way, we'd be happy right now."

 

Boston was able to generate decent chances, but Dubnyk was there to make the stops.

 

Bergeron fired five shots on goal, while Brad Marchand fired one shot on goal and had four other attempts blocked. The duo combined for one of the Bruins' best chances, during the penalty kill, with Bergeron just missing the net. 

 

"It's frustrating you know, we're 30 seconds away from getting a point and potentially two, so it's tough to throw a game away like that," said Marchand.

 

"I think we've got to produce a little bit more. We're not scoring enough to win games right now. Sometimes you have to score three and four goals, so we need to bear down on our chances and if we do that, hopefully it will help us win a few more games."

 

"Bearing down, and also communicating a little bit better in our zone," Bergeron suggested as a remedy to the recent dip in goals despite getting opportunities. "And finding ways to get the puck out, and not having to spend so much time and waste so much energy defensively, and have more O-zone time by doing that."

 

Matt Beleskey had the Bruins' prime opportunity when he sped in on a breakaway in the third period. Dubnyk came way out from his crease to dive and poke the puck away. 

 

"I kind of looked down right when I got it just to settle it, and once he comes out he's pretty long so there's not a whole lot I could do there," said Beleskey.

 

"This one could have went either way," Beleskey said of the overall effort. "We were a toe off the ice away from being a 1-1 game, but that's the way the game goes. There's definitely positives to take home."

 

The Bruins finished their three-game road trip at 2-1-0 and still have the league's top road record at 7-4-0. They have given up just seven goals in their past six games with a record of 4-2-0. 

 

"Obviously we're not giving up much," said Beleskey. "Tuukks made a couple of big saves, but I think we're playing pretty well defensively and obviously our power play would like to get one there, but our penalty kill was good as well, so lots of positives to take from it, just have to move on to the next game."

 

Video: BOS@MIN: Rask flashes the leather to rob Pominville

 

The Bruins will get a day to rest on Friday before next facing the Winnipeg Jets at TD Garden on Saturday night. They'll be looking to bring their road game into the confines of home.

 

"That's good, we got two wins out of three games, we've got to be happy with that," said Rask. "Obviously frustrating that the last one was so close and we fell a little short with zero points in the game, but good road trip."

 

Video: Julien, Bruins discuss 1-0 loss in Minnesota

 

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