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Need to Know: Bruins at Wild

Bruins hoping to convert on their opportunities

by Eric Russo @NHLBruins / BostonBruins.com

BostonBruins.com - The Bruins wrap up their three-game road trip in Minnesota Thursday night with their second - and final - meeting of the season against the Wild.

Minnesota won the first matchup with a convincing 5-0 victory at TD Garden during the final week of October. The Bruins were without David Backes and Tuukka Rask for that game.

Puck drop is set for 8 p.m. EST on NESN and 98.5 The Sports Hub.

Here is what you need to know:

What to Watch For

The Bruins, winners of three straight and seven of their last nine, have not been pressed for shots and scoring chances over the last few games. Boston has produced 192 shots on goals, an average of 38.4 a game, including three games in which they have crossed the 40-shot threshold.

They have outshot their opponents by a margin of 192-124 over that span.

Video: B's look to end road trip on high note in Minnesota

But converting those shots into goals has not been so easy, particularly over the last two games in Arizona and Colorado.

After potting five goals against Columbus to kick off their three-game winning streak, Boston has netted just two goals each over the last two games, despite landing a combined 75 shots on goal.

 Turning those chances into goals will be the focus Thursday night.

"If we continue to get opportunities and play the way we are, then goals are going to come. We know that," Brad Marchand said following practice earlier this week.

"There's no need to worry. The only time [to worry] is when you're not getting opportunities and not getting the chances. But we are. We're playing good hockey and we want to continue that."

Video: Bruins remain best road team in NHL

Opposing View

Minnesota, which sits fourth in the Central Division with 17 points, is coming off a 1-0 loss to Calgary on Tuesday night and has lost four of its last six games. The Wild are the league's best defensive team, as they are allowing just 1.93 goals per game.

Minnesota goalie Devan Dubnyk (6-5-1) leads the NHL in save percentage (.948), is tied for the league lead in shutouts (three), and is second to Tuukka Rask in goals against average (1.60). Dubnyk has allowed just nine goals over his last eight games.

Zach Parise returned for the game against the Flames after missing five contests with a lower-body injury. Zac Dalpe, Marco Scandella, and Victor Bartley are on injured reserve.

Newcomer Eric Staal leads the Wild in goals (five) and points (13). Weymouth, Mass., native Charlie Coyle is tied for second on the team with four goals, along with Nino Niederreiter and Ryan Suter, who is seventh among NHL defensemen with 12 points.

Wait, There's More

  • Bruins forward David Pastrnak missed the last two days of practice. Coach Claude Julien said Wednesday the team's leading goal scorer was, "not better today, so we weren't going to let him go on the ice...I'd say he's day-to-day right now." Tuukka Rask was given a maintenance day Wednesday and did not practice.
  • The Bruins are five goals shy of scoring the 20,000th team goal in franchise history. They will become just the 2nd team in NHL history to reach that milestone (Montreal Canadiens).
  • The Bruins and Wild are meeting for the 20th time in their histories, with the Bruins having a 6-12-0-1 record. The 20 games between these teams represent the fewest for Boston against any of their current opponents.
  • Kevan Miller (hand) and Anton Khudobin (upper body) are both traveling with the team, but return dates have not been set.

Video: Kevan Miller joins team in Denver

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