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Minnesota Wild 2, Boston Bruins 0 FINAL @NHLdotcom

BOSTON (AP) _ It turns out that Sergei Samsonov wasn't the answer to the Boston Bruins' scoring problems.

The speedy forward returned after missing 11 games but he couldn't help the Bruins solve Manny Fernandez, who stopped 31 shots on Thursday night to beat Boston 2-0.

``We knew how important this game was for them with Samsonov back,'' Fernandez said after posting his second shutout of the season. ``That was a good challenge for us.''

Stephane Veilleux scored his first goal since 2002 and Richard Park also scored for the Wild, who were outshot 31-15. Minnesota has never lost to the Bruins, outscoring them 20-6 in five games over four seasons since entering the league.

``Maybe they don't know us,'' said coach Jacques Lemaire, whose team is 11-3-2-1 against the Eastern Conference but one game under .500 overall and in 11th place in the West, eight points out of playoff position. ``We don't score against our own conference and then come in here and score some goals.''

Felix Potvin stopped 13 shots as Boston was shut out for the ninth time this season and the seventh time at home. The Bruins are 36-10-13-6 in games in which they've scored.

The Bruins, who hadn't lost in six previous games, came into the night with a chance to move into first place in the Eastern Conference. But their loss, coupled with Tampa Bay's victory over Buffalo, left Boston in third place, four points behind the Lightning and a point behind Philadelphia.

The Bruins lead Toronto and Ottawa by one point in the Northeast Division.

Samsonov topped 70 points in consecutive seasons before a broken wrist kept him out all but eight games in 2002-03. He had 11 goals and 21 assists this season before injuring his ribs on Feb. 10 and missing 15 of the next 16 games.

Boston has played well without him, but it has had trouble scoring goals; the Bruins have not scored more than three goals in 13 games while going 6-3-3-1. With eight games left before the playoffs, they need Samsonov to find his touch soon.

``It's important to get back and start a few games with my line, get a feel for each other,'' he said. ``There's plenty of time. I'm not worried about that.''

Minnesota made it 1-0 when Park lined it up from Potvin's right and slapped it from point-blank range. The puck got between Potvin's arm and his body and trickled over the goal line with 9:45 to play in the second.

The Wild made it 2-0 when Nick Schultz flipped one toward the net and the shot bounced off Veilleux's stick before fluttering into the net over Potvin's left shoulder.

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