Following Wild games, Content Coordinator Evan Sporer will give the Five Takeaways that he remembers from the contest. Tonight, he looks back at the Wild's 4-2 loss against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden.BOSTON
– FIRST TAKEAWAY
Another effective night for the line of Mikko Koivu, Nino Niederreiter, and Jason Zucker, who produced their 12th even-strength goal this season.
It began with a good read by Niederreiter at the blue line, who pinched down and created a loose puck, which he got to first. Gaining control, he pivoted along the wall, and threw a backhand pass to Koivu. The Wild's captain got the puck to the net, and Zucker corralled the rebound, waited out Jonas Gustavsson, and roofed his sixth goal of the season under the crossbar.
All of Niederreiter's and Zucker's goals this season have come at even-strength, a testament to how well the line clicks with Koivu directing play from between them. The 32-year-old has been a fantastic catalyst for his two younger linemates.
The Wild defense, one of the highest-scoring blue lines in the NHL, struck again on Tuesday.
Ryan Suter picked up an assist, his 14th of the season, on a seeing-eye shot that deflected off Jordan Schroeder, and eluded some traffic between the blue line and the crease and snuck into the top corner.
Part of what allows Minnesota to generate offense from its defensemen is its forecheck. By getting the puck deep, and winning possession back, it causes the defending team to shade toward the goal line. The distended space it creates between the F1 (the forward responsible with getting on the defenseman first) and the defenseman affords more time to either take a shot, or make a play.
On the goal, Schroeder got in quickly on the forecheck, Ryan Carter followed up, and the puck ended up back with Suter, who had enough time before a Bruin closed out to get his shot off.
The Wild's defensemen have combined for 10 goals and 32 assists in 18 games this season.
Congrats to Gustav Olofsson on making his NHL debut. Olofsson became the fourth different Wild player to log his first NHL game this season.
Olofsson said he was informed he'd be getting called up yesterday, although the message wasn't delivered as planned. The 20-year-old was taking a nap when the phone rang with the news, with his phone on silent.
"I kind of know now to put it on when I'm sleeping," he said.
Olofsson nearly scored in the second period when his shot from the blue line rang off the crossbar. The play displayed part of what makes Olofsson such an exciting prospect. He's a poised defenseman, who held the puck an extra tick before taking his shot, opening up a lane.
"I thought [Olofsson] played really well tonight," Devan Dubnyk said. "He had some real good scoring chances."
His spot in the lineup was opened up when Jonas Brodin was unable to play because of illness. Brodin took warmups, and it wasn't until after them that Olofsson found out he would be in the lineup.
"It kind of got the nerves going then, and then a few shifts in it felt good," Olofsson said. "I don't know what you kind of prefer, but I don't mind that. You prepare either way, and you're going to be ready to go."
The Wild was without two of its top defensemen in Brodin and Marco Scandella, who each average over 20 minutes of ice time per game.
"Any time you have guys coming in and out of the lineup, it takes a little bit to get a feel, and some chemistry with the partners," Dubnyk said. "But I certainly don't think that's something that every team in the league doesn't go through."
A good showing by Wild fans in TD Garden, with a few different groups of people in attendance. The biggest in the stands was likely the group that traveled from Minnesota as part of a season ticket holder road trip. Those fans also took in morning skate, and made themselves heard at every opportunity during the game.
Then there was Charlie Coyle's entourage, which didn't have an exact number, but was pegged to be roughly 50 who took a bus in to support the Weymouth, Mass. native.
Also sprinkled in were some Christian Folin supporters, including his younger brother, Niklas, who got a chance to see Folin play a live NHL game for the first time.
No Rene Rancourt for the National Anthem, which, considering the Wild travel to Boston once a season was a missed opportunity for all visiting folks.
For those who don't know, Rancourt is the fist-pumping, regular anthem singer for Bruins games. He also delivered this chilling moment in the first sporting event in Boston and the first game the Bruins played after the 2013 Boston Marathon tragedy.
Rancourt is part of the quintessential Boston hockey experience, so to not hear him was disappointing.