Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 5-3 loss against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden in Boston on Monday night:
1. Minnesota got off to a good start but couldn't sustain it.
When Nino Niederreiter scored at the 4:53 mark of the first period, the Wild had a 1-0 lead. It was a pretty goal too, as Ryan Suter fired a shot from the point that was initially stopped by Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask. Niederreiter was hanging out on the doorstep, however, and worked the puck from his forehand to his backhand and slipped it past Rask.
Video: MIN@BOS: Niederreiter grabs rebound and scores
It was the seventh time in 13 games this season Minnesota scored the game's first goal, but the first time it didn't gain at least a point in the game (now 4-1-2 when tallying the first goal).
For Niederreiter the goal continued his solid scoring pace since returning from a sprained ankle.
Niederreiter has scored one point in three of the four games since his return to the lineup, including all three games Minnesota has posted a goal during that stretch. It was his second goal of the season.
Less than six minutes after Niederreiter's goal, Jake DeBrusk was credited with a goal after his centering feed deflected off Suter and past Devan Dubnyk.
Just 2:19 later, Boston took the lead for good on a goal by Frank Vatrano.
"A couple tough bounces there to get down 2-1. I mean, there's lots of time left there. We had a good start to the game and just got away from what we need to do," Dubnyk said. "We'd probably all agree that second period is unacceptable. That's about as far away from the way we want to play as we can get, I think."
2. Mikael Granlund lit the lamp for the first time this season.
As he said following the team's skate this morning, he would be rewarded if he continued to do the right things. Well, moments into the third period, the Wild's forecheck forced a turnover, Matt Dumba slid him a perfect pass and Granlund hammered a one-timer past Rask to snap a streak of four-consecutive Bruins goals.
Video: MIN@BOS: Granlund beats Dubnyk with quick shot
Midway through the third period, Granlund had a golden opportunity to get the Wild back within a goal when he was granted a penalty shot after being tripped on a short-handed breakaway. Rask was up to the task, however, pushing Granlund's shot away with the blocker.
Granlund is now 0-for-2 in his career in penalty shots and the Wild are 17-for-36 in franchise history, but his goal gave the Wild a jolt in the third period. Eric Staal scored a short-handed goal with just over four minutes remaining to draw the Wild within one and give the team a chance in the dying minutes before an empty-net goal by Tim Schaller ended Minnesota's hopes of a comeback.
Video: MIN@BOS: Staal beats Rask for SHG on breakaway
"It's not good enough. Not much else to say," Staal said. "The first period, I thought we were ready to go. We scored the first goal, and we did some things that were good. But you give one back, then give another one. I just didn't like the way we responded. I thought we were pretty flat after they responded with a couple goals.
"It's unacceptable. In the second period, we've got to respond better as a group. Be mentally tougher, and desperate in the third. More aggressive and better. But when you dig that big of a hole, it's hard to come out."
3. Things won't get any easier for the Wild as it continues its four-game road trip with back-to-back games north of the border.
Minnesota will be in action next against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre on Wednesday, playing against one of the NHL's brightest young teams.
The following night, it will be in Montreal playing against a Canadiens club that won road games against Winnipeg and Chicago after departing St. Paul last Thursday on the short end of a 6-3 game.
The Wild finishes the trip on Saturday in Philadelphia.
"It's gonna be up to us to find our way out of it. Each of us individually has to be better and be mentally stronger to prepare for anything that's gonna happen through the course of a game," Staal said. "We get another chance Wednesday. Theres a lot of hockey coming up here, so we've got to find it quick."
• Jared Spurgeon and Jason Zucker also had assists for the Wild.
• Dubnyk was lifted from the game at the start of the third period, making 20 saves on 24 shots.
• Alex Stalock stopped all nine shots he saw in the third.
• Rask finished with 24 saves on 27 shots.
• The Wild held Boston off the scoresheet on the power play, killing all four Bruins man advantages.
• Minnesota outshot Boston in the first and third periods, but surrendered a 15-4 margin in the second. The Bruins outshot the Wild 34-27 overall.
• Attendance: 17,565
He Said It
"You saw it, we weren't very competitive. The first two periods, that was probably the most embarrassing two periods I've been involved with in a lot of teams." -- Wild coach Bruce Boudreau
Dan's Three Stars
* Zdeno Chara
** Eric Staal
*** Nino Niederreiter
Video: MIN Recap: Wild can't complete comeback vs. Bruins