Talking Points: Bruins lose to Wild in final minute
Thursday night was a showdown of two of the NHL’s best goaltenders, and it was Devan Dubnyk that ended up on the winning side of things for the Wild. He made 25 saves including a number of game-saving stops: a first period save on Tim Schaller after a nice drop pass from Sean Kuraly, and a huge poke check save on Matt Beleskey in the third period after the left winger had intercepted a D-to-D pass with a clear path to the net. While Tuukka Rask was also excellent in defeat, Dubnyk was just a little better while earning his fourth shutout of the season. Dubnyk bumped up his league-leading save percentage to a gaudy .952 after the shutout victory.
This is more of a literal black eye than a figurative one for Adam McQuaid. He took a beating in a game where it looked like his physical sacrifice might lead to a couple of points, but instead left him hobbled in front of the net on Minnesota’s game-winning goal. McQuaid had already taken a shot to his left leg earlier in the game, and then had that leg rolled out from under him after getting nailed from behind by Mikko Koivu in the closing seconds. McQuaid finally recovered enough to guard the front of the net, but that’s when Mikael Granlund fired a puck off McQuaid’s left leg that ended up bouncing into the net for the game-winner. It was a tough break for a player in McQuaid that’s looked better lately, and left it all on the ice trying to get a win in Minnesota.
The third period had quite a turn of events. It looked like the Bruins might go ahead after Matt Beleskey intercepted a D-to-D pass in their own end, and appeared to have a clear path to the Minnesota net. Instead Devan Dubnyk changed up his approach, and got aggressive attacking Beleskey with a poke check as he readied to make his offensive move. It worked to perfection as Dubnyk knocked the puck away and stopped Boston’s best scoring chance dead in its tracks. It seemed the Bruins were holding on for overtime once that chance went by the boards, but the Wild made certain that didn’t happen once they’d pinned Torey Krug and Adam McQuaid in their own end for the game-changing shift in the final minute.
Give it to Tuukka Rask, who stopped 28-of-29 shots and made a couple of great saves on Jason Pominville wide open in front. Some of the credit also goes to the Bruins defense that blocked 18 shots -- including a couple of individual blocks that felled both McQuaid and David Krejci -- and protected the front of the house. It was a McQuaid breakdown that ended up leading to the game-winning goal amid a scramble in front, and not something that Boston’s No. 1 goalie could be culpable for in any way. Aside from that, Rask was just as outstanding as Dubnyk while continuing to look like a goalie that’s never going to give the Bruins anything less than his best this season. And that’s going to be good enough for a much better result than last season.
BY THE NUMBERS:
8 -- the number of times among his 12 games this season that Tuukka Rask has allowed one goal or less amid a torrid start to the season.
QUOTE TO NOTE:
“They’re one of the stingiest teams in the league, so we knew we had to battle hard to get those goals. It’s just one of those games, that if we would have had that bounce go our way, we’d be happy right now." -- Claude Julien, to reporters in a hard-fought 1-0 defeat in Minnesota that ultimately didn’t go their way.