Monday, March 17, 2014

Wild and Bruins Battle for First Time in Two Years

Tonight the Minnesota Wild will face the East's best Boston Bruins at the TD Garden in Boston. The match-up will be the first time the two teams have met since February of 2012 because of last season's half season lockout.

The B's come into tonight's tilt as the hottest team in the NHL with an eight game win streak. During that streak, the Bruins have scored 32 goals, plus one extra added because of a shootout victory, which averages out to four goals a game. Teams scoring like that don't lose that often.

Tonight also is the first game that Jarome Iginla would play against his former division rival Minnesota since being traded to the Eastern Conference last season. Iginla, a known Wild killer, has scored more goals against the Wild than any other player in the NHL since the Wild would come into the league in 2000. In His last five games, Iginla has five points with four of those being goals. He also leads the Bruins in goals with 23 and looks to pad his totals tonight against a team where he has had great success against.

As for Minnesota, they find themselves in a little bit of a late season funk, and wins haven't been that easy to come by for the Wild. Since the beginning of March, the Wild are 2-1-3, which isn't terrible, but could have been a lot better if they could hang on to some leads. Having leads in the games against Edmonton and Dallas, they would sit back and watch their wins slide away from them, missing out on key points this late in the season.

Forwards Jason Pominville and Zach Parise, need to keep the offense going and lead this team to victory once again. Pominville, who also has five points in his last five games, and scored the only goal in the Wild's last game against Columbus, seems to be one of the only consistent things offensively as of late. The same can be said for Parise as well.

Minnesota goalie Darcy Kuemper has played virtually lights out hockey since the Olympic break ended, aside from the two speed bumps in Dallas and at home against Edmonton. In his last five games, Kuemper has posted an outstanding .925 save percentage and a goals against of 2.20, solid numbers for any goalie in any league.

People are wondering why Minnesota can't seem to finish games as of late then, and I say it's simple. They aren't playing that puck control hockey they were playing when they were having success. I know this is stating the obvious here, but chances are you control the play with the puck, you control the outcome of the game. Not only that, but Minnesota can't seem to catch a bounce as of late either. A good example of this is the two posts they hit Saturday night against Columbus.

Tonight is West vs. East and we will see if the West hast their continued dominance against the East, or if the hot play of the Bruins can shut down a Minnesota Wild team who can't seem to find a way to finish games as of late. One thing on Minnesota's side tonight is that Boston has not beat Minnesota since 2009. Will this slump end and the Bruins stay hot, or will the Wild finally find a way to finish a game off?

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