Backstrom stopped all 48 shots he faced, standing on his head in the third when the Bruins outshot the Wild 22-3. The Bruins attempted 91 shots in all to just 45 for Minnesota, but missed the net on 19 and had 24 attempts blocked. The Bruins blocked just 11 Minnesota shots and were outhit 22-16.
Boston has now lost three of its last four and is 4-7-0 in its last 11 games. That stretch coincides with the absence of Nathan Horton, while the Bruins are also 0-2-0 since Rich Peverley joined him on the sidelines. The Bruins have also been shut out four times in the last nine games after being blanked just twice in the first 48 games of the season.
They'll get another chance to snap out of this funk when they continue their six-game road trip Wednesday in St. Louis, but it won't be easy against a Blues team that is 26-3-4 at home this season.
Third Period, 18:30, Wild 2-0: The Bruins use their timeout and Thomas is out of the net for the extra attacker as the Bruins try to draw of a miracle in the final 90 seconds of regulation.
Third Period, 16:40, Wild 2-0: It's a shooting gallery on Backstrom now as the Bruins are throwing everything they have at him, but he's turned every shot he's faced aside so far.
Third Period, 14:21, Wild 2-0: The Bruins continue to pile up shots, but they don't have enough traffic in front of Backstrom. He's too good to get anything past him that he sees.
Third Period, 11:30, Wild 2-0: The Wild are denied this time as Kyle Brodziak leads a 2 on 1 down the right side, feeding it over to Dany Heatley, but Thomas comes up with the save to keep the Bruins' hopes alive.
Third Period, 9:54, Wild 2-0: The Bruins are denied again, this time with Backstrom flashing the glove to rob Lucic at the right post off a great feed by Chara, who pushed the puck on to Lucic while falling in the slot.
Third Period, 8:51, Wild 2-0: Tyler Seguin creates another chance as he delays at the blue line going 1 on 3, waits for help and feeds Seidenberg for a chance. Johnny Boychuk follows with a blast from the point, but Backstrom is stopping everything in this one.
Third Period, 5:20, Wild 2-0: The Wild almost extend the lead again, but a blast from the slot by Jeff Taffe clangs off the post. The Bruins are on their heels right now.
Third Period, 4:43, Wild 2-0: The Wild are all over the Bruins now. Jed Ortmeyer had a bid down the left wing that Thomas saved. Ortmeyer's follow went wide, then Darroll Powe and Erik Christiansen each had whacks at it in front before Thomas could tie it up.
Third Period, 2:15, Wild 2-0: The gloves come off for the first time in this one as Shawn Thornton tries to get his club going with a marathon bout with rookie heavyweight Matt Kassian.
Thornton gives up some size to Kassian and took some shots early, but came on strong late to land some good ones of his own. The real winner will be determined by how the Bruins respond.
Third Period, 0:45, Wild 2-0: The Bruins come close to cutting into the deficit, but Tyler Seguin is robbed on a pair of chances in front.
Third Period, 0:00, Wild 2-0: The final frame is under way, with the Bruins needing a big rally to salvage anything out of this one down a pair of goals.
Second Intermission Notes: After a solid first period that failed to yield results, the Bruins stumbled in the second and Minnesota took advantage with a pair of goals to go up 2-0 heading into teh third.
The shots are even at 26-26 as the Wild reversed the first period numbers with a 14-12 edge in the second. The Bruins are still attempting a lot more shots though, leading 54-38 in that category. But Boston has missed the net 14 times to just three for Minnesota and the Wild lead 14-9 in blocked shots.
The Wild were also the more physical team in the second. They have a 17-11 edge in hits, including an 11-5 advantage in the second period. The Bruins are even getting beat in the faceoff circle, going 23-26 (47 percent). That's despite Patrice Bergeron going 11-2, but the rest of the team is a combined 12-24.
Stats don't always tell the story, but being on the wrong side of hits, blocked shots and faceoffs are a good indication of a team being outworked, and that has been the Bruins' biggest problem of late in their stretch of mediocre hockey over the last month.
End Second Period, Wild 2-0: The middle frame comes to a close with the Wild picking up a pair of goals to take a 2-0 lead into the third. They nearly had another, but Joe Corvo broke up a rush my Matt Cullen in the final minute to keep the deficit at two.
Second Period, 17:15, Wild 2-0: Paille with a steal at the blue line to keep the puck in the Minnesota zone. He gets tripped up but no call is made on that play, incensing Claude Julien and the Bruins.
Second Period, 15:30, Wild 2-0: The Wild waste no time converting that power-play chance, as Matt Cullen scores in front to double the lead.
Cullen fanned on his initially shot coming down the middle, but regained control and beat Thomas with a shot from the low left slot.
Second Period, 15:03, Wild 1-0: The Bruins will now have to kill off their first penalty of the day as Chris Kelly gets called for tripping Matt Cullen.
Second Period, 12:50, Wild 1-0: The hitting is picking up, with Dennis Seidenberg taking a big blast from Jed Ortmeyer behind the net when Seidenberg appeared to be expecting an icing call on the play.
Second Period, 10:15, Wild 1-0: The Wild strike first as Chad Rau takes advantage of the Bruins in transition and rifles one in.
Rau came in down the left wing as the Bruins appeared caught in a change on defense. Rau looked to the middle for a pass, but fired in a no-look shot from the circle instead that beat Thomas for the game's first goal.
Second Period, 7:24, 0-0: The Bruins continue to pressure, but have yet to break through. Lucic, upset earlier when he took a stick up high with no call, almost fluttered one through a crowd in front, then Bergeron followed the next shift with a blast from the right circle.
Second Period, 3:40, 0-0: The Bruins continue to press, now with the Kelly line creating some chances down low until Backstrom is able to tie up the puck for a faceoff.
Second Period, 1:45, 0-0: The Bruins with an early chance as David Krejci is set up in front by Milan Lucic, only to be denied by Backstrom.
Second Period, 0:00, 0-0: The middle frame is under way in Minnesota, where both teams are still seeking teh first goal of the day in this defensive struggle.
First Intermission Notes: The Bruins controlled play for most of the opening period, though the Wild rallied a bit late in the frame. The result was a scoreless stalemate through 20 minutes.
The Bruins had a 14-12 edge in shots, but led 10-3 at one point before Minnesota started getting some pressure on Tim Thomas. Boston also had some trouble getting shots on net, with eight attempts blocked and 10 missing. Overall, they had 32 attempted shots to just 19 for the Wild.
The fourth line was Boston's most effective, combining for six shots. Daniel Paille had three, including a couple of breakaway chances, while Gregory Campbell had two shots. No other Bruin had multiple shots. It's good to see the energy the reunited fourth line is bringing, but the Bruins need their other lines to produce as well.
End First Period, 0-0: The Wild kill off the penalty, but the Bruins still get one final chance in front as time expires, leading to a quick scrum at the buzzer as this one will remain scoreless through 20 minutes.
First Period, 17:43, 0-0: The Bruins get the first power-play chance of the day as Darroll Powe gets called for goalie interference, which has become the most popular call in the league of late.
First Period, 17:18, 0-0: The Bruins crash the crease this time with the Krejci line buzzing around down low. Pouliot gets into a bit of a shoving match after the whistle.
First Period, 13:35, 0-0: Scary scramble in front of Thomas as the puck dribbled in on the net as the Wild crashed the crease, but Thomas is able to turn it aside.
First Period, 12:38, 0-0: The Wild with a rare foray into the Bruins end as Cal Clutterbuck creates some havoc to lead to some chances, but Minnesota still struggling to produce shots, let alone goals. Shots are 10-3 in favor of Boston at this point.
First Period, 8:55, 0-0: Paille gets behind the Wild defene again, this time for a clean breakaway, but Backstrom again makes the save to keep this one scoreless.
First Period, 7:28, 0-0: Patrice Bergeron with a nice backcheck to break up a chance in the slot for Devin Setoguchi. Nothing new there for Bergeron, who should finally get his stellar defensive work recognized with a Selke nod this season.
First Period, 5:50, 0-0: The Bruins generate their best chances of the day so far with the fourth line as Daniel Paille blasts a slapper from the left circle on a partial break, but Niklas Backstrom stops that and the follow by Gregory Campbell in front.
First Period, 1:35, 0-0: The Bruins create some early pressure with the line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Benoit Pouliot creating several chances down low. Pouliot was originally a Wild draft pick, taken fourth overall by Minnesota in the 2005 draft.
First Period, 0:00, 0-0: This one is under way in St. Paul, where the Bruins will look to take a win in the State of Hockey on Hockey Day in America.
3:30 p.m.: The Bruins will open this one with Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin up front, Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg on defense and Tim Thomas in goal.
The Wild counter with Dany Heatley, Kyle Brodziak and Devin Setoguchi up front, Marco Scandella and Jared Spurgeon on the blue line and Niklas Backstrom in net.
3:25 p.m.: The Bruins have scratched defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk again, along with Nathan Horton (concussion) and Rich Peverley (knee).
Mikko Koivu (undisclosed), Warren Peters and Justin Falk are out for Minnesota.
3:15 p.m.: The Bruins have just 12 healthy forwards so their won't be any lineup changes up front, but there will be a change in the line combinations.
Based on warm-ups, it appears the Bruins will reunite their energy line with Daniel Paille back with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton, while Josh Hennessy moves up to skate with Chris Kelly and Jordan Caron.
3:10 p.m.: Warren Peters did not skate in warm-ups for the Wild. there's no official word yet on a suspension for him, but he had a hearing this afternoon and it's probably safe to assume he'll have to sit at least one game for his cross-check to the head of David Backes in Saturday's loss to St. Louis.
3 p.m.: It will be Tim Thomas in goal for the Bruins in this one. He leads the team out for warm-ups, the indication he'll get the start after Tuukka Rask played Friday in Winnipeg.
Niklas Backstrom will be in net for the Wild.
2 p.m.: The Bruins continue their season-high six-game road trip with a stop in Minnesota, a fitting setting for a Hockey Day in America matchup.
The Wild are expected to be without captain Mikko Koivu, who missed Saturday's game with St. Louis with an undisclosed injury.
8 a.m. ET: The Bruins continue to struggle in putting together wins, having now gone more than a month without back-to-back victories after falling to the Jets 4-2 in Winnipeg on Friday.
They've only lost consecutive games twice in that span, though, and a trip to Minnesota to face the struggling Wild as part of Hockey Day in America on Sunday afternoon might be just what the Bruins need.
Minnesota was one of the biggest surprises in the first half of the season, roaring out to a 20-7-3 start and sitting in first place in the Western Conference as late as Dec. 19. But they are just 5-17-6 since that start, and currently are riding a seven-game losing streak (0-5-2).
The Wild (25-24-9, 59 points) have struggled to score, managing just 10 goals in eight games in February. That includes being blanked 4-0 in St. Louis on Saturday. Captain Mikko Koivu missed that game with an undisclosed injury and is questionable for Sunday's tilt with the Bruins.
The Bruins (35-19-2, 72 points) remain atop the Northeast Division and second in the East, but they can't afford to take anyone lightly as they continue their season-high six-game road trip. They are just 7-8-1 in their last 16 games, and four of those wins came in shootouts, giving them just three regulation wins since Jan. 12. Boston also has its own injury issues, with forwards Nathan Horton (concussion) and Rich Peverley (knee) both out.
The puck drops at 3:30 p.m., so check back here for updates on all the action.
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