The Bruins entered Xcel Energy Center in unfamiliar territory as Boston attempted to end the Wild’s hot streak.
Boston ended Minnesota’s franchise-record 14-game points streak Saturday with a 5-2 win. It was a thrilling contest that featured the Black and Gold controlling possession to hold off Minnesota’s offense, and head coach Jim Montgomery and the B’s video team came through with two successful challenges that nullified two Wild goals.
“I could tell right away from the first five minutes, every line was skating, our D-men were jumping. So I knew we were gonna have a lot of pace, and I knew we were gonna make a lot of plays,” Montgomery told NESN’s Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley, as seen on the network’s postgame coverage. “And I just liked the fact that we played good 60 minutes, and credit to our video coaches, got two good calls there.”
Minnesota has lost nine consecutive challenges after Saturday, and the Bruins improved to five-of-five on challenges this season, which shows Boston has been getting down throughout the organization.
The top line stepped up against the hottest team in the league. Brad Marchand had the 62nd three-point game of his career with three assists on the afternoon. David Pastrnak also got it done on the power play as part of a full team effort.
“I think both of them were really good tonight,” Montgomery said. “And I think anytime the puck goes in the net — we got one on the powerplay, and (Patrice Bergeron’s) line with Marchy and (Jake DeBrusk), I thought they led us all night long that way. And then for us to have the shoe on the other foot and be able to come in here, team riding a 14-game points streak, we had a little bit of a hunter’s mentality of wanting to end the streak.”
“It was a good test for us,” Marchand told NESN’s Sophia Jurksztowicz on the network’s postgame coverage. “They’ve been playing really well, lately, and we haven’t had many games lately where we’ve played our way and played consistently through 60 minutes. Thought we did a really good job of that. We didn’t really have any big letdowns at all throughout the game, and when we had to come up big, we did. And we just kind of kept pushing, and that’s why we’ve been good all year.”
On his “blue-collar” play, as described by Brickley, Marchand added: That’s, again, why we’ve been really good all year. We’re hard to play against all over the ice, and we play as a unit. And when you have three forwards and all five guys on the same picture, it’s hard to play against as an opponent. And that’s kind of why we’ve been struggling a little bit: We’ve been getting a little bit too spread out. And we got back to it, and it worked out.”
Here are more notes from Saturday’s Bruins-Wild game:
— Boston and Minnesota don’t match up often, but Marchand has been impressive whenever the sides face off. The winger has eight goals and 10 assists in 17 career games against the Wild, including seven power-play points.
— Linus Ullmark had 29 saves in the game and was fortunate to have the two goals nullified. He earned the 110th win of his career, which is sixth among active goalies for most wins through 200 games.
— Patrice Bergeron scored his 25th goal of the season to help the Bruins pull away. He now has 14-career 50-point seasons, which is third in franchise history behind Ray Bourque and Johnny Bucyk, who have 18 and 17 such seasons, respectively.
— Bergeron and Marchand also passed Phil Esposito and Ken Hodge for most times factoring into the same goal in franchise history with 407.
— The Bruins will look to make it three wins in a row when they face the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. Puck drop is scheduled at 1 p.m. ET, and you can catch full coverage of the matchup, along with pregame, on NESN.