What the Boston Bruins Can Expect from the Minnesota Wild


Oct 11, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask (40) can

On Tuesday night in Boston, the Bruins will take on the Minnesota Wild for the first of two meetings this season. Throughout this primitive season, the Wild have been a fairly dominant team, thanks in part to off-season acquisition Thomas Vanek and their youthful goaltender gem, Darcy Kuemper (24). Through six games, Minnesota has outscored their opponents 19-6. Kuemper has started five of those six games. Using his massive frame (6′ 5″), strong vision, hockey sense, and aggressive butterfly style, Kuemper has managed to post three shutouts this season. He has already squared off against some of the Western Conference’s best, including the Kings, Ducks, and the Avalanche. For the Bruins on Tuesday night, they will realize quickly that Kuemper is no pushover, assuming he gets the nod.

The Wild themselves are not the pushover they were in past seasons. This is a team hungry to make a statement in the Western Conference. They are poised and determined to reach their goal of a Western Conference Championship bid. Minnesota looks to elude another first or second round defeat, yet with this season, and this squad, the Wild’s chances look fair to grind past the first two rounds of the NHL playoffs. The Wild are a team with great leadership, veteran skaters like Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, and a mix of youthful talent, such as Kuemper, Charlie Coyle (22), Mikael Granlund (22), Nino Niederreiter (22), Jason Zucker (22), and Jared Spurgeon (24). The five young skaters have produced a combined 17 points thus far. Minnesota is a team that can speed past you, break you down in all three zones, and can blank you on the scoreboard. They play with pace, bite, heaviness, and smarts. They are the Montreal Canadians of the Western Conference essentially.

Boston is riding their high from Hockey Night in Canada still with their big win against the Maple Leafs in Toronto Saturday night, 4-1. The Bruins dominated all phases of the game for nearly 100% of the game, until the Leafs inflicted some late pressure in the final 10 minutes of the game. The Bruins were clicking even with the loss of their captain, Zdeno Chara. Boston will need to carry over that same mentality for Tuesday night at the TD Garden.

So what can the Bruins expect from this talented Wild team? Boston should expect a hungry Minnesota Wild team, ready to strike first. The Wild are riding a high of their own. They routed the star-studded Tampa Bay Lighting Saturday night, 7-2 , in their home building. Kuemper continues to gain experience under his belt as the Wild are dealing with goaltender injuries. He plays with similar confidence found in Tuukka Rask in his primitive years, such as his 2010 campaign when Rask was in place of injured Tim Thomas.

The Bruins will need to contain the Wild’s first two lines Tuesday night. Minnesota’s first line of Parise, Granlund, and Jason Pominville have combined for 7 goals thus far. The second line of Vanek, Mikko Koivu, and Coyle have combined for 9 points. The Bruins will need to grind down these two lines and force Minnesota’s bottom tier lines to win the game for them. Minnesota just manhandled a talented Lighting squad and look to do the same against another top tier Eastern Conference team in the Bruins.

Boston is looking for a big win at home after falling to the New York Islanders and Johnny Boychuk Thursday night. The Wild are looking to continue climbing up the Central division standings and become a dominant threat in the Western Conference. We can expect a great tilt Tuesday night with two teams heading in diverging paths: one attempting to reach the pinnacle of success in their conference and one attempting to retain their stature in their conference.