Preview: Bruins at Wild
Although it took longer than planned, the Boston Bruins have wrapped up second place in the Atlantic Division and will have the luxury of resting some players in preparation for a first-round playoff series against Toronto. The Bruins will play their final road game of the season when they wrap up a three-game trek at the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night.
Boston had lost three of four to delay its clincher but snapped out of the funk with a dominating 6-2 victory over a Columbus squad that had won five in a row. "We're a good hockey club, and we don't usually lose a lot of games in a row," coach Bruce Cassidy said. "And we try to take care of the business at hand and correct why we lost." Minnesota, meanwhile, had its six-year run of postseason appearances snuffed out despite breezing to a 5-1 victory over Winnipeg on Tuesday night. “Obviously not the situation we wanted to be in,” goaltender Devan Dubnyk said. “We talked about it today. We have a lot of things to play for still. We want to fight until the very end."
TV: 8 p.m. ET, Sportsnet360, NESN (Boston), FS North, FS Wisconsin (Minnesota)
ABOUT THE BRUINS (48-23-9): Brad Marchand reached a milestone after scoring one goal and setting up another, becoming the first Boston player to reach 100 points in a season since Joe Thornton in 2002-03. "It's a special moment, and I owe it all to (linemates Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak) and obviously would not have done it without the group," Marchand said. "I appreciate everything we've been able to do together. We're having a lot of fun." David Krejci has seven assists in his last five games and needs two points to match his career best of 73.
ABOUT THE WILD (37-34-9): Zach Parise returned from a four-game injury absence to spark Tuesday's win by scoring his team-leading 27th and 28th goals but there is a question of whether he will play in the final two games with nothing on the line. “If there’s anything wrong with him, we’re not going to risk him getting more hurt,” coach Bruce Boudreau said of Parise, who also has a team-best 61 points. Nico Sturm, signed on Monday after finishing his career at Clarkson, is expected to make his NHL debut if his visa issues are cleared up.
1. Pastrnak has six goals and 12 points in his last seven games.
2. Boudreau said backup G Alex Stalock likely will start one of the final two contests.
3. Bruins F Jake DeBrusk has four goals in his last four games to boost his season total to 27.
PREDICTION: Wild 4, Bruins 3