Mike Doyle's Five Takeaways at Boston
Following Wild games, Managing Editor Mike Doyle will give the Five Takeaways that he remembers from the contest. Tonight, he looks back at a 4-1 loss to the Boston Bruins:
All good things must come to an end.
Unfortunately for the Wild it wasn’t the Bruins win streak, which stretches to nine straight with the victory. No, instead, Minnesota’s dominance in Boston ended. Coming into the contest, the Wild had never lost in Beantown and moves to 6-1-0.
It was the first time this season that the Wild faced the B’s, a team that’s shaping up to be the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. They are deep up front and have one of the league’s best defensemen in Zdeno Chara (who is a mountain of a man, a full head taller than me, passing him in the hallway). Goaltender Tuukka Rask was stellar—making 33 saves in the win—and was named the game’s First Star. Along with the nine-game win streak, the Bruins have won five in a row in TD Garden. Minnesota will get a chance to exact revenge on Tuesday, April 8 at Xcel Energy Center. Mark your calendars, as that game is sure to have playoff implications for both squads.
Tonight, we saw hockey’s version of the broken-bat single, well, maybe it was more like a home run. Jason Pominville scored his team-leading 26th of the season and broke his stick in the process. After receiving a Ryan Suter outlet pass, Pominville raced in with Andrej Meszaros hot on his heels. The Wild winger wound up and fired a slap shot at the exact moment Meszaros went to slash his stick. Pominville got good wood on it, as the puck beat Rask clean. However, he might’ve been distracted by Pominville’s flying stick blade, which broke off and went flying through the air after Meszaros hacked it. I know that I was.
I can honestly say that I’ve never seen a guy score a goal at the same time that his stick breaks. Even more rare was the broken stick celebration, with Pominville raising the bladeless pole over his head after the tally.
There was plenty of St. Patrick’s Day green at TD Garden tonight, but there was a lot of Forrest Green showing support for the local kid, Charlie Coyle, who hails from East Weymouth, Mass., which is about 25 minutes south of Boston.
The 22-year-old didn’t know the exact number of supporters he had in the stands, but told the Lighthouse there could be “a couple hundred” in attendance. Coyle had a lot of “Welcome home Charlie” signs in the audience. When Coyle’s name was announced in the starting lineup, a loud cheer went up, overpowering the boos that the rest of Minnesota’s starters received. However, there were still a lot of holdouts rooting for Coyle, as they wouldn’t completely flip allegiances—sporting Bruins gear.
I’ve got to admit it: I’m a big fan of Jarome Iginla’s game—except when he’s playing against Minnesota. He is a flat-out Wild killer. He likes facing Minnesota more than Kanye likes leather jogging pants. The winger is the all-time leader against the Wild in points (65), goals (36), shots (231) and game-winning goals (10), is tied for second in games played (70), second in power-play goals (10) and tied for third in assists (30) and plus-minus rating (plus-17). Those would be some pretty good career totals. So, I was glad to see him move to the Eastern Conference at last season’s National Hockey League Trade Deadline.
The Bruins wing skated in his 1,300th game tonight, becoming the fifth active player and 55th overall in league history to hit the milestone. Of course it was Iginla with one of the flukier goals he’ll ever score to put Boston on the board. He fired a long wrist shot that was partially blocked by Jonas Brodin. The puck went up into the air and Darcy Kuemper lost track of it until it was too late and squeezed through his five-hole. To add insult to injury, Iginla iced the game in the third, scoring an empty netter.
St. Patrick’s Day is known as the holiday where everyone is Irish for a day, wearing green, drinking pints of Guinness and slamming shots of Jameson. Last season, we were in Vancouver for the day, and it certainly was not as lively as Boston was today. There was definitely a party atmosphere in the Garden (Gahden for the locals).
Fans were decked out in green and having a blast. The video board was especially entertaining with people enjoying the festivities. There were a lot of people who weren’t dressed for the holiday, opting for full on bear suits or unicorn-head masks. Another was dressed as The Legend, Larry Joe Bird, which got a hearty applause for the effort and was voted fan of the game. For my money, the fan that took home the cake, and probably devoured it without utensils, was the guy on the video board who dumped his entire beer on his head. For that effort, I say cheers.