Happy Hockey Day in America! Be sure to check out PHT throughout the day as we bring you features and previews of all the events, including a nine-hour NHL block of programming across NBC and NBC Sports Network.
It’s fair to say that if you’ve lost seven straight games, you don’t want your next opponent to be the defending Stanley Cup champion.
Unfortunately for the Minnesota Wild, that’s exactly the situation at hand.
The Wild will host the Boston Bruins on Hockey Day in America (Sunday, 3:00 p.m. ET, NBC), less than 24 hours after an embarrassing 4-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues. Playing without injured captain Mikko Koivu, the Wild were held to just 13 shots on goal and lost for the seventh time in a row, the 12th time in 15 games and 23rd time in 28 games.
“It’s frustrating. All of us are frustrated,” Wild forward Matt Cullen told the Minnesota Star-Tribune. “It’s probably pretty apparent. You probably see it on the ice. Guys are trying to work through this and trying to turn it.”
Minnesota’s frustrations boiled over late in the loss. Center Warren Peters was given a five-minute major and game misconduct for cross-checking David Backes in the face while Cal Clutterbuck received a goalie interference call with one minute left for running into Brian Elliott.
It’ll be interesting to see if the Wild can focus that emotion in a big matchup against Boston. The Bruins have been inconsistent of late, losing five of eight, and are dealing with a myriad of injuries.
Forwards Nathan Horton (concussion) and Rich Peverley (sprained MCL) are out for the foreseeable future and some new potential ailments popped up at Saturday’s practice. Tyler Seguin missed the skate for undisclosed reasons (head coach Claude Julien says he’ll play against Minnesota) and Chris Kelly had to leave after a face-first collision into the boards cost him his two front teeth.
No worries for Kelly, though. Like any good hockey player, he called it a “tough day” and said he’d be good to go for Sunday — proving that everybody, even NHL stars, want to be a part of Hockey Day in America.
— The Wild have used a league-high 13 rookies this season. They’ve also dressed 39 players, one shy of a franchise record.
— The Bruins have been outscored 4-1 over the last two third periods (against Montreal and Winnipeg.)
— Mike Russo of the Star-Tribune says Koivu is “doubtful” to play on Sunday.