Chicago Blackhawks v Minnesota Wild

Get your game notes: Wild at Bruins


Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Boston Bruins hosting the Minnesota Wild starting at 7:30 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• Boston and Minnesota meet tonight for the first time since Feb. 19, 2012 (2-0 MIN win), and the 13th time overall. The Wild are 10-1-1 all-time against the Bruins, and have never lost in Boston (6-0-0), having allowed a total of six goals and shut out the Bruins twice at TD Garden. Minnesota’s .875 points% vs. Boston is its best against any opponent, while the Bruins’ .167 vs. the Wild matches their worst (1-5-0 vs. Hamilton Tigers, defunct in 1925).

• Boston’s eight-game win streak is the team’s longest since a 10-game run from Nov. 1-23, 2011. The Bruins, the NHL leaders with a +1.05 goal differential (3.18 goals/game; 2.13 GA/game), have outscored opponents 32-12 during the streak. The longest win streak in Bruins history lasted 14 games, from Dec. 3, 1929-Jan. 9, 1930.

• Minnesota has won only 12 of 32 road games this season (12-15-5); only Buffalo has fewer road wins (7-21-3). Boston, winner of four straight at TD Garden, leads the league with 27 home wins (27-7-2).

• Claude Julien picked up his 300th win as Bruins head coach on Friday, and now has 301 wins (second in franchise history, behind Hall of Famer Art Ross – 361). Since taking over as coach before the 2008-09 season, Julien has wins at TD Garden vs. all but three teams: St. Louis (0-4-0), Colorado (0-3-0) and the Wild (0-2-0).

• Bruins G Tuukka Rask reached 30 wins (30-14-4) for the first time in his career on Friday. The NHL’s shutouts leader (6) is just 1-1-4 vs. the Central Division this season, however, despite his 1.75 GAA, .943 save%.

• Bruins winger Jarome Iginla leads all NHL players – active or retired – in career goals (35) and points (65) in 70 games vs. the Wild. All of those were registered while Iginla was a member of the Calgary Flames. (Elias Sports Bureau) The 36-year-old – who tonight will become the 55th player to reach 1,300 NHL games – has 10 goals and 14 assists over his last 18 games. (Prior to that, he had 13 goals and 16 assists in his first 49 games this season.)

• Boston’s Torey Krug scored his 14th goal of the season Saturday vs. Carolina, two nights after a healthy scratch vs. Phoenix. Krug leads all rookie defensemen with 14 goals and 36 points. Saturday’s goal moved him past Bobby Orr for the third-highest goal total by a Bruins rookie d-man – only five of whom have ever reached double digits in goals:


• Darcy Kuemper is expected to be in Minnesota’s net for his fourth straight start and 20th in the Wild’s last 21 games. Kuemper is 6-1-2 with a 1.62 GAA and .940 save% in his last nine starts; at 12-4-4, he is tied for second in wins among rookie goalies (Frederik Andersen, ANA – 16; Antti Raanta, CHI, Eddie Lack, VAN – 12).

• Minnesota captain Mikko Koivu (127-308=435 points, 586 GP) is 2 points shy of tying Marian Gaborik (219-218=437, 502 GP for MIN) for most in Wild history. Gaborik was the Wild’s first-ever first-round draft pick (3rd overall, 2000); Koivu was their second (6th overall, 2001).

PHT Morning Skate: Columnist argues McDavid’s already NHL’s most important player

Connor McDavid
AP Photo
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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Although Connor McDavid‘s NHL career has only just gotten started, is he already the league’s most important player? (Sportsnet)

While we’re on the subject of McDavid, what should we expect from him for the remainder of his rookie campaign? (NHL Numbers)

Jack Jablonski was paralyzed on Dec. 30, 2011 at the age of 16 while playing high school hockey, but that hasn’t ended his pursuit of a career in hockey. He’s spent the last two years hosting a weekly hockey-talk radio program and has now joined the Los Angeles Kings as a communications intern. (Orange County Register)

Arizona State has earned its first NCAA victory. (Arizona Republic)

The 2015 Calder Cup champion Manchester Monarchs got their rings. (LA Kings Insider)

The Anaheim Ducks and the Make-A-Wish Foundation gave 13-year-old Kai Quinonez, who was diagnosed with aplastic anemia four years ago, a tremendous experience. (Orange County Register)

Canucks spoil Ducks’ home opener via shootout

Adam Cracknell, Ryan Miller

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Ryan Miller and the Vancouver Canucks have already found a groove just three games into the regular season. The Anaheim Ducks are still looking for a way to get their offense going.

Radim Vrbata and Alex Burrows scored in the shootout, and the Canucks spoiled Anaheim’s home opener with a 2-1 victory Monday night.

Miller made 28 saves and Adam Cracknell scored in regulation for Vancouver, which beat the Ducks for just the third time in their last 12 meetings.

Vancouver improved to 2-0 on the road in the young season, with Miller yielding just one goal in each game. That’s encouraging to the veteran, who played in only four games after Feb. 22 last season while dealing with a knee injury.

“I’m just trying to go out there and battle and compete,” said Miller, who stopped a third-period redirection by Carl Hagelin with his mask. “That was my mindset coming off an injury. That’s what it really comes down to, getting back the focus early on. I didn’t play hockey for a while. The technical stuff I worked on this summer and I pay attention to in practice.”

Even with twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin combining for just one shot, the Canucks won the new season’s first meeting between the Pacific Division’s top two teams last year. Anaheim won its third straight division title, while Vancouver finished a surprising second before losing in the opening round of the playoffs.

Sami Vatanen scored and Frederik Andersen stopped 24 shots for the Ducks, who have scored just one goal while going winless in the first two games of a season that begins with Stanley Cup aspirations.

Anaheim was shut out in San Jose on Saturday in its opener before returning to Honda Center for its first real game on home ice since Game 7 of the Western Conference finals, when Chicago advanced to win the Stanley Cup.

Kevin Bieksa played nearly 24 1/2 minutes in his second game with the Ducks. Anaheim acquired the veteran defenseman from Vancouver last summer after he played 10 years with the Canucks, who drafted him in 2001. Bieksa was reunited with Ryan Kesler, the longtime Vancouver forward who moved to Anaheim before last season.

“We fought back a lot better than we did in San Jose,” Bieksa said. “So we need to keep building on this in the rest of this homestand here. If we do that, we’re going to be all right.”

After the Ducks failed to score on a power play during their first official taste of 3-on-3 overtime hockey, Vrbata and Burrows got stuttering, halting shots past Andersen, who stopped Burrows’ shot before watching it trickle under him.

“I’ve done that move a few times against a few goalies, but I don’t think I’ve ever done it against Freddie,” Burrows said. “So I tried it, and I’m lucky it went in tonight. It hit his stick and trickled in.”

Jakob Silfverberg scored in the shootout for the Ducks, who lost their home opener for just the second time in six seasons. Anaheim’s talented offensive players aren’t clicking so far, but nobody is panicking yet.

“I think we’re doing things the right way now,” Vatanen said. “We battled hard. We got some good chances. The season is long, so we’re going the right way.”

Both teams opened at a furious pace, with end-to-end chances throughout. After a scoreless first period, Vatanen got the Ducks’ first goal of the season when his long, low shot went through Mike Santorelli‘s screen.

Cracknell evened it later in the period with a sharp-angled shot that somehow deflected off Andersen’s shoulder or stick and landed behind the goalie. The journeyman got his first regular-season NHL goal since April 4, 2013, and just the seventh of his 85-game NHL career.

“Pretty fortunate goal on their part,” Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said.

NOTES: A small group of vocal protesters gathered outside Honda Center to call for the suspension of Ducks D Clayton Stoner, who faces charges in Canada related to a 2013 grizzly bear hunt. … Cracknell hadn’t scored a goal in his last 49 regular-season games, although he got a postseason goal in 2014 for St. Louis.