WATCH LIVE: Minnesota Wild at Boston Bruins

Boston won its first game without defenseman Zdeno Chara (PCL) on Saturday, but the Bruins have a long road ahead of them before he’ll be back. They will continue that journey tonight against the Minnesota Wild. The game will start at 7:00 p.m. ET and you can watch it on NBCSN or via NBC Sports’ Live Extra stream.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

While you wait for the game to start, here is some relevant reading material:

Wild make flurry of moves, Haula out tonight

NHL on NBCSN: Bruins, Wild try to find their footing

Trotman and Morrow era set to begin in Boston

Bruins cruise against Bernier, Leafs

NHL on NBCSN: Bruins, Wild try to find their footing

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NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign when the Boston Bruins host the Minnesota Wild at the TD Garden at 7:00 p.m. ET tonight. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

It’s unlikely that many pundits picked the Boston Bruins to face the Minnesota Wild in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final – at least not against each other – yet both teams came into 2014-15 with high hopes. They’re currently hitting some bumps in the road early on, though.

For the Bruins, it’s a time of opportunities and challenges.

With Zdeno Chara on the mend for at least a month, rising defensemen Torey Krug and Dougie Hamilton gain the chance to prove that the B’s future isn’t so grim without “The Big Z.” Krug, for one, told CSNNE.com that he’s eager to show that he can handle increased minutes and responsibilities.

“When your name is called you do whatever you can to help the team win. The goal is always to build trust between me and the coaching staff,” Krug said. “I think they’re definitely starting to show a little more trust in me, and it’s a challenge that I really enjoy.

“We understand that we’ve got guys in here that can play those big minutes and fill the void. A game like [the win vs. the Leafs] shows that we can do it, but it’s about everybody stepping up rather than just one or two guys.”

It’s probably accurate to say that Hamilton stepped up the most in Boston’s first post-Chara game (a 4-1 win against Toronto), scoring a goal and two assists.

Deep down, scoring has been the biggest issue for the Bruins so far in their 5-5-0 start. While Chara’s absence leaves a crater behind on defense, Claude Julien is still searching for answers, including finding the right fit for the David Krejci – Milan Lucic line.

The Wild try to pick themselves up after a tough loss

Before Monday’s third period meltdown against the New York Rangers, Darcy Kuemper only allowed more than one goal in a single period in 2014-15. The Wild’s late-game struggles spotlight the perils of assuming too much from the first few weeks of any season, as despite a massive +12 goal differential, Minnesota’s record is just 4-3-0.

Despite boasting an enviable array of offensive threats including Zach Parise, Thomas Vanek, Jason Pominville and Mikko Koivu, the Wild haven’t been able to notch a single power-play goal so far this season. They’re a pitiful 0-for-24 so far, which is a number that would be even more troubling if the team hasn’t been so dominant in other areas. In these past seven games, the Wild have only allowed one power-play goal, one shorthanded tally and nine even-strength goals.

The two teams don’t have the deepest histories, yet Niklas Backstrom has been a Bruins buster.

As NHL.com notes, Backstrom is 4-0-1 with great individual stats (.969 save percentage, .98 GAA) in five career games against Boston. Considering Kuemper’s tough night and the back-to-back games, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Finn possibly face off against fellow countryman Tuukka Rask tonight. The question is: could Backstrom start to push Kuemper for reps with a strong performance?

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Considering the two teams’ recent histories, Wild – Bruins hints at a grinding, low-scoring battle … on paper. These two teams are just starting to carve out their identities in 2014-15, though.

Bruins assign Morrow to AHL

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The Boston Bruins have assigned defenseman Joe Morrow back to the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League.

Morrow was recalled Friday along with Zach Trotman following the news captain Zdeno Chara would miss 4-6 weeks with a PCL injury.

Trotman made his regular season debut Saturday night in Boston’s 4-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs – his third career NHL game.

The 24-year-old had 12:23 in time on ice in the win registering two shots on goal and hit.

Morrow meanwhile was a healthy scratch.

The 21-year-old has a goal and an assist in five games with Providence this season.

Bruins cruise against Bernier, Leafs

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One night into an elevated role with Zdeno Chara on the shelf, Dougie Hamilton’s numbers look pretty good for the Boston Bruins. Of course, some might attribute that to a flat performance by the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Jonathan Bernier didn’t make it through the entire game, as Randy Carlyle decided to give him the hook after Hamilton made it 4-0 about four minutes into the third period:

The 21-year-old has that goal and two assists on Saturday. That’s offense than Hamilton produced in his nine previous games this season.

Does this mean the goaltending pendulum swings back to James Reimer in Toronto?

Whatever the case may be, the Maple Leafs’ issues extend beyond the net. (Looks at David Clarkson, in particular.)

Update: The Bruins ended up winning 4-1.

Ottawa tragedy ‘hit home’ for Bruins’ Julien

Coaches generally aren’t in a rush to get off the ice following a practice; however, on Wednesday morning Bruins’ coach Claude Julien had an important phone call to make following his team’s skate in Boston.

Julien’s mother resides in Orleans, Ontario less than 12 miles from the National War Memorial in Ottawa, Ontario where Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was shot and killed.

Julien said his mother was blissfully unaware of the situation going on nearby when he called and advised she turn on the television.

The television will likely be on tonight in the Julien household as the Bruins are in Toronto to take on the Maple Leafs, one of three Canadian cities, which will partake in a simultaneous ceremony to honor Wednesday’s victim.

“I think its’ important and I certainly support the fact that they’re doing it,” said Julien. “I’m from Ottawa so it did hit home. I’ve seen it in Boston so it’s not the first time I’ve experienced those situations and it doesn’t get any easier.

“Its’ unfortunate and you hope we can, somehow down the road, make these things disappear. Obviously it is easier said than done, but I think it’s important to recognize our people for what they do and what they stand for. The soldier certainly didn’t deserve that.

With his team arriving in Toronto on Friday night, Julien had a chance to watch some Canadian news. The 54-year-old was visibly emotional talking about it following his team’s optional skate Saturday.

“Watching the news last night, seeing how people rallied around and stood by the 401 (Highway of Heroes) and the overpass, it was really touching,” he said. “I get shivers talking about it, but it just shows the solidarity of people that believe in their country and believe in standing together.”

The players don’t believe the pre-game ceremony will have an impact on how the game is played.

“I think emotions are going to be high obviously that’s something that everybody feels,” said Leafs defenseman Cody Franson. “Anytime something like this happens, I think it’s great that we’re doing something like this. It shows unity and I think everybody is really going to enjoy the process tonight.

“I don’t think it’s hard to focus. I think it’s something you feed off of. I don’t think it’s going to be distracting in any way, but it’s important to show respect.”

The plan is to have the Canadian anthem, which will be sung from Ottawa’s Canadian Tire Centre, played in both Toronto’s Air Canada Centre and Montreal’s Bell Centre along with a moment of silence prior to puck drop.