Bruins-Wild Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated February 18, 2012
While they've alternated wins and losses over their past six games, the Boston Bruins have been more consistent against their next opponent. However, it's not in the way they would like. The Bruins will try to bounce back from another loss by recording a rare win over the struggling Minnesota Wild, who look to avoid matching their longest losing streak in franchise history Sunday afternoon. Inconsistent scoring has played a large part in Boston's inability to get a run going. The Bruins (35-19-2) have tallied a combined three goals during their past five losses and 23 in their last six victories. "The past is the past. We have to perform in the present, which we're not doing right now, every individual," center Gregory Campbell said. "The success we've gotten in the past and in recent times is because we've worked hard and deserved the benefits. That's something that we have to resort back to, look at ourselves in the mirror and be accountable." Boston has also given up three or more goals in five consecutive games and 19 overall, but still holds a four-point lead over Ottawa in the Northeast Division with four games in hand. After prevailing in a shootout over rival Montreal on Wednesday, Boston fell 4-2 in Winnipeg on Friday by allowing two goals during a 2:04 span early in the third period and dropped to 1-1-0 on its season-high, six-game road trip. "We just keep working on trying to find our game, find our rhythm," coach Claude Julien said. "It's a challenge but you've got to just keep working through it. It's as simple as that." A visit to Minnesota wouldn't seem to provide an ideal opportunity for the Bruins to find that rhythm - they're 2-9-0 all-time against the Wild. Minnesota, though, enters this game 0-4-1 in its last five home games and 0-5-2 in its last seven overall. The Wild (25-24-9) have been outscored 21-9 during their current losing streak, one shy of the franchise mark set March 10-26 and tied Dec. 13-28. Their offensive struggles continued Saturday with a 4-0 defeat in St. Louis. The Wild, 5-17-6 since a 20-7-3 start, gave up three second-period goals while getting outshot 17-3. Minnesota was outshot 34-13 for the game, the third straight time it has gotten fewer shots than its opponent. "This is not where we want to be," coach Mike Yeo said. "This is certainly something that we have to address." Mikko Koivu scored the clinching empty-net goal during a 3-1 win in Boston on Jan. 6, 2011, but the Wild captain might have to sit out this matchup. He missed Saturday's loss with an undisclosed injury, the 13th game he's been absent for this season. Tyler Seguin, meanwhile, is expected to be on the ice for Boston despite missing practice Saturday. Niklas Backstrom might be charged with trying to stop Seguin and the Bruins after Josh Harding played Saturday. Backstrom is also 3-0-1 with a 1.23 goals-against average in four career games against Boston, while Harding has never faced the Bruins. Boston could counter with Tim Thomas after starting Tuukka Rask on Friday. Thomas allowed two goals on 32 shots in his only start against the Wild, a 2-1 home defeat March 8, 2007. Rask, though, is 1-1-0 with a 1.45 GAA in two lifetime matchups.
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