Wild blanked 3-0 in home finale
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Locked into the second spot in the Atlantic Division, the Boston Bruins took the opportunity to rest several players in advance of the playoffs.
Jaroslav Halak made sure there was no letdown and Zach Senyshyn took advantage in his NHL debut.
Halak made 26 saves for his fifth shutout of the season and 47th of his career, and short-handed Boston beat the Minnesota Wild 3-0 on Thursday night.
“That’s how we want to finish the season, playing the right way,” Halak said. “Although both teams were missing some key guys from the lineups, it could go either way. But like I said, I’m just happy the guys that played, played great, making the right plays at the right time.”
Joakim Nordstrom, David Pastrnak and Senyshyn scored for the Bruins.
Halak, who has split time with Tuukka Rask in goal for Boston this season, was rarely challenged by a Minnesota team that was shut out for the 10th time this season and seventh on its home ice.
“It was a pretty emotionless game on both sides, I think,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. “It’s very frustrating. I was getting mad on the bench saying, ‘We aren’t getting shut out again.’ I think that’s the 11th time this year. You can’t win like that.”
The Bruins, who have the second-most points in the East behind Atlantic champion Tampa Bay, rested Zdeno Chara, David Krecji, Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy. Regulars Chris Wagner, John Moor and Sean Kuraly also missed the game with injuries.
“We don’t really have anything to play for today and next game, but we want to play to our standard,” Nordstrom said. “We want to build our game and end the regular season on a good note.”
Alex Stalock stopped 32 shots for Minnesota, which has lost nine times in its past 13 games and was eliminated from playoff contention on Tuesday.
The Wild were 3-8-4 at home since the All-Star break and the 10 shutouts this season are tied for the second most in franchise history, and the most since 2002-03, the franchise’s third year in existence.
“I think just energy-wise, I feel like, for some reason on the road maybe we’re just a bit simpler and had more jump,” Minnesota defenseman Jared Spurgeon said. “But I thought we had a decent first period today, and then they got the one and we couldn’t muster anything.”
A game that didn’t mean anything for either team didn’t feature much action until Nordstrom broke the scoreless stretch midway through the second period.
Boston defenseman Matt Grzelcyk sent in a shot that went wide of the goal and bounced off the end boards where forward Noel Acciari astutely tipped the puck out to the front of the net. Nordstrom was wide open in front and sent a quick shot past Stalock for his seventh goal of the season.
Pastrnak and Senyshyn scored 36 seconds apart with less than three minutes remaining. It was Pastrnak’s team-leading and career-high 38th goal. Senyshyn, the 15th-overall pick in the 2015 draft by Boston, capped the scoring with an empty-netter.
“It feels incredible,” Senyshyn said of getting his first career goal. “I know it’s not the way you envision it, but I’ll take it any way I can get it. That was a dream come true for sure.”
NOTES: Bruins D Kevan Miller left the game in the second period after awkwardly sliding into the end boards knee first. He later returned but sat out the third period. Coach Bruce Cassidy said it was a lower-body injury and expects Miller to play on Saturday. … Krecji had been the only Boston player to play in every game this season, and he had played in 125 straight games. … Boudreau told reporters Thursday that Zach Parise won’t play in the final two games. Parise (illness) returned from missing four games with a lower-body injury to score two goals on Tuesday. … Wild F Nico Sturm made his NHL debut after the college free agent had signed on Monday. Sturm had 14 goals and 31 assists during his recently finished junior season at Colgate.
Bruins: Wrap up the regular season on Saturday at home against Tampa Bay.
Wild: Finish the season on Saturday at Dallas.