All the Wild needed last night was one.
Superb defense and perfect goaltending made sure that Marek Zildicky's second-period power-play goal was enough to lift the Minnesota Wild to a 1-0 victory, as their top-ranked defense shut down the NHL's top-ranked offense.
Shut out for the first time this season, the Bruins had a hard time finding an answer for Wild netminder Niklas Backstrom, who posted his second consecutive shutout last night at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston.
Backstrom was perfect in net for the Wild, stopping all 28 Boston shots, frustrating the league's most dynamic offense. The Bruins were able to put pressure on Backstrom, especially early on, but they missed out on a few major scoring chances.
"Tonight they played really well and it seemed like we couldn't get anything going," said Michael Ryder. "We had a few chances and couldn't get one past him."
The frustration was clear, as the Bruins were able to dominate many of the one on one situations earlier in the game, but were unable to get a shot off when it mattered the most. Rookie Blake Wheeler dangled the puck into the zone almost at will, juking around defenders left and right, but the Wild would converge on any Bruins puckhandler in the slot area, snuffing out any scoring chances and minimizing shot attempts.
Manny Fernandez was great in net last night, but lost his first game at home of the season. He is now 9-1 at the Garden this year. He stopped 23 shots himself, but Zildicky's blast from the point during a Minnesota power play was the difference in a tough, gritty contest.
The Wild improve to 8-1 all time versus the Bruins, and own a 5-0 record against the B's in Boston.
The Bruins have also lost two games in a row, after going on a 14-game home winning streak. Coach Claude Julien is not ready to hit the panic button just yet however.
"I don't want to say a slump. We've lost two games," said Julien. ""We've kind of lost that confidence."
Next up for the B's are the hungry Ottawa Senators Thursday night at the Garden.
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