NHL scores 2014: Bruins take down pretend rivals as Stars, Senators pitch shutouts
The Wild and Bruins pretended they were rivals on Wednesday. It was cute.
The NHL and NBC have come up with a few good ideas since they began their partnership, most notably the annual NHL Winter Classic. But the more they try to push their “Wednesday Night Rivalries” theme on fans, the less impact it seems to be making.
Wednesday night was the most stark example of how ineffective and irrelevant the venture can become. This week’s Wednesday night rivalry game featured the Minnesota Wild and Boston Bruins, two teams who could not be further from each other’s radars, much less the mortal enemies the NHL wants you to think they are.
Considering that the Bruins have been around for 73 more years than the Wild and the two clubs play in different conferences, the term “rivalry” hardly applied to the affair on Wednesday. Luckily for the NHL, the quality of the game on the ice compensated for the numerous jokes made at #RivalryNight’s expense on social media.
An unlikely goalie duel between Niklas Svedberg and Nicklas Backstrom broke out as the Bruins played a revitalized game with David Krejci back in the lineup and the Wild just tried to keep pace. We’ll give the league credit for stumbling onto one of the more entertaining and back-and-forth Wednesday night games of the season.
But a rivalry game? Maybe next time they should go a bit lighter on that side of things when these two teams play.
All the NHL Scores
Bruins 3, Wild 2 (OT)
Three things we learned
1. Loui Eriksson showed up big. On a day when some publications were lamenting his production over the last two years, Eriksson proved to be the deciding factor for Boston. His one-handed, backhand assist on Carl Soderberg‘s goal opened the scoring, and the two combined again on Eriksson’s game-winning goal in overtime. Who knows, maybe this was the game that Eriksson needed to return to form.
2. The Devils can’t buy a goal. At one point midway through the game, the Senators had only registered eight shots on net. Eight! And yet, the Devils still trailed 1-0. New Jersey ended the game with a 34-16 shot advantage, but had no answer for Craig Anderson. It’s the fourth time the Devils have been shut out this season and the third in 11 games.
3. Kari Lehtonen delivered the performance Dallas needed. The Stars have been waiting all season for their franchise goalie to put in thekind of dominating game he showed on Wednesday. Lehtonen was fantastic from the start, stopping all 29 shots the Canucks threw his way. With the commitment to shot blocking, defensively sound hockey and a revitalized Lehtonen in net, the Stars very well might be turning a corner.
Maybe the Devils would score more if they would just pass to Jaromir Jagr when he calls for the puck.
Stat of the Night
I bet you didn’t know this about Loui Eriksson.
.@NHLBruins‘ Loui Eriksson scored his 7th career OT goal. Since 2008-09, only Ovechkin (10) & Stamkos (8) have more OT goals than Eriksson.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) December 18, 2014