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Bruins 3, Wild 2 (ot)

Bruins snap three-game skid, beat Wild in OT

Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (second from left) celebrates his goal that gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead in the first period against the Wild.Brace Hemmelgarn/USA Today Sports

ST. PAUL — For most of the game, it seemed inevitable. With the luck the Bruins had had of late, with the number of shots the Wild were putting on backup goaltender Niklas Svedberg, this would not be the game to get the Bruins out of the pit that had seemed to widen by the day.

That was especially true after the Bruins had yet another goal disallowed, this one by Chris Kelly when it was judged that he had pushed the puck and Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom’s pad past the goal line at 9:45 of the third.

So it was only fitting that instead of the Bruins being up by two goals, the Wild tied the score less than two minutes later, on a Zach Trotman turnover and a bounce off a skate.


But that wasn’t the end.

Somehow, on the strength of Svedberg and Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson, the Bruins found a way to pull out a badly needed two points with a 3-2 overtime win at the Xcel Energy Center on Wednesday night. It was the third straight game in which they had gone to an extra session, and the first in which they had gotten both points after losing two shootouts in a row.

The winning goal, at 1:30 of OT, came by Eriksson from Soderberg, reversing the order of the Bruins’ first goal, at 5:06 of the first period.

That fact underscored the difference in the Bruins’ offense when that duo, along with Kelly, is in its proper place. Because Kelly-Soderberg-Eriksson is an excellent third line. It is not quite as excellent a second line.

Fortunately for the Bruins, David Krejci made his return, restoring that order. And though that got obscured at times by the offensive push of the Wild, it is something that should bode well for the Bruins going forward, provided Krejci is able to remain in the lineup.


“It’s not too often I’ve seen that, but in the situation we’re in, that one player coming in just seemed to balance a lot of things out with our lineup,” coach Claude Julien said. “Better-suited lines, I thought, for the most part, and when we played well it showed.”

Soderberg’s goal was his first in 16 games, his last coming Nov. 10. For Eriksson, it was his third in five games, perhaps signaling better things ahead for the star-crossed Dallas import.

Either way, Krejci’s return showed immediate benefits.

“It’s not just because I’m in the lineup,” Krejci said. “We can have pretty much good stability all four lines, so no one is playing with different guys. Everyone’s back where they started the season. That’s the stability. Kells got back with the two Swedes, and they got a big two goals.”

But they only had the chance to get that overtime goal because of Svedberg, who made 35 saves, allowing just a Kyle Brodziak goal at 5:33 to tie the score just 27 seconds after the Bruins had taken the lead, and a bad-bounce goal by Jason Pominville at 11:39 of the third that tied it once again.

“He’s been good,” Julien said. “You want that from your backup goaltender. Your No. 1 is going to play most of the games, so when you need him, he needs to be ready to play, and he was tonight. I thought he made some good saves, he battled with a lot of traffic in front of the net, and again gave us that chance to win. Kudos to him for being ready to play.”


That included significant saves on a five-on-three penalty kill in the second period, when the Bruins were down Patrice Bergeron and Kevan Miller for 1:13.

Because, though the Bruins were ahead, 2-1, after the first, the Wild built a 20-5 margin in shots on goal in the second, and it was only by the grace of a handful of posts and Svedberg that they didn’t tie the score (or take the lead) earlier.

The Bruins had gotten their bit of luck, in the form of a Bergeron goal at 17:55 of the first, which gave the Bruins a lead they would not lose until Pominville’s score. Just over the blue line, Bergeron flung the puck toward Backstrom. It knuckled at the goaltender, seemingly headed wide, but sneaked under his arm and into the net for Bergeron’s sixth goal of the season.

“I don’t know about evening out, but it’s nice to get those bounces,” Bergeron said. “We’ll definitely take the extra point.”

Added Julien, “It’s time we got a break. People who have watched us, I’m sure a lot of people said, ‘Finally it’s going our way.’ ”

It didn’t end there. But when it did, after the score was tied and the overtime started and Eriksson scored on the Bruins’ fourth shot of the extra period (compared with none for the Wild), it was the Bruins celebrating. They had earned three of four points so far on their tough Central Division tour. And that was what mattered most as they headed to Winnipeg for Friday’s trip-ending game against the Jets.


“Every once in a while we seem to fall on our heels, and when we fall on our heels, we get ourselves in trouble,” Julien said. “When we decide we’re going to play again like we did in overtime, you see our team back again. It was a good start and a good finish, and in between maybe a bit of a struggle.”

Amalie Benjamin can be reached at abenjamin@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @amaliebenjamin.