January 7, 2011

Theodore, Clutterbuck shine as Wild earn 3-1 win in Boston

by Jesse Connolly

BOSTON -- With upcoming games against the Canadiens and Penguins, many feared that Thursday's tilt with the Minnesota Wild would be a trap game for the Boston Bruins. As adamant as they were that all their focus would be on their visitors from the Western Conference, the B's ultimately fell right in, falling by a score of 3-1.

 "I think we were ready," said forward Cal Clutterbuck, as his team entered the night just two points out of a playoff spot in the West.

 "I think the thing we are getting good at is knowing what we need from everybody to be able to be successful. We got the guys that are just willing to do it right now. That’s the bottom line. It is just a recognition of how we need to play, and coming together as a group.

 "I think you can hear us on the bench. The energy on the bench is a lot better. Guys are just behind each other. We’re tugging with the same rope, you know?"

 Clutterbuck, the shining star on the evening with the game-winning goal in the third period, an assist, and a whopping ten hits, helped the Wild improved to 6-0-0 lifetime in Boston.

 "It feels good," he said of the victory. "It was a fun game to play. That was for sure. It was what we needed, to win in the building."

 Coach Todd Richards was impressed with Clutterbuck's well-rounded outing.

 "Well, that’s not uncommon for Cal, and I’m talking about the hits, and the goals are starting to become more familiar too; things that you start to expect out of Cal when he gets in those shooting positions," Richards said.

 "He brings the energy to our team. He brings the physicality to our team. He creates opportunities just by getting in hard on the forecheck, not always hitting but I think the defensemen is starting to think, ‘Okay, here comes Clutterbuck,’ and he makes a quicker decision that he probably wants to, it ends up as a turnover and we get to play in their zone so, he’s been very good for us this year."


Another player who got the job done tonight for the Wild was goaltender Jose Theodore, the former league MVP with the Montreal Canadiens. Theodore improved to 3-0-0 in his last three starts, all of which have come with Niklas Backstrom -- Minnesota's workhorse between the pipes -- sidelined by an injury.

 "Every time you're out there, there's always pressure," Theodore said when asked if he felt a stronger onus to succeed in Backstrom's absence. "You're out there, you wanna play well. (Whether) you play once every ten games or every game, you feel the pressure and it's up to you to deliver."

 Winning at TD Garden is hardly a fresh experience for Theodore, who has enjoyed a fair amount of success in his career against the B's.

 "Boston is always a fun place to play," the Wild netminder said. "They are going to come out really hard and that's what they did tonight. We responded. We worked really hard, and I thought both teams played a solid game. It could have went either way. But we stuck to the game plan and we got a big two points."

 The Bruins may have come out hard in their matchup with Minnesota but, as has been the case every time the Wild have entered the B's barn, they once again went home empty-handed.