Malcolm Subban received an early hook in a 5-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)
BOSTON – Malcolm Subban’s second NHL game went better than this first. But not by much.
Back in an NHL net for the first time since he allowed three goals on six shots against in a Feb. 20, 2015 loss to the St. Louis Blues, the 22-year-old Subban helped keep the Bruins and visiting Minnesota Wild scoreless through the first period of play. But just like it did on that St. Louis night in 2015, the second period came and the wheels simply fell off for the former first-round draft pick.
It began with a Charlie Coyle goal, his third of the season, that took a bad hop before it bounced through Subban’s legs. The Wild capitalized on poor defensive play behind the B’s net just 12 seconds later to make it a two-goal edge behind Chris Stewart’s second goal of the season. The Wild then extended their lead to 3-0 behind a power-play strike from defenseman Ryan Suter.
With three goals allowed in a 5:29 stretch, an improvement from his aforementioned first NHL game which came with three goals against in a 4:21 stretch in the second (but again, not by much), Subban’s night ended after just 13 saves in 30:36 of time on ice, and Zane McIntyre came on in relief for his first NHL appearance.
But it didn’t get better for the B’s organization’s fourth goaltender, as Jason Zucker scored six minutes into McIntyre’s night to put the Wild up by a 4-0 score through two periods of play.
The Wild would add another goal in the third period on a net-front putaway scored on McIntyre by Jason Pominville to make it 5-0 in favor of the visitors.
The five-goal edge would hold for Minnesota, too, as they cruised to a 5-0 finish at TD Garden behind a 27-save shutout from goaltender Devan Dubnyk.
It was the first time the Bruins have been shutout this season.
Here are four other things we learned in the loss.
Adam McQuaid returns to lineup
Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid returned to the lineup in the loss and made his season debut after missing the first five games of the year with an upper-body injury.
Paired with familiar partner Torey Krug, the 30-year-old McQuaid very much looked like a defenseman doing his best to return to game-speed against one of the quicker teams in the NHL.
In front of the net on Minnesota’s first goal, and in the box for the Suter power-play goal that officially ended Subban’s night, McQuaid was also credited with the giveaway that led to the Wild’s fourth goal of the night.
Bruins survive injury scare with David Krejci
Just when you thought things could not get any worse for an injury-plagued Bruins club, center David Krejci exited the game after an awkward collision and fall with Wild forward Nino Niederreiter in the second period. In a collision led by McQuaid’s crosscheck of Niederreiter from behind, No. 22 in white appeared to clip Krejci’s upper body with brute force, and Krejci, who had offseason hip surgery just six months ago, fell backwards in an awkward angle and was very slow to get up before he made his way to the Bruins dressing room.
The good news for the Bruins is that Krejci, who appeared to suffer a cut and nothing more on the play, did return for the third period and logged regular shifts without much of an issue.
Down David Backes, and with Ryan Spooner readjusting to life at center after a full training camp and start of the season at left wing, the Bruins undoubtedly need a healthy Krejci in their lineup.
Julien shuffles lines up in third period
Starved for offense, and in the midst of getting their doors blown off, head coach Claude Julien tinkered with the lines in the third period of the game. He moved David Pastrnak to a line with Matt Beleskey and Krejci, while Danton Heinen skated on the right side of the first line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. It’s a move that could come as an effort to spread some of the offensive game around, as Pastrnak and Marchand have been the only two consistent wingers making things happen for the Black and Gold through the first six games of the season.
Offensive zone turnovers become glaring issue in loss
The Bruins were credited with seven giveaways in the first period of this loss. By the end of the second period, they had 10 to their name. By the end of the night, they had 16. Against a team and system that pressures the puck-carrier to lead their charge the other way, the Bruins fumbled and stumbled with the puck on a consistent basis, especially in the attacking zone. It may have been the only consistency in their game. Everyone was a suspect in the turnover game. Even members of Boston’s top six — Krejci finished the night with a team-high three while Marchand was credited with two — were guilty. And it almost always came back to cost the Bruins, too, as the Wild’s fourth goal simply doesn’t happen without an ugly d-zone turnover from the blue line.
The Bruins are back in action tomorrow night in a road game against the New York Rangers.