BOSTON – The Minnesota Wild has had enough trouble scoring this season that Cal Clutterbuck isn’t about to question the circumstances surrounding even the flukiest of goals.
The Wild forward scored the go-ahead goal Thursday night when he intercepted Marc Savard’s clearing attempt in the Bruins zone as Minnesota held on to beat Boston 3-1.
“I kind of surprised myself when I got it,” Clutterbuck said. “It’s karma. That kind of thing has happened to us enough times.”
Jose Theodore stopped 35 shots while Martin Havlat also had a bit of a lucky goal for the Wild, converting four seconds into a power play when Shawn Thornton was sent off on a misguided hooking call. Replays showed Wild defenceman Brent Burns merely slipped and fell.
“You guys saw it,” Thornton told reporters through gritted teeth. “I can’t say anything, obviously. What did you see?”
Clutterbuck also assisted on Mikko Koivu’s empty-netter with 43 seconds left. The Wild, who entered the night 21st in the NHL in goals scored this season, have never lost in Boston, and they are 9-2 overall against the Original Six franchise since joining the league in 2000.
“Early on in the year, things weren’t going well and confidence was an issue,” Wild coach Todd Richards said. “But you walk through that room right now, and you can see the confidence starting to build.”
Tuukka Rask made 31 saves for the Bruins, who were 0-for-4 with a man advantage and have never scored a power-play goal against Minnesota. Rask fell to 3-8 for the season despite a .927 save percentage that is fourth in the NHL.
“It’s awful,” Thornton said. “Kid plays that good for us all the time, we don’t get the wins for him. We care about him and we should probably show it in a better way because he stood on his head for us pretty much every night.”
Steven Kampfer scored for Boston, which returned from a five-game road trip in which it earned eight-of-10 points.
The Wild took the lead in the second period when Thornton was called for putting his stick blade in Burns’ gut, even though he had removed it before Burns went down. Thornton barely had taken his seat in the penalty box when, on the ensuing faceoff, Havlat came up with the puck, stickhandled into the slot and put a backhand past Rask to make it 1-0.
Boston tied it later in the period when Patrice Bergeron stole the puck from Burns in the Wild zone. Theodore made the save with his left knee, but left the rebound in front, where Kampfer got it and chipped it under the crossbar.
The Wild went up for good 2:25 into the third period when Savard’s pass in the Boston zone was intercepted by Clutterbuck, who scored on a wrist shot to make it 2-1.
“I tried to flip it out because we had a tired group out there,” Savard said. “I just fanned on it.”
Bruins coach Claude Julien benched Savard for part of the third. The 13-year NHL veteran had just three shifts for a total of three minutes 20 seconds in the final period, though he was the extra skater who came out when Rask was pulled with about 1:20 left.
“When you make a mistake like that, a person has to be held accountable,” Julien said. “You don’t expect a guy like that to do something like that.”
NOTES: Minnesota has outscored Boston 33-16. … Kampfer has four goals in five games; he has only played in 13 NHL games. … Theodore has won seven of his last eight starts against the Bruins, and six of his last seven in Boston. … Wild C Patrick O’Sullivan recorded his 100th NHL assist.