Playing out the string, Bruins shut out Minnesota

Zach Senyshyn potted an empty netter for his first NHL goal in his debut.

Jaroslav Halak and Karson Kuhlman celebrate a win against the Wild on Thursday night in St. Paul, Minn. –The Associated Press

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Locked into the second spot in the Atlantic Division, the Bruins took the opportunity to rest several players in advance of the playoffs. Jaroslav Halak made sure there was no letdown and Zach Senyshyn took advantage in his NHL debut.

Halak made 26 saves for his fifth shutout of the season and 47th of his career, and short-handed Boston beat the Minnesota Wild 3-0 on Thursday night.

“That’s how we want to finish the season, playing the right way,” Halak said. “Although both teams were missing some key guys from the lineups, it could go either way. But like I said, I’m just happy the guys that played, played great, making the right plays at the right time.”

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Joakim Nordstrom, David Pastrnak and Senyshyn scored for the Bruins, who will win 50 games for the second straight season if they can beat NHL-leading Tampa Bay on Saturday in the regular-season finale.

Halak, who has split time with Tuukka Rask in goal for Boston this season, was rarely challenged by a Minnesota team that was shut out for the 10th time this season and seventh on its home ice.

“It was a pretty emotionless game on both sides, I think,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said.

The Bruins, who have the second-most points in the East behind Atlantic champion Tampa Bay, rested Zdeno Chara, David Krejci — who’d played in 125 straight games and was the only Bruin to play in every game this season — Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy. Regulars Chris Wagner, John Moor and Sean Kuraly also missed the game with injuries.

“We don’t really have anything to play for today and next game, but we want to play to our standard,” Nordstrom said. “We want to build our game and end the regular season on a good note.”

Alex Stalock stopped 32 shots for Minnesota, which has lost nine times in its past 13 games and was eliminated from playoff contention on Tuesday.

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“I think just energy-wise, I feel like, for some reason on the road maybe we’re just a bit simpler and had more jump,” Minnesota defenseman Jared Spurgeon said. “But I thought we had a decent first period today, and then they got the one and we couldn’t muster anything.”

A game that didn’t mean anything for either team didn’t feature much action until Nordstrom broke the scoreless stretch midway through the second period.

Matt Grzelcyk sent in a shot that went wide of the goal and bounced off the end boards where forward Noel Acciari astutely tipped the puck out to the front of the net. Nordstrom was wide open in front and sent a quick shot past Stalock for his seventh goal of the season.

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Pastrnak and Senyshyn scored 36 seconds apart with less than three minutes remaining. It was Pastrnak’s team-leading and career-high 38th goal. Senyshyn, the 15th-overall pick in the 2015 draft by Boston, capped the scoring with an empty-netter.

Kevan Miller left the game in the second period after awkwardly sliding into the end boards knee first. He later returned but sat out the third period. Coach Bruce Cassidy said it was a lower-body injury and expects Miller to play on Saturday.