ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Wild lost yet another game — and coach Mike Yeo lost his job.
Yeo was fired after the free-falling Wild’s 4-2 loss to the streaking Boston Bruins on Saturday. Minnesota promoted John Torchetti from its Iowa affiliate in the American Hockey League to interim coach.
General manager Chuck Fletcher said recently that Yeo’s job was safe.
“I knew what he said the other day, and I’m a realist,” Yeo said after the game and before the firing. “You can’t lose every game and expect to think that there’s not going to be changes. I’m operating under the assumption that I’m going to be the coach tomorrow, and I know what I’m going to do, and it’s going to be something different from what we’ve done.”
The Wild have lost seven in a row and 13 of 14. They tied the longest home winless streak in franchise history at eight games (0-5-3).
“The message is pretty simple: I’m not freaking quitting here, and I’m not quitting on this group, and I’m going to show some fight,” Yeo said about pulling goaltender Darcy Kuemper with a two-goal deficit late in the game. “Again, I believe in the group, but they better start believing in each other, and they better start delivering.”
The 42-year-old Yeo was 173-132-44 in five seasons with the Wilds. He was 11-17 in the playoffs.
David Krejci broke a tie in the second period, 35 seconds after Minnesota scored, and backup goalie Gustavsson made 31 saves for the Bruins.
Boston scoring leader Patrice Bergeron was held out with an undisclosed injury and is considered day to day.
Brad Marchand opened the scoring with a short-handed goal in the first, his 19th career short-handed goal and the most of any player since he entered the league in 2009-10. Marchand has scored in six straight games and has 12 goals in his last 12 games.
“Whenever you lose a guy like Bergie, you can’t replace him,” Marchand said. “But if everyone picks it up a little bit and plays a little bit better then you can fill that gap a little bit. But I thought we played a pretty sound game tonight and we got the two points, which is huge, and now we can move on.”
Vanek tied it midway through the second period, getting a deflection off of Gustavsson for his first goal in 11 games. Krejci countered 35 seconds later when his shot hit Minnesota’s Nino Niederreiter, who went crashing into the net.
Officials credited Krejci with the goal following a replay, with the puck seemingly entering the net as it was knocked off the moorings by Niederreiter.
“It seems to be the trend,” Vanek said. “We work so hard to finally get one and get this crowd into it and we take the crowd out of it pretty quickly again.”
Loui Eriksson scored the 200th goal of his career on a breakaway in the third and Zdeno Chara added an empty-netter for Boston.
In the midst of their longest trip of the season, the Bruins are 13-3-3 in their last 19 road games.
The Wild are headed in the opposite direction. They haven’t won at home since Dec. 28, the longest streak in franchise history since the team’s first year of existence in 2001.
Minnesota was in playoff position at the end of December, holding the top Wild Card spot. The Wild have the league’s worst record since the start of 2016 at 3-12-4 and have allowed at least four goals in seven of the past eight games.
NOTES: Rookie C Joonas Kemppainen was recalled from Providence of the American Hockey League to fill in for Bergeron. … D Jared Spurgeon participated in the pregame skate but was held out of his third straight game for Minnesota with an unspecified deep bruise. … Reilly’s goal with 37 seconds remaining was the first of his career. … The win gave Boston coach Claude Julien his 500th NHL victory. Julien is six wins shy of tying Art Ross for the lead among Boston coaches with 387.
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