BOSTON — The Wild went to Boston down five regulars and lost another one before Thursday's game against the Bruins even started.
Brandon Duhaime was on the ice at TD Garden for the team's morning skate, then left after the winger's pre-skate COVID-19 test came back positive.
Coach Dean Evason said Duhaime would be re-tested, but instead of appearing in the lineup, he joined teammate Jordan Greenway in the NHL's COVID protocols.
With Duhaime missing his first game this season, the Wild promoted Calen Addison from the taxi squad and dressed seven defensemen. Center Victor Rask was moved to the taxi squad after clearing waivers Wednesday.
The Wild is now without six regulars, including an injured foursome of winger Nick Bjugstad, center Joel Eriksson Ek, defenseman Jared Spurgeon and goaltender Cam Talbot.
Bjugstad was the latest to get hurt, suffering an upper-body injury at practice on Tuesday that Evason said will keep Bjugstad sidelined "for a while." In 28 games this season, Bjugstad has four goals and an assist.
"Right at the end [of practice], too," Evason said. "But we tried to have game simulation, right? So, maybe that's why. The guys were really focused the last couple of days and competed our butts off and injuries happen, and Bjugy's obviously a big part of our team. He's a great teammate.
"To happen like it did, it's a freak thing. We'll get through it. He'll get through it, too."
The Wild did get Jonas Brodin back vs. the Bruins; it was the defenseman's first game since testing positive for COVID-19 last week and sitting out the Winter Classic.
"Just bad timing," Brodin said.
After initially testing positive, Brodin had two negative results come back on rapid tests and he figured he was a false positive. But then his original test was confirmed positive.
Later in the week, the NHL revised its protocols so that a positive player could exit isolation after five days if he met certain testing requirements and Brodin thought he would be able to return in time to play at Target Field.
"I got happy again," he said, "and then I just kept testing positive the whole week there. So, that was tough."
While sidelined, Brodin said he "felt great." His parents were supposed to attend the Winter Classic but after he tested positive, they didn't make the trip. Brodin watched the game at home on TV, the second outdoor game he's missed with the Wild. He was sidelined because of a broken foot when the Wild played a Stadium Series game at TCF Bank Stadium in 2016.
"I wish I was out there," Brodin said. "It looked so cool. Everything, a lot of people, and everything around it. So, it's a cool experience. But maybe I'll have a chance, one more maybe. We'll see."
Forwards Matt Boldy and Marcos Rossi became the sixth and seventh players to make their NHL debuts with the Wild on Thursday, but that wasn't the first time Boldy has been at TD Garden in Boston. The game wasn't even his first at the arena.
A Boston College product who's from Millis, Mass., Boldy made a couple of Beanpot appearances at TD Garden after attending the college hockey tournament growing up.
"You can't draw it up any better, to be honest," Boldy said. "Just coming into this building and playing Boston for my first NHL game, it's something I dreamed about. You just never think it's going to come true because the chances of it are so small. It's awesome."
Boldy expected nine family members in attendance Thursday, while Rossi was anticipating his parents and a few friends to catch his debut. As for Boldy's former teammates at Boston College, a roster that includes Wild prospects Jack McBain, Nikita Nesterenko and Marshall Warren, Boldy said they would be set up in a suite at the game.
"The biggest thing for me is just having my friends and family here," Boldy said. "Just makes it so much more special."
Boldy rewarded their attendance with his first NHL goal, scoring at 12:26 of the second period on assists from Brodin and Marcus Foligno.