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Anthony Mantha’s hat-trick, five-point night says forget your tank and the Hirose you rode in on: Wings beat Boston 6-3

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NHL: Boston Bruins at Detroit Red Wings Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Wings are unstoppable lately and the Bruins are trying to get set up for the playoffs. Let’s see how our Sunday Night hockey game is going to go with all the broken Wings out of the lineup.

Dylan Larkin started us off with saying some nice captainly things about how well the Wings are playing and included nice things about the Bruins that he certainly didn’t mean. Just curious to see how long before he’s given that C. You think it happens before the draft? I think that would work just fine. Either then or at the outset of training camp.

First Period

The very first shift of the game, we start off with Torey Krug hitting Taro Hirose away from the puck and taking a penalty. Of course, the first scoring chance of the game goes to the Bruins on a shorthanded 2-on-1 with Bergeron and Marchand where the shot knocks Howard’s stick out of his grasp. This remains the only scoring chance of the game throughout the first two minutes.

The Wings did eventually get a shot on goal, as the Larkin line continued to be entertaining, followed by a really good chance by the Bruins at the seven minute mark that Howard had to spread out to keep out of the net on a redirect and rebound.

The Bruins continued to carry the play through the next few minutes, as a good backcheck by Helm prevents a big scoring chance off a Kronwall turnover. Then Madison Bowey crushes Marchand and then ignores Patrice Bergeron trying to instigate a fight.

Just out of the commercial, we get the top line again and some great battling by Bertuzzi and Larkin sets up a wonderful no-look spinning backhand pass from Larkin to Mantha on the back door for a one-timer over Halak’s shoulder to make it 1-0 Red Wings.

The Wings carry some momentum out of this goal, but take the next penalty of the game as AA gets called for slashing David Krejci following another defensive zone turnover by Kronwall and Helm. The Bruins get a decent look at a shot right off the faceoff but other than that can’t get much running for the two minute penalty.

Unfortunately, the Wings would give Boston another chance on the power play off a “Christoffer Ehn” penalty. Chelios made a bad read in the neutral zone and found himself behind the play, but the refs called it on Ehn. This Boston PP is more dangerous than the first, but just as productive in the 1:58 it lasts before Darren Helm and Andreas Athanasiou get a rush up ice which ends in a penalty for Grzelcyk.

I’m busy writing up how the period ends with the Wings taking carryover PP to the 2nd when Anthony Mantha takes a feed from Kronwall and ruins that idea, making it 2-0 with 1 second left in the period.

The Score: 2-0 Wings
The Shots: 9-8 Wings
Standout Players: Dylan Larkin, Madison Bowey, Tyler Bertuzzi, Anthony Mantha
The Period All Summed Up: This is Anthony Mantha’s world.

Second Period

The 2nd starts innocently enough, with Zdeno Chara bouncing a pass off Frk’s leg onto Halak, who stops it and pushes it to Jake DeBrusk to start a rush up ice that creates a give-and-go with Krejci busting DeBrusk in alone on Howard for a shot high tot he blocker side and into the net to make it 2-1 Detroit.

Boston would also enjoy the next scoring opportunity - a Torey Krug shot from the slot saved by Howard after a feed by the goalscorer DeBrusk.

The ice didn’t stay tilted in Boston’s favor forever though. Detroit finally got a scoring chance with under 12 minutes to go, but Halak came up big on a breakaway to Anthony Mantha to deny him the hatty. On the rebound, Boston cleared it over the glass though, so Detroit got another power play opportunity.

The power play goes badly. 2-2 tie:

Hey you’re never going to believe which line creates the next scoring chance for the Red Wings...

Later in the period, we get a fight. Luke Witkowski crushes Joakim Nordstrom with an open-ice check and Noel Acciari picks a fight that Witkowski finishes pretty aggressively. Both head to the box. Acciari ends up with the instigator he deserves and the Wings head back to the PP... for 20 seconds until Athanasiou is victimized by Brad Marchand diving into him at the blue line and drawing an interference penalty.

Nothing going during this timeframe, but the Bruins do make it 3-2 at the 19:00 mark of the period; Backes tips a Kevan Miller point shot after another Kronwall turnover.

The rest of the period ends without the Wings giving up any more goals.

The Score: 3-2 Bruins
The Shots: 17-17
Standout Players: Larkin’s whole line again
The Period All Summed Up: Boston played better.

Third Period

The third starts with an interference penalty to Jake DeBrusk which leads quickly to ANTHONY MANTHA’S FIRST CAREER HAT TRICK to make it 3-3.

WE DON’T EVEN GET TO CELEBRATE THAT LONG AS TARO HIROSE SCORES HIS FIRST NHL GOAL EIGHT SECONDS LATER OFF A BEAUTY FEED FROM ATHANASIOU! 4-3 RED WINGS.

The Bruins give a lot of pushback following the Hirose goal but Detroit keeps them to the outside effectively and start to work towards un-tilting the ice again. This provides limited results while Larkin’s line isn’t on the ice, with Boston’s next dangerous chance coming off Luke Witkowski bowling over Howard and then Martin Frk turning the puck over right behind his goal line.

We also got news about seven minutes into the period that Danny DeKeyser would not return due to a lower-body injury, so get ready for the Derek Meech 2.0 era to begin soon in the last three games of this season.

I realize I’ve spent a lot of this recap talking about the Larkin line right as Athanasiou nearly sets up another beautiful goal and I’m probably not giving him enough credit for doing yeoman’s work on the Wing’s 2nd line with Helm and Hirose.

Boston’s top line creates some havoc in the Wings’ end and Marchand almost ties it up off a rebound that Howard lets through but redirects away from his net. Detroit picks it up and carries into Boston’s end, starts a brief cycle, and then Mantha finds Hronek with a cross-ice pass for an absolute bomb past Halak to make it 5-3 Red Wings.

Boston would get another power play opportunity in short order; Charlie Coyle gets behind Hirose in the neutral zone and draws a slashing call. After a slow start to the PP, Boston gets real dangerous, especially David Pastrnak, who thinks he has a goal on a backhand roofer after breaking in on Howard. The NBCSN crew patiently awaits a horn to give Boston the goal, but that never comes. We finally get to see a replay after a post-PK icing and it clearly shows the puck bouncing solidly off the crossbar and staying out.

Boston pulls the goalie with four minutes left. They don’t really create much danger for the first three minutes of this and then Mantha makes a diving play to get it to Larkin for a break-in from the neutral zone against an open net. Larkin makes it 6-3 and Mantha has a five-point night.

The Score: 6-3 Red Wings
The Shots: 34-28 Bruins
Standout Players: Athanasiou, Mantha, Howard, Hirose, Hronek
The Period All Summed Up: Still Mantha’s world.

Conclusions

I don’t know if Boston was guilty of not taking the Wings seriously enough and I don’t care. That Bertuzzi-Larkin-Mantha line was dynamite and that’s exactly what I want to see heading into next season.

Filip Hronek seemed to take his demotion to Grand Rapids very seriously because he’s been very solid during this stretch for the Wings. He hasn’t been completely mistake-free, but the guy’s defensive positioning against rushes is miles better than it was earlier in the season. Between his play and the rising comfort level with Madison Bowey, I think the puck moving by the defenders of late has been an overlooked portion of Detroit’s hot play of late.

Dominic Turgeon played in this game and I only noticed him playing PK. He was pretty good at that at least.

I’m starting to wonder when the NHL’s broadcast partners are going to get named in a concussion lawsuit for their talking heads giving guys pats on the back for instigating fights after clean hits.

Next up: Detroit takes on the Penguins.