Last game against the Boston Bruins left a lot to be desired. A 6-1 rout full of undisciplined play was capped off by a Patrice Bergeron hat trick that ran the Red Wings out of the building. This time around, things are different. No Brad Marchand means no pesky points from the guy everybody loves to hate. In addition, forward Jake DeBrusk has requested a trade from Boston. He’ll suit up in what will be the first in a series of awkward games until he’s traded. In addition, head coach Bruce Cassidy is out due to COVID-19 protocol.
No Marchand means an easier time in Boston, right?
Stupid Stat of the Day: Since Brad Marchand entered the league, the Red Wings are winless against the Boston Bruins in games where Marchand is out of the Bruins' line up. pic.twitter.com/hALLcGF5ed— DetroitHockey.Net (@detroithockey96) November 30, 2021
The game started slow with a handful of offside and icing calls. Ken Daniels and Chris Osgood began the game with a fun stat: Alex Nedeljkovic has the second-highest save percentage in the league right now behind Jack Campbell of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Boston made their presence known early on, showcasing clean passes, big hits, and a few solid scoring chances in the first five minutes. Curtis Lazar tried to put Moritz Seider in a headlock, reminding everyone that, yes, somehow, Lazar has endured his way into another year of NHL hockey.
The majority of the first period was dominated by the Bruins. This should come as no surprise: Boston has scored 17 points in their last 14 games against Detroit. Still, the Red Wings showed no signs of slowing, working hard to stifle the lethal scoring weapons at the Bruins’ disposal. At one point, the Red Wings’ third line secured a great turnover. Unfortunately, Adam Erne slipped, losing the puck before a scoring chance could be had. The Jordan Oesterle-Seider pairing has done a remarkable job of stifling Boston’s offensive efforts through the first.
A two-on-one saw Zadina play too cute with the puck as the period came to an end. Eggs for both sides through the first.
Oesterle and Seider seemed to have Pastrnak’s number all game long. At the start of the second, the duo halted yet another shot from the elite winger. A back-and-forth sequence from both the Bruins and Red Wings left both teams without a goal. Filip Zadina played redemption hour, creating a turnover, slipping past several Bruins and scoring his fourth of the season!
The Bruins quickly responded with a scary 3-on-2 chance. Thankfully, Pastrnak’s whiffed attempt saved Detroit from a potentially brutal tying goal. Nick Foligno, who you might recognize from an absolutely brutal Toronto trade, got a bit scrappy with several wings by Nedeljkovic’s net. Despite their physicality, the Bruins were unable to throw Detroit off their game. Unfortunately, toughness is just one of the many weapons at the Bruins’ disposal. While the Red Wings were the sole owners of the scoring through the first half of the game, the Bruins did not shy away from shots, putting up 18 in 30 minutes. Detroit, on the other hand, had just six.
One of the referees, Mark Joanette, took an unintentional trip from a Bruin, hitting the ice hard. He was, thankfully, able to stand up and walk off the ice with some help. Bertuzzi had a Grade-A chance before hesitating a second too long. Zadina followed up another back-and-forth sequence with a scoring chance. It’s hard to see why he’s been relegated to the fourth line, but whatever it is, it’s working. Poor Jake DeBrusk has been booed every time he’s set foot on the ice.
Erne did a great job out-muscling the Bruins, but Nick Foligno’s scrap with Vladislav Namestnikov saw both head to the bench. Four-on-four hockey would spell the end of period two, with neither team coming up big on either end. Before the period could come to an end, Michael Rasmussen headed off the ice for a late penalty, leaving the team shorthanded to start the third. Three things in particular stood out during the second: the third line’s rough outing, Marc Staal’s impressive showing, and Filip Zadina’s measurable impact on both ends of the ice.
Ken Kal shared a fun statistic between periods:
Last time Red Wings shut out the Bruins in Boston was December 28, 1965.— Ken Kal (@KenKalDRW) December 1, 2021
Anyway, the penalty was killed pretty quickly thanks to Sam Gagner’s nifty penalty killing skills. Gustav Lindstrom cross-checked Bergeron into the boards, resulting in a big brawl for both teams. The good news: the cross-check didn’t injure Bergeron. The bad news: the Red Wings headed to a penalty kill again. If that wasn’t bad enough, Staal quickly followed it up with a hooking call that Foligno more than sells.
The Bruins nearly run out of the five-on-three time before Pastrnak gets the monkey off his back, scoring from a fantastic passing clinic by the Bruins.
Yeah, I blame Ken for this one.
Fortunately, the Red Wings endured the last brutal minute of the power play as Nedeljkovic yet again bailed the team out. A crash of the net resulted in another goal for Boston that was quickly waived due to interference. Whew. Shortly after this, Zadina was tripped by Lazar (again, he’s still in the NHL???), leading to the team’s first power play late in the third...which results in a series of good chances, but no dice.
If you were disappointed by the lack of power play scoring, you had nothing to worry about. A boarding call on Mike Reilly left the team at a six-on-five before the Red Wings pelted the Bruins’ net. Marc Staal was credited with a dirty goal, putting the Wings up 2-1!
The shot count alone shows how effective Boston is as a cohesive unit. With over 40 shots in the game, they shellacked Nedeljkovic with shots. No matter how hard they’d tried, they were unable to crack the Nedeljkovic Code. The Ohio native stood stalwart against one of the most offensively gifted teams in the NHL.
With a minute left, the Bruins pulled Linus Ullmark, leading to a three big empty-net opportunities that the third line somehow missed. Despite this, the Red Wings won their 3,000th win in franchise history. Neat!
A few good things
This game had plenty to love, but this is what stood out in particular to me:
- Marc Staal’s enormous help on the defensive end.
- Brad Marchand was completely invisible tonight.
- Filip Zadina’s outstanding two-way play.
- Alex Nedeljkovic standing on his head.
- Detroit’s 3,000th win in franchise history!