Boston 3 - Detroit 2 (OT): Not Thankful For This
The Red Wings, earners of points in their last 4 games, welcomed the Boston Bruins to the Joe to open a 6 game homestand. The Wings have struggled against the Bruins in the past year or so, and with points in the Atlantic at a premium, it's important that the Wings put up a strong performance and solidify their playoff position since, as Ken Daniels will tell you, it's crucial to be within 4 points of a playoff spot by American Thanksgiving.
There almost seemed to be a feeling-out process early in the first. The first 5 minutes saw very little in the way of sustained offense by either team, with both teams holding the puck but not getting a lot of shots. Moments after the Wings nearly scored, Frank Vatrano opened the scoring when his slapshot found its way through a sea of bodies (including Landon Ferraro), and the Bruins had a 1-0 lead. Boston would get the game's first period when Jonathan Ericsson did his thing, first losing the puck and then hooking Matt Beleskey. The Wings would kill it off, no small feat against the NHL's best power play. The Wings spent more time in the Bruins' zone after that, and Jonas Gustavsson made those saves he makes where he looks like he has no idea what he's doing to keep the Bruins in front. The Wings got their first power play when Adam McQuaid put the puck over the glass, and their best chance came when Pavel Datsyuk hit the post, but no goals were scored.
Score: Boston 1 - Detroit 0
Shots: Detroit 13 - Boston 9
Strong period: Niklas Kronwall
Tough period: Jonathan Ericsson
The second began as the first ended, with the Red Wings maintaining possession of the puck and putting pucks toward the net. Their tenacity was rewarded when Pavel Datsyuk scored his 300th career goal, grabbing a loose puck, flipping it over Torey Krug, and burying it top corner on Gustavsson to tie the game. The Wings poured it on after that, getting 7 of the next 10 shots and spending a lot of time in the offensive zone. Alexey Marchenko had a good chance coming down from the point, and the Wings continued to put pressure on Gustavsson and get to the front of the net, something they are starting to do more consistently. The Wings would get their first lead of the game with about 5 minutes left in the period. Tomas Tatar hopped off the bench and got the puck. He walked in to the slot and ripped a shot over Gustavsson's shoulder. Dylan Larkin took a holding penalty on David Krejci with a minute left in the period, but the Wings killed off the first minute and went into the third up a goal but down a man.
Score: Detroit 2 - Boston 1
Shots: Detroit 24 - Boston 13
Strong period: Pavel Datsyuk
Tough period: the centers, who won 7 of 18 faceoffs in the period
The Wings were able to kill off the last minute of Larkin's penalty without any damage being suffered, and they went back on the attack. Despite having the lead, the Wings didn't seem content to sit on it, instead attacking with intelligence and continuing to get attempts at the Boston net. The Wings went back on the power play when Zdeno Chara got caught tripping Mike Green, but the power play was short-lived when Henrik Zetterberg returned the favor on Brad Marchand. Dylan Larkin had a solid chance midway through the period, but Gustavsson made an easy save. Boston began to get more pressure as the period went on, but the Wings were able to hold strong and counter without taking an unnecessary chance. Luke Glendening had a partial breakaway on Gustavsson, which is a weird sentence to type, but was unable to score. With 5 minutes left in the third, Vatrano tripped Zetterberg and the Wings had an opportunity to put the game away. The Wings were unable to get the insurance goal, and it cost them when Colin Miller tied the game with a slapshot with under 2 minutes to play. Both teams looked content to get it to overtime and earn at least a single point.
Score: Detroit 2 - Boston 2
Shots: Detroit 34 - Boston 21
Strong period: The defense
Tough period: Petr Mrazek (can't give up that goal)
The Wings didn't shoot, and the Bruins got a lucky bounce and stole the extra point.
- About 6 minutes into the 1st period, Jimmy Hayes lost his stick, and Petr Mrazek took it and placed it right on the goal line. Ultimately it had no bearing on the play, but it was a moment of joy. Compare that reaction to Jimmy Howard, who probably would have looked at the stick, said a few bad words, and gone about his day.
- Landon Ferraro earned an assist on the first Boston goal, his 2nd point in 2 games. Despite playing 4th line minutes in Boston and knowing that he really didn't have a spot in Detroit, it's still tough to see him contributing for a division rival while certain members of the Red Wings continue to get consistent ice time.
- Speaking of players who don't get deserved ice time, Tomas Jurco had 2 more goals for the Griffins tonight. His conditioning stint is going to be over soon, and it will be curious to see if he actually gets in the lineup when he gets back to Detroit.
- Ken and Mick speculated that had Jonas Gustavsson not been injured so much over the last few years, the Wings might have kept him around. The problem with that is it would have necessitated moving either Howard or Mrazek, and hindsight gives us the ability to see that would have been a horrific idea.
- Congratulations to Pavel Datsyuk on his 300th goal. He may still be getting up to game shape, but he's looking better with each and every game he plays. He's not necessarily being asked to do everything, but his presence has allowed the Wings to create another scoring line that remains together while taking some of the pressure off Henrik Zetterberg and his line to be the one that creates all the offense. He's your player of the game.
- Unfortunately, this was a game that should have been won, but wasn't because the Wings couldn't capitalize on the power play, Mrazek looked flat-footed on the tying goal, the Wings couldn't score more than two goals, and the Bruins got a lucky bounce on the winning goal. However, Detroit continued its trend of outshooting and out-attempting their opponents, this time by an extremely wide margin. On almost any other night, play like this results in a win. Tonight it wasn't meant to be, but for a team that struggled through the first 10 games to even generate shots, their recent play is cause for optimism.