Game Recap: Mauled — Red Wings 2 at Bruins 5
Detroit concedes Boston's first three-goal period of the season, and it buries them.
The Detroit Red Wings flew into TD Garden to take on the Boston Bruins for a
Monday Night Rivalry Monday-after-Christmas game. Boston was the team down in the standings and down several players, but the Red Wings couldn't match the Bruins' desperation.
Let's go to our resident Bruins fan Jeff for the first period analysis: "First three-goal period for the Bruins all season."
Thank you, Jeff. It was as brutal as a three-goal-against period can be expected to be. Boston opened the scoring on a point shot from some-sort-of-familial-relation-guy Reilly Smith which went straight into the net because Kyle Quincey covered Jimmy Howard's eyes.
Detroit really didn't know what to do with the puck in the area of their defensive zone between the blue line and the circles. Generating offense was a struggle because of the Red Wings' inability to get out of their own zone cleanly. But generate a goal, they did. Pavel Datsyuk skated the puck to the half-wall and fired a shot that deflected off Zdeno Chara toward the net. Justin Abdelkader made a great heads-up play by backhanding the gliding puck in the direction of the net behind Tuukka Rask to the tie the game 1-1.
The period unraveled from that point. On a delayed penalty situation, a point shot left Howard and the rest of the Detroit's defense scrambling. The rebound got to Torey Krug who fired it off the post where Gregory Campbell could clean up the garbage for a 2-1 Boston lead. Soon after, the Red Wings were asleep off a faceoff, and thanks to brutal over-pursuit on one side by Howard, Carl Soderberg had a tap in to an empty net when the puck came around on the other side. 3-1 Boston.
Datsyuk had enough of the first period and nearly made it 3-2 by himself 10 seconds into the period. His shot unfortunately went way high as the puck flipped a bit right before the shot.
Detroit forgot how to manage their own zone, and Loui Eriksson nearly made it 4-1 off a nice Soderberg feed, but good old iron kept the game at 3-1.
Brendan Smith then decided that instead of just holding the puck while his teammates were changing, he'd actually try to do something about that 3-1 score. He took the puck over the blue line and body-protected it as he drove wide in on Rask. He fired a shot that left a beautiful rebound for Riley Sheahan, but Sheahan's bid hit the crossbar. The posts giveth, the posts taketh away.
The second period was determined to have goals, however, and Tomas Tatar provided the goods. On the power play, Stephen Weiss got the puck on one side and fed DeKeyser at the point who found Tatar at the other end of the umbrella. Tatar took the shot, and it snuck through Rask's legs thanks to Sheahan blocking out the sun in front. Detroit had another power play opportunity to tie the game before intermission, but the third period started 3-2 Boston.
Henrik Zetterberg had an almost-breakaway to start the period, but he couldn't corral the puck. Gustav Nyquist then made a brilliant set of moves to create a 2-on-1 that Abdelkader couldn't finish.
Boston would get the next goal, however. A penalty to Brian Lashoff, and on the ensuing Boston power play, David Krejci took the puck to the corner. Abdelkader had his stick covering the passing lane to Seth Griffith, then inexplicably took it away. Krejci took advantage, and in prime scoring territory, Griffith restored Boston's two-goal lead.
Try as the Red Wings might, they couldn't get anymore goals, and Chris Kelly salted the game away with an empty netter. Boston wins the game 5-2.
- Boston successfully executed something I've been begging the Red Wings to get better at: shots on goal from the point. While the Red Wings either get them blocked up top or miss the net entirely, Boston got a goal off a direct shot, and also created so much havoc in front of the Howard's crease because of point shots that got through to the net.
- Howard had a pull-worthy first period. I don't know for sure why coach Mike Babcock didn't elect to put in Petr Mrazek after the third goal, but credit to Howard that he got better as the game went on. He did have some good saves to keep the game within reach, but he'll definitely want to forget the opening 20 minutes.
- Detroit looked entirely unprepared for this game. There was talk of how much of a mirror image this game was from last season, the game when Nyquist scored on Chara (and Rask too). Detroit came in with tons of injuries, Boston looked like world-beaters, but the Red Wings came away with two points. Unfortunately, we looked into the mirror too much because Boston won this game with a bunch of injuries and battling for a playoff spot instead of the division title.
Detroit has a little under 48 hours to prepare for the New Jersey Devils and the New Year's Eve game. Let's hope they use the time wisely because I really want to end 2014 on a winning note and I especially don't want to give New Jersey's new triumvirate of coaches a second win (after the Devils beat Pittsburgh tonight).