Preseason Game Recap: Red Wings 3 - Bruins 1
The Boston Bruins came into tonight's game a perfect 4-0 in the preseason. The Red Wings wanted to change that.
The second half of the Red Wings-Bruins was played Monday night in Beantown, with Xavier Ouellet and Zach Nastasiuk making their preseason debuts tonight. Tuukka Rask also made his debut for the year opposite Jimmy Howard. Detroit's lineup was highlighted by the top line of Dylan Larkin between Tomas Tatar and Tomas Jurco. This game was only available to Wings fans via the streamed radio broadcast on the team website, and Boston locals were treated to a video feed, though without play-by-play announcing.
The first 20 minutes of this game were largely uneventful. There was a lot of back-and-forth play between the teams and a fair amount of physical play. Despite this, the first penalty wasn't called until just under six minutes left in the period, when Chris Kelly tripped up Xavier Ouellet at the Red Wings goal line. The first power play unit saw the Wings top line of Larkin, Tatar, and Jurco combine with Mitch Callahan (providing the net-front presence) and Niklas Kronwall as one of the point men. Drew Miller had a good scoring chance early on, and the Wings were buzzing around the B's net in the last minute of the period, but the period ended tied at 0-0. Shots were also tied 5-5.
The Bruins pressured early in the second with Howard needing to make a couple of good saves on the penalty kill and then rang a third shot off the crossbar, but the Red Wings successfully killed off Tatar's penalty. In the next couple of minutes, Mantha drove hard to the Boston net and ended up sliding hard into the end boards. He skated off under his own power but went straight to the Wings dressing room. The Wings had an opportunity in close when an Ericsson shot from far out created a net mouth scramble, and Ericsson broke up a good rush by the B's at the other end of the ice later in the shift. The scoreless tie was finally broken on a snipe by Drew Miller with assists by the legendary Dan Cleary and Joakim Andersson. Tomas Jurco added to the Wings' lead on a delayed penalty call with 9:26 to play on a breakaway up the left wing side. The Wings and Bruins traded penalty calls late, with the B's taking a TOO MUCH MAN penalty and Ericsson hooking Pastrnak. Both ended without incident. Shots were 16-14 for Detroit.
The Wings looked to defend their two-goal third period lead and got a pretty good jump on it by scoring a third from near the blue line only 48 seconds in. After a brief review, Andreas Athanasiou's first preseason goal was allowed to stand. Nick Jensen later ended up in the box on a hooking call, and Howard had a great glove save on the ensuing penalty kill. Jimmy also had a series of saves with about 12 minutes left off a redirection in close and another couple of shots with Bruins players right in front of him. The B's decided to pull Rask with more than three minutes left in the game. There was a dangerous-looking scramble in the crease, but the Wings were spared when the net came off the posts in the scuffle. Apparently the Wings got confused with the six players the Bruins had out, because they took a TOO MUCH MAN penalty of their own with just 1:23 to go. Because Jimmy Howard can't have nice things, the Wings lost the shutout when Loui Eriksson scored with 51 seconds left. Too little too late for Boston, Wings win 3-1. Shots 32-24 Boston.
The second power play unit for the Wings used a 3F-2D combination of Bertuzzi, Athanasiou, Mantha, Ouellet and Marchenko. That's an exciting group, and while they didn't score tonight, I'm sure they'll find the back of the net plenty when they're all in Grand Rapids together.
Larkin was put into a headlock by a Bruins player late in the second period and lost his helmet, but no call. I can't tell if this means the refs are still in preseason mode or have completely skipped over to the playoff rulebook. Larkin continued to be a bit chippy after that and later got into a shoving match with Joonas Kamppainen.
Ouellet led the team in TOI with 22:14, had an assist, two takeaways, was a +3, and drew a penalty. He played 2:59 on the power play and 2:04 on the penalty kill and was calm, cool, and collected the whole night. He might be good at hockey, you guys.
Athanasiou used his speed well to make plays and get through defenders. This should not be a surprise. Tonight he benefitted in the form of a goal and at least one other good scoring chance.
Howard had some very good saves on very good scoring chances. He looked calm in net, not the panicky-scrambley Jimmy we saw late last season. He came out with a daring Hasek-like move late in the third when a Bruins player got behind the Wings defense. While the puck stayed out of the net, sadly, no opposing players went flying through the air.