BOSTON — Unlike last year, there would be no implosion and improbable comeback needed this time around.
The Bruins took care of business in Game 5, beating the Red Wings, 4-2, to complete a 4-1 series victory and advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, where the Montreal Canadiens await.
The B's had taken a 3-1 lead after four games of their first-round series against Toronto last season, but then lost the next two and had to rally from a 4-1 deficit with 10 minutes to play -- and a 4-2 deficit with two minutes remaining -- to pull out an overtime victory in the series clincher. But despite some scary moments, especially in the second period, it was clear history wouldn't be repeating itself Saturday.
The B's controlled much of this game, and took the lead for good on a power-play goal by Zdeno Chara with four seconds remaining in the second period. Solid goaltending by Tuukka Rask, who made 32 saves, kept Boston in front throughout the third period.
The Bruins got on the board first on the first power play of the game. Wings forward Justin Abdelkader inexplicably kept poking/hooking Milan Lucic from behind as Lucic made his way up the ice. After about three pokes, Abdelkader was called for the hook. It wasn't long after that that Dougie Hamilton barreled his way down the right side and threw the puck in front of the net. It bounced off a Red Wings player right to a streaking Loui Eriksson, who put a deke on Wings goalie Jonas Gustavsson and potted the puck for a 1-0 lead.
The Bruins kept the foot on the gas for much of the first period, limiting Detroit's attic in the offensive zone in the process. Boston finished the period with 11 shots to Detroit's 8. But those eight shots were hardly considered legit scoring chances.
The Bruins controlled much of the second period as well, but Detroit woke up a bit in the second half of it . . . and things got very interesting from there.
Detroit scored a power play goal at 14:41 with Lucic in the box for high-sticking Brendan Smith. Pavel Datsyuk slammed home a rebound after Henrick Zetterberg's shot from the point. To make matters worse for Boston, the Wings went on a power play shortly after.
But the Wings proved to be its own worst enemy to finish the second period. Both Johan Franzen and Brendan Smith went to the box in a 12-second span in the final minute of the period, turn their 5-on-4 power play into a 4-on-3 penalty kill. And that's when Chara made them pay with his slap shot that may have broken the speed gun with four seconds left in the period. Torey Krug and Patrice Bergeron earned the assists, and Boston took all the momentum back with them into the third period. It was the B's sixth power play goal of the series.
A little over a minute after the B's finished killing a Brad Marchand penalty, Lucic scored the dagger goal as he was left alone in front of Gustavsson after Wings' center Johan Franzen turned the puck over in his own zone.
Detroit would get two more power-play opportunities in the third period, but could not cash in on them. The Wings were just 2-for-20 on the power play in this series.
Henrik Zetterberg made things more interesting at 16:08 as he scored off Justin Abdelkader's rebound, but Jarome Iginla finished it off with an empty-net goal with 16 seconds remaining.