BOSTON -- The Bruins went 0-for-5 on the power play and had two second-period defensive collapses in their own zone that made the difference in a 3-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings Monday afternoon at TD Garden.
Milan Lucic scored with 1:20 left in the game to cut Detroit's lead to 3-2, but the B's could not match the dramatic finishes of the other Boston pro teams over the holiday weekend.
Detroit took a 3-1 lead into the third period after two defensive collapses midway through the period. Stephen Weiss put the Red Wings up 2-1, 8:21 into the second, when he cut down to the right post from the high slot and received a pass from Johan Franzen from the opposite corner.
Franzen had taken the puck wide down the left boards into the corner, stopped, looked around, and fed Weiss who went uncovered cutting down to the net, with Brad Marchand the closest Bruins player to him, not able to pick up the body in time.
Not even three minutes later, Dan Cleary gave Detroit a 3-1 lead with 9:19 left in the second period, as Daniel Alfredsson set up shop behind the Boston net, and waited for Cleary to cut down from the top of the zone.
Cleary also went uncovered, with Adam McQuaid too late to pick him up, and Cleary put home Alfredsson's pass at the right post for the two-goal lead.
The Bruins had a 5-on-3 powerplay for 1:54 early in the third period, but they failed to score. They had another 5-on-4 power play late in the third, but once again failed to convert.
Lucic found a loose puck in the slot in the final minutes of the third, and flipped it upstairs to make it a one-goal game, but that would be all the Bruins could do.
The Red Wings took the initial 1-0 lead with 8:27 left in the first period, after Datsyuk turned Zdeno Chara inside-out and ended up stepping around him wide to the right. Datsyuk sent a pass through the slot, all the way over to Zetterberg in the low-left circle, who put it past Rask.
Boston tied it up 1-1 nearly three minutes later when a Johnny Boychuk wrister from the right point re-directed off the leg of Loui Eriksson and beat Red Wings goaltender Jonas Gustavsson.
GOLD STAR: Jonas Gustavsson was pushed into a starting role when Jimmy Howard came down with a bruised hand during pregame warm-ups, and he looked impressive in his first start of the season. The Monster had been slow coming around from a preseason injury and hadn’t played in Detroit’s first five games of the season, but he made 28 stops while backstopping the Wings to a victory. The Detroit defense clearly deserve some of the credit while blocking 22 shots in front of him, and bailing him out early in the game when he appeared a little rusty. But Milan Lucic said following the game that it was the best he thought he’d ever seen Gustavsson play, and I’d have to wholeheartedly agree with him.
BLACK EYE: Zdeno Chara has been pretty good throughout the early season, but didn’t bring the good stuff against the Wings on Monday afternoon. He was turnstiled by Pavel Datsyuk in the first period, and he was on the ice again when Daniel Cleary banged home a shot from point blank in the second period. Chara had four shots on net, but couldn’t come up with a goal during the 5-on-3 advantage in the third period when Claude Julien moved him to back his customary point position.
TURNING POINT: The Bruins had a 1:54 5-on-3 advantage in the third period down by a 3-1 score, and couldn’t squeeze off more than two shots while the Detroit Red Wings were blocking everything in sight in front of Jonas Gustavsson. Jarome Iginla also missed on a couple of juicy bids from the left face-off circle where he usually hammers those for power play goals, and said following the game that he might have been trying to put a little too much on those attempts. The 0-for-5 on the PP turned out to be a big difference-maker in the game for the Black and Gold.
HONORABLE MENTION: Henrik Zetterberg scored Detroit’s first goal of the game on a sweet shot under the armpit of Tuukka Rask. He also led both teams with six shots on net and managed to block three shots for the Red Wings in victory. The Pavel Datsyuk-to-Henrik Zetterberg connection on the goal was Red Wings hockey at its best. The blocked shots are pretty impressive when a hungry Detroit team is getting their skilled superstars to sell out for a victory like that. Datsyuk also could have garnered honorable mention plaudits for their play.
BY THE NUMBERS: 22 . . . That's the number of blocked shots for the Red Wings as compared to the four blocked shots for the Bruins. That’s a pretty big disparity given that the shots on goal were about equal.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “There were some mistakes. They don’t need much space to make things happen, so for us we’ve got to tidy up. Just because you’re a stick-length away from a guy doesn’t mean you got him covered.” – Torey Krug all too aware of some of the defensive miscues that led to a 3-2 loss to the Red Wings.