BOSTON — Two Bruins scored their first career playoff goals, but it was the one by a familiar face that may have been the biggest.
Milan Lucic's late second-period goal gave the Bruins a 3-1 lead heading into the 3rd period, a lead they would not relinquish as they took Game 2 at the TD Garden, 4-1, to even up the series, 1-1.
Justin Florek got things started for the Bruins at 7:28 of the first period, capitalizing on a misplayed clear by Wings goalie Jimmy Howard.
Howard came out of net and tried to clear puck to sideboards, but hit teammate Brendan Smith in the process. The puck went right to Florek, who potted it for the team's first postseason goal.
But Boston wasn't done in the first period. Reilly Smith made it 2-0 a few minutes later on the power play.
Boston fed Zdeno Chara multiple times for the slapshot, but he couldn't find the back of the net. Bergeron then took a shot from middle of blue line. Loui Eriksson was in front of Howard, and after Howard saved the initial shot, Eriksson poked at the loose puck, getting it through his pads just barely. Smith was there behind Howard to put it home. It was Smith's first goal against a team besides the Minnesota Wild since January 28.
The Bruins were 43-4-0 this season with a two-goal lead heading into Sunday's game.
And while Boston didn't score for the rest of the period, they continued to attack - something they lacked much of in Game 1.
But Howard regrouped, too.
Despite allowing those two goals - one his own mistake, and the other in a crowd of players in front of the net - Howard made some nice saves, including a highlight-worthy snag of Carl Soderberg's snipe heading for the top right corner of the net.
And when the B's weren't attacking the net, they were attacking Detroit's players. There was plenty of pushing and shoving in this one, and a total of 10 penalties were called in the first period alone, six of which were roughing.
Johan Franzen put a hit on Johnny Boychuk at the end of the first period, and that didn't sit well with the B's. As members of each team crowded around Franzen and Boychuk, Zdeno Chara (a monster) and Detroit's Brendan Smith (a normal human being) started jousting away from the action. Well, it wasn't much jousting - Chara kept Smith at bay with one hand while laughing in his face. The referees intervened and Smith jawed back at Chara on his way off the ice.
But the Wings didn't just sit on their hands all game. Clearly Mike Babcock lit into them in the dressing room before the second period, because they came out looking much more aggressive.
Like Game 1, Detroit controlled the puck for much of the 2nd period. It didn't help that the Bruins were called for three penalties, either.
While Detroit didn't hit on any of their power players, they did score their first goal of the game shortly after the one on Kevan Miller expired.
A wrister by Darren Helm bounced off teammate Luke Glendening and snuck by Tuukka Rask, who otherwise had a strong day in net.
That left an unsettling feeling in the TD Garden. The B's had looked slow, and now the Wings were one goal away from completely taking momentum back in their favor and threatening to take a 2-0 series lead.
But that's when Lucic stepped in.
Having slipped and slammed into the boards less than a minute before, Lucic was back up on his skates for the B's next trip down the ice. In fact - he led the charge. Lucic and Jarome Iginla played a little give-and-go, with Lucic passing to Iginla, weaving behind him, and receiving the pass back for the nifty goal to give Boston the 3-1 lead.
That goal was the momentum shifter back for Boston, and they sealed the deal early in the 3rd period when Bruins captain Zdeno Chara slammed home a rebound (that Howard should not have allowed) off an Iginla shot on the power play to make it 4-1.
If the "Howard" chants weren't already loud enough, they certainly were then.
The Wings desperately tried to get back in the game, but Rask shut the door on them numerous times.
Rask had 34 saves on the day.
Boston and Detroit will play Game 3 on Tuesday, April 22, 7:30 p.m. at Joe Louis Arena.