BOSTON – There was no mistaking the amped up physical nature of Friday night’s playoff game at TD Garden between the Bruins and Red Wings after watching Boston romp through meaningless games at the end of the regular season. Brad Marchand exchanged gloved punches with Justin Abdelkader during a fracas in front of the side boards in the first period, and Milan Lucic regrettably resorted to spearing Danny DeKeyser in the groin behind the play at the end of the second period.
So there was a requisite level of nastiness between the two teams, but there were also just three penalties called during the entire game.
“Once the puck is dropped, you play the game and that’s what both teams intended to do tonight,” said Claude Julien. “So I don’t think it was animosity or intensity that built up during the game; it was there from the start.
“In my mind, there was some hits right from the get-go, so I think both teams are prepared to try to win this series here. There’s no time to be holding hands out there and try to make friends, or try to make enemies out there. It’s about going out there and playing for your team.”
The Red Wings were held down on two power play chances with just one shot on net by the Bruins penalty kill, and a couple of stellar Jimmy Howard saves – including one stone job on Carl Soderberg right in front of the net – snuffed out Boston’s one chance on the man advantage.
But some of the Bruins left Friday night’s 1-0 loss in Game 1 to the Detroit Red Wings with the sneaking feeling that they could have had a couple more power plays. At one point in the first period Tomas Jurco used his free hand to smack David Krejci’s head into the boards on a play in the corner where the Bruins center already had inside position on the Detroit forward.
Krejci was hauled down again in the second period, and again didn’t get a call. Clearly that wasn’t the biggest factor in a game where the Bruins didn’t do much to generate offense, but the Bruins were still puzzled after it was all over.
“I thought there were a couple times, they could have called a couple more [power plays] especially on myself. It is what it is, it can go either way,” said Krejci. “We just have to stay positive on the bench and on the ice, and focus on the next shift. I think we had only one power play. So it is what it is. It’s the same story as the regular season.”
Pardon the Bruins if they have a bit of a complex. They finished dead last in the number of power plays awarded to them during the regular season despite a PP unit that finished third in the league in success rate.