By Joe Haggerty
BOSTON If the Bruins wanted to look more like they were chasing the Red Wings around for autographs rather than attempting to play the game of hockey, then they accomplished their goal.
The Bs captured the triple crown of crap in a bogus, effortless 6-1 loss to the legendary Red Wings at TD Garden, and showed exactly why they dont play too many Friday night games at home.
They couldnt score with the puck. They couldnt take the puck away from the fleet, finesse group of Red Wings players. They couldnt keep the Red Wings from putting pucks into their own net.
When all three of those things are going on for a hockey team, thats a sign that dead hockey team skating has taken the ice and thats exactly what the Bruins were on this night.
Well I think you can see tonight they just outplayed us, admitted David Krejci after the loss without any attempt to pretty up the pig of a game they just played. They were just playing another level of hockey today and we just couldnt keep up with them.
But we played bad. Its not like we played good and they just outplayed us. If we play our game, like weve played in the last couple weeks, but we didnt.
Its pretty easy to start counting the ways on this dog of a hockey game, and it all started with Tuukka Rask between the pipes. The Finnish goalie was pulled from a loss to the Buffalo Sabres on New Years Day that didnt seem deserved at the time, and still doesnt upon further review.
But Rask allowed a soft goal to his short side off the stick of Todd Bertuzzi just 70 seconds into the game, and that was symbolic of the impotent brand of hockey that was going to follow.
Rask saw defensive breakdowns in front of him as the Wings simply played keep away from the Bs defenders in their puck possession style, and he also had three different goals hed certainly like to have another crack at stopping.
In all, Rask allowed five goals on 19 shots, and was all kinds of ready to move on after the defeat that dropped him to 5-11-1 on the season.
They come and first two shots are goals, said Rask flatly. Thats something that should never happen when you think about it as a goalie.
Im not going to start analyzing whether I should have been pulled. I thought I deserved to get pulled. I didnt play to my level today.
Rask wasnt the only one, however. There were plenty of Bruins that didnt play to their level.
The normally excellent, grinding line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi couldnt get their tired legs up to speed, and watched as the Detroit Red Wings simply played games with them all night while skating circles around them. The trio finished with a very uncharacteristic minus-9 and had no answers for the Daniel Cleary, Tomas Holmstrom and Henrik Zetterberg line that scored at will against the Black and Gold.
Marchand seemed to understand just how badly his line was performing on the night, and attempted to drop the gloves with a completely disinterested Patrick Eaves in the third period but by then it was way too late and the Bs couldnt even make a third period statement toward their game Sunday afternoon at Joe Louis Arena.
It seemed to everyone watching that the Red Wings dictated their finesse, puck control and power play style of play to perfection against the Bruins, but credit the team leaders with acknowledging that they never even got started against the Winged Wheels.
It was obvious, and it was admitted.
They played their game, but we werent even close to half of what we could play, said Bergeron. Yes, they played well but we beat ourselves as well. Like I said, we were watching the whole game.
Several Bruins players have in the past admitted that the best approach to counteracting Bostons size, strength and toughness is to simply let them sleep and not do anything to stir them up and thats exactly what the least controversial team in the NHL did with a no fight, no frills dissection of the Bruins.
For the Bs to taste success in Detroit they quite simply need to wake up, hit a few people, separate a few players from pucks and make things a lot more uncomfortable for big hockey names like Zetterberg, Lidstrom and Holmstrom that tore them apart on their own home ice.
Itll be interesting. Interesting to see how we respond, said Tim Thomas. Weve always responded well in the past to these types of challenges. Id imagine Sunday were looking to get a modicum of respect back, from the Red Wings, too.
Probably the way we played tonight, they dont have too high of an opinion of our game either.
Thomas is right that the Bruins have responded more often that not to these kinds of situations this season, and responded with vigor.
That will have to be the case again Sunday afternoon in Detroit before a national audience on NBC, or they could undo a lot of good things the Bs have cobbled together over the last six weeks.