GOLD STAR: Jimmy Howard was the only thing of redeeming value for the Detroit Red Wings through most of the first two periods, and kept the Wings in the game until the rest of the team caught up in the final 20 minutes. Howard finished with 33 saves in the 3-2 victory for Detroit. He made 24 stops in the first couple of periods including a big early save on a Patrice Bergeron breakaway. He was also the beneficiary of Loui Eriksson and Chris Kelly both missing on point-blank chances in that second period as well, but the level Howard was playing at probably had something to do with rushed shots from the Bruins.
BLACK EYE: Andrej Meszaros quite honestly looked like somebody had forced a bunch of tranquilizers into his system before suiting up against the Red Wings. Meszaros and Patrice Bergeron both finished with a minus-2 rating, and the former Flyers defenseman showed some laziness on line shifts that led to Wings scoring chances, including the eventual gamewinner for Gustav Nyquist. He also looked like a statue on a short-handed rush to the net by Darren Helm and then showed little urgency getting the puck back once Detroit started attacking. He finished without a shot on net, and wasn’t particularly crisp with his first passes either. It was an odd performance for a player that should be highly motivated to secure a playoff spot.
TURNING POINT: The Bruins had some chances early to really create some distance between themselves and the Wings, and missed on some of those chances. They also had a goal wiped off the board when a Torey Krug power-play strike through a Zdeno Chara screen was inexplicably called goalie interference by ref Chris Rooney. Replays showed that Chara made zero contact with Howard as the Krug shot redirected past the Detroit goaltender and that the goal should have counted. Johnny Boychuk scored minutes later, but it could have been a much different situation if it was 2-0 rather than 1-0 in the first period.
HONORABLE MENTION: Johnny Boychuk put together a solid night’s work with 21:12 of ice time to go along with the game’s first goal, five generated shot attempts, four hits and a couple of blocked shots and an even plus/minus rating. He also managed to shake off a hellacious, reckless Tomas Jurco hit with his back turned, and the Wings forward more than willing to throw him face-first into the boards. Boychuk was paired with the sleepy Meszaros for most of the game, and had to be on his toes as a result of that as well. Boychuk will need to put a lot more of those together one after another once the playoffs begin.
BY THE NUMBERS: 2-5-1 – the B’s record combined against the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens this season, something that will certainly be mentioned during the upcoming Atlantic Division playoff rounds.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “The focus has to be for 60 minutes, not 50 and that was basically what I saw in our team tonight.” –Claude Julien to reporters following the 3-2 loss to the Red Wings.