DETROIT Its pretty clear that the Bruins have some work to do if anyone is going to believe theyre as good as the Detroit Red Wings team that swept them in a home-and-home series this weekend.
The Wings outscored the Bs by a 10-3 margin, outplayed them in five out of the six periods played between the two teams, and dropped Boston to 3-7-2 on the season against the Western Conference. Obviously Detroit can do that a lot of teams around the NHL, and the Bruins ran into the buzz saw of a Red Wings team smarting from a recent slump.
Bs leader, winger and assistant captain Mark Recchi took solace in the fact that it was a closer game on Sunday afternoon at Joe Louis Arena, and the Bs basically lost the game on a pair of mistakes by Brad Marchand and Tyler SeguinDennis Seidenberg that cost Boston two goals.
"It's a process still and we all know that, said Recchi. We had a really bad game on Friday night. We played a lot better today. We feel comfortable knowing we can play with these guys after the game today. We know that were a good team.
Still, the Bruins cant really consider themselves elite when they lost two straight to the Red Wings and get outshot 26-16 over the final two periods of play. Defensive mistakes were the order of the day, and there wasnt a lot of care given to the puck in their own zone. That is very un-Bruins-like and led to a lot of booboos all over the ice for the Black and Gold.
The biggest thing that sticks out for me is the type of mistakes we've made in the last two games, said coach Claude Julien. There's mistakes. This is a game of mistakes. But the type of mistakes that you make can make a difference. Bad pinches. We haven't given up two-on-ones like that in a long time. We gave those up. Ill-advised decisions.
Even their first goal, we gave them that one. We didn't help ourselves tonight. We had some chances when it was 3-2 to tie it up. We had a couple scoring chances. Had we scored, maybe that would have made a difference. But they come back and score on the two-on-one. That kind of put the nail in the coffin.
Chief among the players that couldnt get things going were the exact players expected to produce against an elite team like the Red Wings.
The Bs top line of David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton were muzzled all afternoon long, and Horton didnt squeeze off a single shot until the game was firmly out of grasp in the third period. Lucic wasnt able to get his physical game started either as Detroits subtle ability to interfere and get in the way without drawing penalties slowed down every change they had to attack.
As a line they finished with a minus-5 and five shots on net, and they were routinely burnt by the trio of Henrik Zetterberg, Todd Bertuzzi and Johan Franzen on the ice in key game matchups.
They played really tight in the defensive zone and the neutral zone. You really had to work hard for every offensive chance, and thats what has made them a good hockey club for a long time, said Lucic. Its unfortunate because we felt good about todays game and especially after the first period, but its too bad we couldnt get the job done.
It seems like theyre always getting in your way. Its not the guy that youre trying to hit, but its the guy coming from the side or the other defenseman that gets in your way or gives you that little bit of interference. Its the way they play and its what makes it so hard to get in there on the forecheck.
Milan Lucic said a Nicklas Kronwall shot he blocked with his right foot in the third period hit his funny bone, and it immediately went numb as he went down like a ton of bricks. Lucic walked it off and went down the runway briefly, but returned to finish out the game and said hed be fine after getting a scare.
It just hit in the funny bone, and it got me good, said Lucic. But I was okay. It was part of the game. You try to block shots and sometimes its going to hurt.
Adam McQuaid was also tagged in the right hand with a shot at the end of the second period, but appeared to be okay and finished out the game without any issue.
Zach Hamill and Steve Kampfer were the healthy scratches for the Bruins on Sunday afternoon, and Hamill was returned to the Providence Bruins following Sundays loss to the Red Wings. Hamill fared decently in the third games he played with the Bruins after his call from the AHL, and played his best game while notching an assist against the Montreal Canadiens.
The Bruins needed to make a roster move with Daniel Paille returning from his four-game suspension for his hit on Raymond Sawada, and it appears that the Bs chose Jordan Caron over Hamill. Caron took a big shot from Nicklas Kronwall at the end of the second period and didnt play the third, but he was on the bench and riding a bike after the game was over.
The Boston Bruins Foundation and the 2010-11 Bruins roster and coaching staff will host the first "Boston Bruins Casino Night" presented by TD Bank on Sunday, February 20 from 5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. at The Westin Copley Hotel. Fans will have the opportunity to purchase tickets to play a variety of casino games with Bruins players and coaches. For more information visit bostonbruins.com.