Bruins Sting Wings: Aggression Pays Off As Boston Gets Even
Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug (47) stops Detroit Red Wings' Luke Glendening (41) from getting around him during the first period of Game 2 of a first-round NHL hockey playoff series in Boston, Sunday, April 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Detroit Red Wings' Luke Glendening gets knocked into the glass during the first period of Game 2 of a first-round NHL hockey playoff series against the Boston Bruins in Boston Sunday, April 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Boston — The Boston Bruins struck back, leaving the Detroit Red Wings black and blue and all tied up.
The Wings were run aground in Game 2, undone by gaffes, undermined by tempers and bad defense and an inept power play. The Wings left TD Garden on Sunday tarnished by a 4-1 loss that left the first-round series locked, 1-1.
“We knew they were going to come out harder and play even better than they did in Game 1,” Niklas Kronwall said. “I don’t think it was a surprise to anybody, but you know, they executed their game plan a lot better than us. They’re a really, really good team, there’s no doubt about that.”
The Wings have said they think they’re a good and complete team, too, and the ironic thing about Sunday is they started really well, held the Bruins largely out of Detroit’s zone. Then Jimmy Howard made a mistake, and then two teammates let their tempers flare, and then it was 2-0 and then it was 3-1, and over.
The series resumes Tuesday in Detroit. Game 4, also at Joe Louis Arena, is Thursday. Game 5 is Saturday back in Boston.
Darren Helm and Luke Glendening paired up to halve Boston’s lead in the second period, but a goal from Game 1 groin-spearer Milan Lucic put the Wings right back into a two-goal hole by the end of the period.
“As poor as we were,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said, “I thought in the second period we got the game to right where we wanted it — it’s 2-1, going to be going into the third period.
“It’s a simple 2-on-2 cross play, and we don’t execute on it and now we’re down 3-1 and the game’s over. We weren’t very good here tonight. Give them credit, they were better, and we didn’t respond.”
A harbinger of just how poorly the game came in the form of an early power play, one of four, that saw the Wings spend maybe 10 seconds in Boston’s zone, otherwise chasing the puck for one failed entry after another. Then came the gaffe of the game: Howard skated way out of his crease to play the puck, intending a pass for Brendan Smith that instead went off Brendan Smith and straight to Justin Florek, whose shot sailed past Howard’s outstretched right leg.
The Wings proceeded to do exactly what they’d talked about avoiding: Handing the Bruins power play time. They gifted them 21 seconds with two extra skaters, and gave up a goal during 5-on-4 play, when Reilly Smith strode into the crease to sweep a loose puck into the net for a 2-0 lead barely halfway through the first period.
The period ended with Chara laughing in Brendan Smith’s face as Smith made a weak attempt at engaging him, not throwing down his stick until goaded by Chara.
It wasn’t until late in the second period the Wings had anything to smile about, when Helm sped up the right side and fired a shot on net, where Glendening — another speedster — had set up in front of Tuukka Rask. Helm’s shot ended up going in off Glendening, injecting life into the Wings with plenty of hockey left to have a chance at evening the game.
Only that takes playing tight defense, and the Wings flunked at that minutes later, when Lucic, at that point best known in the series for spearing Danny DeKeyser in the groin, got a pass from Jarome Iginla, skated straight through a trio of defenders and sent a shot in off Howard’s stick to restore Boston’s two-goal advantage with just under 2 minutes to go in the second period.
“It was a good play by Iginla,” Howard said. “Notoriously, he’s a good shooter and he made a nice pass over to Lucic. I just didn’t get enough of it.”
Chara struck early in the third period when he poked in Iginla’s rebound during a power play, showing the Wings how a power play is supposed to look, showing the Wings that this is going to be a tough series.