The Malik Report
by George Malik on 10/14/13 at 11:32 PM ET
The Detroit Red Wings looked like they were punching above their weight class when they dropped a 4-1 decision to Boston three games into their 13-14 campaign.
Ten days, three games and a disappointing loss (vs. Phoenix) and power play-driven win (over Philadelphia) later, a Jimmy Howard-less Red Wings team hoped to earn some redemption. After channeling some Datsyukian magic, the Wings killed five Bruins PP attempts--including 1:51 of a 5-on-3--and received a shockingly superb goaltending performance from Jonas Gustavsson(!), who stopped 28 shots en route to a 3-2 Wings win, earning a matinee victory that may have been more important to the Wings' collective psyche than it was in terms of points.
Detroit headed back home after the win as Detroit will entertain Columbus at 8 PM on Tuesday (the start was moved to accommodate the Tigers-Red Sox tilt), wrapping up a slate of 4 games played over the course of 6 nights (and preceding a 2-game road trip to Denver on Thursday and Phoenix on Saturday).
The boss dug my little slate of observations-before-quotes and I thought it wasn't bad either, so, here are some impressions regarding the Wings' win:
- Starting with the negative, I will say this: the Wings have been out-shot in the vast majority of their games, and while the Wings were only out-shot 30-27, the total shot attempts were 69-42 in the Bruins' favor, and even playing against the Eastern Conference's best team, that is way, way, way too many times to allow one's opponent to skate into the zone and wind up and shoot. Those stats are usually flipped around when the Wings are rolling, or at least they're even, and over the first half-dozen games of the season, the Wings haven't sustained possession or control of the puck often enough to turn the tide;
- The Wings had to kill 5 penalties and the Bruins killed none. It's not the shut-out that pisses me off--I get that both sides were clutching and grabbing, and both sides received favorable referees' non-calls at times--it's the fact that you couldn't breathe wrong on a guy a little under two weeks ago, and two weeks later...We're back to the usual;
- Wedding weekend + necessary sleep = I haven't seen the Wings-Flyers game yet, but I have to say that I am seriously, seriously impressed by the Wings' reformulated lines. Glendening looks a little gobsmacked by his surroundings (and how long has it been since the Wings had both MSU and U of M alums on the team at the same time?), but he's speedy and aggressive, and he and Tootoo provide superb forechecking foils to Miller; Alfredsson and Andersson look superb together, and they push Cleary to be better; you could say the same for Abdelkader and Weiss's endless amounts of grit and poise sparking Johan "The Wanderer" Franzen; and Bertuzzi's motivated to go to the net to continue to play on Datsyuk and Zetterberg's wing;
- The defense is still a work in progress, but I like splitting DeKesyer and Kindl to wake them up (it's worked) and I like the message that benching Smith (his statements that the "errors" leading to goals "weren't coming from [his] side" cut his already short leash in half) has sent to Quincey. Hell, I like the fact that Lashoff, who didn't look ready for top-six time during the exhibition season, is playing like his steady self as he attempts to steal Smith's job;
- I'm glad that you got to see the Jonas Gustavsson I watched play no-fundamentals-but-still-surprisingly-solid hockey that he did during the exhibition season game against the B's during a Wings-Bruins game that counted for two points. Wearing shorter pads has yielded a necessary refining of his shot-blocking style, and I hope that he takes these back-to-back games as a challenge to reestablish himself as a capable back-up. He can play solidly. It's up to him to prove that his job isn't in jeopardy anymore. Part of that involves staying healthy;
- I haven't seen the power play click, but the PK was superb, with players placing sticks and body parts in shooting and passing lanes, and players clearing the puck out of danger in a hurry;
- Overall, the Wings' skaters were much better in terms of competing for the puck in 1-on-1 battles, they were much better in terms of providing support and outlets for and outlets to each other when help was necessary, and the skaters didn't look out of position very often;
- More than anything else, the Wings didn't panic when the Bruins closed to 3-2, and Stephen Weiss helped Gustavsson out in the last minute of play by stopping a shot himself (and the boo boo on his left pinky finger and forehead-gash-requiring-him-to-wear-a-visor issues haven't harmed Weiss at all);
- As individuals and as a team, the Wings had to know that they weren't going to play the Bruins again until November 27th, and they have to know that the Wings-Bruins games are going to serve as litmus tests for the team. The big, bad, trap-tatsic and physical Bruins played very well against the Wings, but the bigger, deeper and supposedly better Bruins neither intimidated nor panicked the Wings. The gents have to feel better about their ability to compete with the Beasts of the East after this one.
In terms of the media's takes on the game...
The Bruins press corps is frickin' huge, so if you're looking for sans-quotes takes on the game, and astute ones at that, WEEI's D.J. Bean includes this amongst his observations...
- That’s two goals for Datsyuk’s line against the Bergeron line and Chara pairing in two games this season. As Twitter follower @TCountie brought to our attention during the game, the Bergeron line and Chara pairing allowed just one five-on-five goal all of last season (Jan. 31 against Thomas Vanek), and Zetterberg has done double the damage against the impenetrable quintet this season in just two games.
Zetterberg’s goal featured some uncharacteristically shoddy defensive play by the Bruins. A Bergeron giveaway started the play, while Chara had every opportunity to physically take Datsyuk out of the play. Chara instead let Datsyuk go around him and retain possession, allowing him to slide the puck over to Zetterberg.
Yeah, we'll go with "let Datsyuk go around him." As opposed to, "Was beaten like a rented elephant."
The Boston Globe's Amalie Benjamin's sans-quotes recap is available for reading--her with-quotes recap will be a subscriber-only BostonGlobe.com affair--but her pre-cap offers only Bruins goal highlights;
ESPN's Joe McDonald took note of Schmidt's presence in his "rapid reaction":
MR. BRUIN: As part of Bruins' 90th season in organization, Bruins legend Milt Schmidt dropped the ceremonial puck prior to Monday's game. Schmidt, 95, was a player, coach and general manager of the Bruins. He received a standing ovation from the fans and both teams.
Amongst the New England Hockey Journal's Jesse Connolly's observations:
Final Thoughts: As expected, the Wings were leaps and bounds better than their last appearance at the Garden, when they were playing for the third time in four nights. Boston's now scored just two goals in the last two home tilts, both of which came against a backup making his first start of the season. Obviously, in those scenarios, you'd expect better results.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “There were some mistakes. They don’t need much space to make things happen, so for us we’ve got to tidy up. Just because you’re a stick-length away from a guy doesn’t mean you got him covered.” – Torey Krug all too aware of some of the defensive miscues that led to a 3-2 loss to the Red Wings.
As you might imagine, the Bruins' coach didn't feel that his team lacked in the scoring chances department, as he told the Boston Herald's Steve Conroy...
"It was a matter of us not being able to score on our opportunities," said Bruins coach Claude Julien. "We're fighting to score some goals lately and that kept going today."
The teams were tied at 1 entering the second period but the Wings closed out the 20 minutes with a 3-1 lead. First, Stephen Weiss was left all alone in the slot to convert Johan Franzen's pass from the corner at 8:21 of the second. Then Daniel cleary snuck in behind Zdeno Chara and popped home a centering pass from Daniel Afredsson to make it 3-1.
The Bruins had plenty of chances to carve into the lead in the third period. They had a 5-on-3 for 1:54, but couldn't get the puck past Gustavsson.
"I thought we had a lot of shots that went over the net," said Julien. "You don't score if you don't hit the net."
And Conroy duly noted that the Bruins did indeed register tons of scoring attempts...
The B's landed 30 shots on the goal manned by Jonas Gustavsson, but they took far more than that. The Red Wings blocked 22 Bruin shots and the B's simply missed the net 17 more times.
Torey Krug took eight shots, but only two hit the net.
"Yeah, it is (frustrating)," said Krug. "They did a really good job of coming out taking away the shooting lanes. At the same time, we've got to be better. Personally, I've got to be better doing that. That's part of my role. They did a good job of blocking shots and we've got to do a better job of getting shots to the net."
Jarome Iginla, still looking for his first goal, led the B's with 11 shots taken, five of which hit the net.
The B's didn't give up a ton of scoring chances, but the Wings capitalized on the mistakes the B's did make. All the Detroit goals, from Henrik Zetterberg, Stephen Weiss and Daniel Cleary, were the result of various Bruins' getting beaten to open scoring areas.
"They don't need many chances to score goals," said Krug.
And the MetroWest Daily News's Dan Cagen actually critiqued coach Julien's decision to keep Chara on the point during the Bruins' 5-on-3...
Krug’s low, accurate shot and passing has been exceptional on the power play. But Julien stuck with the 5-on-3 units he's used in practice. At the risk of stating the obvious, Bergeron couldn't screen Gustavsson as well as Chara could.
“It’s a 5-on-3 that we’ve practiced that’s worked well when we’ve put them together,” Julien said. “And sometimes guys 5-on-3, you have guys that work together and have different plays.”
Krug didn’t take the bait when asked if he was surprised to watch the 5-on-3 from the bench.
“We got out there when we’re told to go out there,” he said. “The coaching staff made that decision. We had a few good chances and unfortunately we just didn't score.”
Before spending his main recap noting the Bruins' difficulties in terms of scoring goals against anyone of late:
In the last three games, the Bruins have had a hard time turning on the red light. They were shut out for the first time in 72 games by Colorado last Thursday, and needed nearly 40 minutes to get on the scoreboard in a 3-1 win at Columbus on Saturday.
The problem hasn't been setting up their attack; they entered Monday fourth in the league in 5-on-5 offensive-zone percentage at 35.6 percent. It's been finding a way to sneak a 1-inch by 3-inch disk into a 6-feet by 4-feet opening.
"We were taking our shots," Lucic said. "I think it was just an example of kind of how the whole game went today. We were creating chances, moving the puck, but we were just — the finish wasn't there. Obviously right now, I think if you look at the last three games, bearing down is probably the biggest thing when it comes to when we get our opportunities."
The Red Wings gave the Bruins chances with some unusually undisciplined play. The Bruins went on the power play a season-high five times, including a 5-on-3 for 1:54 early in the third period. Julien called timeout and sent out Zdeno Chara, David Krejci, Eriksson, Iginla and Patrice Bergeron. Torey Krug, arguably their most dangerous power-play player through four games, was left on the bench.
Chara went to the point instead of his usual net-front slot, leaving Bergeron to handle those duties. The Bruins attempted eight shots in the two minutes, but only three were on net. Iginla misfired badly twice from the left circle.
"It's a 5-on-3 that we've practiced that's worked well when we've put them together," Julien said. "Sometimes guys 5-on-3, you have guys that work together and different plays and again, there were some chances there, there were some shots, but some of our guys that are good shooters probably aren't shooting as well as we'd like them to be."
Chara and Jarome Iginla agreed with their coach's assessment while speaking with Comcast Sportsnet New England's Picard...
"I thought we created some really good chances," said Chara. "Again, maybe we could shoot a little bit more, but I thought on the 5-on-3, we had some good opportunities to score and some good chances. A lot of shots on net, they just didn't go in."
Iginla was brought in to be one of the team's better shooters. And he let several shots rip from the top of the circles on the 5-on-3.
"One [shot] I just missed probably by a couple inches on the top-right corner," said Iginla. "One I missed by a mile. And that was just trying to hit it too hard and too excited and just missed it. When you're feeling it, those go in. And unfortunately they didn't. It was an important time of the game. It could have been a big difference."
Any Bruins goal on any of their five power plays could have been a big difference on Monday. But once again, it all comes down to finishing.
"We're getting chances, we're not burying them," said Julien. "At the end of the day, if you want your power play to be successful, you've got to score goals. Being good and spending lots of time in the offensive zone, getting chances, is one thing. It's a positive thing, but you've still got to produce. And right now, we haven't been producing. The main thing on the power play is, you've got to score. And we're not doing that. So, you can't be happy with it."
And ESPN's McDonald noted the Bruins' PP struggles in both a quick take...
Boston went 2-for-7 in the first two games, but has gone 0-for-12 the last three games.
“We didn’t score goals and that’s what we’re judged on,” Krug said. “They can say we had great puck movement, but that doesn’t matter because our job is to score goals and get momentum for our team. They did a good job of blocking shots. I had a few blocked myself and I’ve got to do a better job of getting pucks to the net. We’ve got to score goals.”
And he noted the heat that Iginla's taking in his main recap:
"He can shoot the puck a lot better than we've seen him," Julien said of Iginla. "Whether that's pressing, or whether that's circumstances, I don't know. He's been around the league long enough and he's going to find his way and he's going to score some goals for us. I see a little hesitation in shooting, and when a player has confidence their release is a little quicker too."
Iginla finished with a team-high five shots against the Red Wings and there were a few more opportunities that sailed wide.
"It's probably being too anxious," Iginla said. "You want to get that goal for the team and just get one and get feeling it. At times, you squeeze a little too hard. I'm not in a groove where you kind of want to will it in the net as opposed to let it happen.
Cue the, "We've heard this before, haven't we, Wings fans?" from the MetroWest Daily News's Cagen:
The 36-year-old has been through droughts before. He went 10 games and nearly a month without a goal in the 2007-08 season. He finished with 50 goals that year.
He wouldn't attribute his slow start to the added pressure of a new team.
"There's no excuses," he said. "I've been here many times before and I believe I'll come out of it and it's about opportunities and I'm getting tons of those."
SouthCoast Today's Mick Colangelo added the following...
Not scoring yet in a season so young is no big deal, but with a little more finish the 3-2-0 Bruins could be undefeated. They played solidly in Thursday's 2-0 loss to Colorado, and the three goals Tuukka Rask allowed Detroit on Monday were correctable defensive breakdowns.
Milan Lucic's goal with 1:20 remaining that screamed "Haven't you learned?!" to those who had vacated their seats was all the Red Wings would allow in the final frame.
"It looks like we're feeling the pressure of scoring goals and they're not coming easy," said Bruins coach Claude Julien, who backed off of comments about his team's lack of confidence. "I should have put it this way: I think we're pressing. ... I don't think our guys don't feel they can score. ... Once we get some goals, I think we'll be pressing a little less. So I guess everything I said earlier about the lack of confidence is a lot of B.S."
And the Bruins insisted to the Providence Journal's Mark Divver that they certainly have little to worry about in terms of their ability to score goals--but instead, that maybe the Bruins should be more worried about limiting their opponents' opportunities:
"They don't need a whole lot (of chances). They've got a lot of guys with talent. They seemed to capitalize on every mistake we made tonight. That's the difference between winning and losing sometimes,'' said Boston winger Brad Marchand.
Coach Claude Julien said the Bruins had only themselves to blame.
"All three of those goals were poor coverage on our part - it was our own doing . . . Other than that, the quality scoring chances that they had tonight were very limited. At the other end, we couldn't buy a goal,'' Julien said.
"We were taking our shots,'' said Milan Lucic. "It was an example of how the whole game went today. We were creating chances and moving the puck, but the finish wasn't there.''
With 1:20 left in regulation, the seventh-year power forward pulled Boston within one with his third of the season, and 100th for his career. He had a chance to get goal No. 101 late in the third and tie things up on a tip-in attempt, but his redirect was deflected just wide of Gustavsson.
With three goals so far on the year, Lucic is picking up right where he left off during a solid performance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. That is a good sign for Bruins fans, especially with newcomer Jarome Iginla struggling to find the back of the net.
"We were able to generate speed and chances through the neutral zone and off the rush. So, we have got to keep working at it and like I said, once we start bearing down it’ll be right where we want it to be," Lucic said.
While the team came up short, Lucic was at least appreciative of the effort against Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and company.
“I thought we fought hard,” he said. "I thought we generated a lot [of chances] but it comes down to getting on those rebounds and second and third shots and hopefully we can get better at that. They’re hard to play against on both sides of the puck and you saw that here today."
The Bruins told the Republican's Amanda Bruno that they didn't expect the Wings to represent easy prey...
"We know they're a great team and I don't think after our first game we expected it's going to be like that all year long," Bruins forward Bard Marchand said. "... They got a really good system – that's why they go deep in playoffs every year."
Boston's defense wasn't its shutdown self. Multiple times, the Bruins were caught chasing and out of position. A breakdown led to a Weiss wrist shot that put the Red Wings on top 2-1 at 8:21 of the second.
The meltdown continued when Cleary made it 3-1 with Rask screened by Chara. Chara finished an uncharacteristic minus-2.
Detroit's first goal was a beauty. Center Pavel Datsyuk fought his way past Chara and sent a backhand saucer pass to Zetterberg, who buried it through Rask at 11:33 of the first.
"Those two guys, when they play together, they create a lot of chances," Chara said. "They like to play with each other, they know each other pretty well when they're on the ice and they're highly skilled players. Most of their offense is coming from those two lines."
And while the Bruins insisted to Brunflo that they aren't worried about Tuukka Rask's play...
"I don't think that should surprise anybody with the way that Tuukka gives up goals," Bruins forward Daniel Paille said. "For us, he gives us a chance every night playing like that and we can't ask any more from him."
In Boston's first four games, Rask allowed just one goal apiece to Tampa Bay, Detroit, Colorado and Winnipeg, totaling 111 saves. He didn't have much help the second time around against Detroit Monday, when the Bruins dropped a 3-2 decision at TD Garden. All of the Red Wings' goals were the result of defensive breakdowns where Rask was left to fend for himself.
He would have liked to have Daniel Cleary's third-period goal back. He was screened by teammate Zdeno Chara as the puck flew by him.
"I didn't see (Cleary)," Rask said. "He kind of came from high up, I think. Nobody knew he was there, we missed him ... it's kind of tough to read that play, but sometimes it hits you, sometimes it doesn't."
"He's doing what he's supposed to do," coach Claude Julien said. "He has been solid. He has been since day one. The first year where he took over the No. 1 job, you kind of ask yourself, 'You know, is he going to be able to sustain the No. 1 job as far as playing the most games?' And I thought last year he did a great job of that right till the end."
If you really want to read about the Bruins' power play issues, NESN's Mike Cole will happily provide for your needs, but I'd rather point out that Julien was downright standoffish regarding the Red Wings' goals while speaking with Comcast Sportsnet Northeast's Joe Haggerty...
“You take those three goals away – which I thought were goals that we could have easily defended against – we were there, but we didn’t react,” said Claude Julien. “That kind of tarnished the outcome of the game. We were a little loose in our coverage today, and it resulted in those three goals.
“Every game you look at things and you try and rectify those things with practice, and bring it to the players’ attention. That’s what we have to do…especially on the back check; we need to come back a little harder and a little better. Just because you’re a couple of feet away from that guy doesn’t mean you have him. There wasn’t full commitment in that. When you play a team like Detroit, they don’t need that many chances.”
For the initial go-ahead score, Brad Marchand was caught chasing after Stephen Weiss as he crashed the backdoor with Adam McQuaid and Matt Bartkowski scrambling to keep order in the D-zone. It looked more like an elaborate elementary school fire drill than the B’s finely crafted box-plus-one defensive system.
On the third goal, the Bruins were very much guilty of standing around in their own zone while the Wings rushed the net. Chara didn’t step up enough when Cleary swooped into the front of the net, and none of Milan Lucic, Jarome Iginla or David Krejci covered up in the slot area. One beat later Daniel Alfredsson had the puck on Cleary’s stick, and the Wings had their insurance goal while taking advantage of Boston defense’s gaffes in front.
None if it was good enough for a team that prides themselves on refusing to allow opponents the slot area for offensive chances.
“We kind of just fell asleep for a second there, and the guy had an extra second. All of the sudden the puck is in the net,” said Tuukka Rask, who hadn’t allowed more than a single goal in a game until Monday’s defeat. “I’m not blaming myself really, but it’s a letdown game when you don’t really get that many scoring chances.
“Once they get [scoring chances] you’d like to be there and stop the puck, but they’re also a good team. They’ve scored a lot of goals…tough loss. It’s not good enough that you’re almost there. You’ve got to get there and have the gas. It’s little mental mistakes, but today it was more costly than the other night.”
And the Bruins only seemed to give the Wings partial credit for their win, as noted by BostonBruins.com's Caryn Switaj:
The Wings blocked 22 shots and the B's missed the net 17 times, accounting for 69 pucks thrown towards Gustavsson.
"They were blocking a lot of shots, and I thought Gustavsson, he was square to a lot of shots, he was getting, he was doing real well getting side to side and doing post to post and that’s probably the best game I’ve seen him play," said Lucic. "So, you have to give them credit for playing a full team game and blocking a lot of those shots and we had chances where it could have been those rebound scrambled pucks and they were able to block, and I think that’s what kind of stopped us from making it 3-2 earlier."
The Bruins weren't too focused on Detroit's play postgame, however, and more concerned with not being able bury the opportunities they did create.
"We’re really struggling with our finish lately. It looks like we’re feeling the pressure of scoring goals and they’re not coming easy," said Julien. "So it’s been like that. Even the game in Columbus, took us a while to get going there, obviously Colorado."
The Bruins won in Columbus, 3-1, with an empty-netter tacked on, and lost to Colorado, 1-0.
"We go through that it seems like every year at some point," added Julien. "You’re seeing guys either fanning or shooting over the net. There were some scrambles there today where everybody thought the puck was going in the net and whether the goalie stops it or pucks are bouncing, it doesn’t matter."
Lucic, despite adding his three goal in five games to start the season, felt the same.
"I think if you look at the last three games, bearing down is probably the biggest thing when it comes to it, when we get our opportunities," said the winger.
We'll slowly but surely shift our focus toward the Red Wings coach and players' perspectives via the AP's recap, which notes that Jonas Gustavsson didn't get any advanced warning regarding his status as the starter...
“Maybe 15, 20 minutes before the game started,” Gustavsson said, sitting at his locker taking his equipment off in a nearly empty dressing room following the win. “It felt good. I was excited to play. It’s always fun to go out and have your first game, especially when we have a chance to win.”
And the Red Wings (4-2) had to hang on right until the last second to get their second straight victory.
Milan Lucic’s 100th career goal sliced it to 3-2 with 1:20 to play. With Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask pulled for an extra skater, Boston had the puck in Detroit’s zone for nearly all of the final 80 seconds.
Stephen Weiss and Daniel Cleary scored second-period goals for the Wings. Henrik Zetterberg had the other goal.
Loui Eriksson had Boston’s other goal. The Bruins had a two-man power-play advantage for nearly two minutes early in the third period, but couldn’t mount a comeback.
Gustavsson bobbled a few shots in the opening period, but improved as the game went on. He made a pair of stops on Jarome Iginla’s shots from the left point when the Bruins had the two-man edge for 1:54 early in the third period.
“That’s how it is usually in a game,” Gustavsson said. “When you get your first shots on you, you grow into the game. I felt pretty good. The guys helped me a lot to feel good.”
As for Howard, he didn’t think he’d be able to play in the next game at home against Columbus on Tuesday night.
“Doubtful,” he said. “We’re really just going to have to wait and see. Hopefully, it’ll heal fast.”
And it's the New England Hockey Journal's Andrew Meritt who ends up issuing the Wings' pre and post-game mission statement, if not their message sent:
Nine days ago, the Bruins scorched the Red Wings at TD Garden, looking every bit the team that had just made a run to the Stanley Cup Final. Torey Krug, Brad Marchand, Jordan Caron and Zdeno Chara scored in the rout, marred only by a Henrik Zetterberg wrister late in the first period. The Bruins improved to 2-0, and made the highly-touted newcomers to the Atlantic Division look like also-rans.
On Monday afternoon, the tables were turned as the Red Wings jumped all over the Bruins for a 3-2 Detroit win. Goals from Stephen Weiss and Daniel Cleary in the second period pushed the visitors ahead, and the Bruins couldn't catch up despite three power plays – including a long 5-on-3 – over the final 21 minutes of play.
The 3-2 score will make the game look a little closer on paper than it really was. The Bruins (3-2-0) struggled to create as many solid offensive chances as they have in their three wins this year, while some awful defensive breakdowns opened the door for the Red Wings (4-2-0).
The Wings looked like a very different team than the one that got trounced by the Bruins nine days ago, and that was no accident.
“They embarrassed us last time,” said Cleary, whose pretty goal off a feed from Daniel Alfredsson midway through the second gave the Wings the winning margin. “We came in making sure we were ready. The first period, there wasn’t really anything going on, then we had a good second. It was a big win for us, something to build off.”
So the Bruins were beat by a team that took the Chicago Blackhawks to seven games in the 2013 Western Conference semifinals, and still has some of the game’s biggest names on its roster.
And NHL.com's Matt Kalman adds a beefier Cleary quote to the mix while focusing on Gustavsson's performance:
"They embarrassed us last time in here," Cleary said. "We kind of came in making sure we were ready ... the first period wasn't really anything going on and then we had a good second. They [the Bruins] had a lot of good shifts and a lot of good chances to score and we were able to keep it out of the net and it was a big win for us, something to build off."
Goaltender Jimmy Howard led the Red Wings out for warm-ups but was replaced as the starter before the game by Jonas Gustavsson. Howard sustained a bruised hand during the Red Wings' win Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers. However, Red Wings general manager Ken Holland told reporters the injury is not considered serious and Howard could be in net for the Red Wings' next game, Tuesday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. After the game, Howard said he faced about three shots in the warm-up before deciding not to play. He's day-to-day.
In his first start of the season, Gustavsson stopped 28 shots. He was activated from injured reserve Oct. 11 after missing time with a groin injury.
"In the end it was a real good start for us and for [Gustavsson] because he gets confidence and we need to get 20 games, or 20-plus games, out of him," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "If he feels good about [himself] and our team feels good about him, he can play more and it keeps [Howard] fresh."
"I've been feeling pretty good in the practices so I felt pretty comfortable getting into this game," said Gustavsson, whose last NHL regular-season game came March 31. "You know when you get a few shots on you, you feel like you get into the game and then you just go from there."
The Sports Xchange's Mike Shalin continues the narrative...
“It was a great challenge. It was a lot of fun,” Gustavsson said after making 28 saves in the win.
“Monster (Gustavsson) did a great job coming in there. He played a great game for us, so he deserves all the credit today.” said Howard, a former University of Maine star who handled only two shots in practice and called himself “probably just day to day.”
Stephen Weiss and Daniel Cleary scored 1:40 apart in the second period, and the Red Wings (4-2) killed a two-man disadvantage for 1:54 in the third period en route to their second road win in three days.
The Red Wings were playing their second game in Boston in 10 days and made up for a lackluster effort in the 4-1 Oct. 5 loss.
Coming into the rematch, Detroit coach Mike Babcock said, “Let’s get started on time and play the way we’re capable of,” and his team then did just that.
“They embarrassed us last time in here,” said Cleary. “We kind of came in making sure we were ready, obviously Howard went out early, and I thought Gustavsson played real well for us.”
Milan Lucic (No. 3, 100 career) scored with 1:20 remaining in the game, after the Bruins had failed on another power play. Boston then pulled goalie Tuukka Rask and did plenty of buzzing in the Detroit zone, but to no avail.
“The guys did a really good job,” said Gustavsson. “You really feel the difference when you have skilled players like (Pavel) Datsyuk and (Henrik) Zetterberg, they’re so calm with the puck.”
The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan found that at least Zetterberg was willing to suggest that the team has confidence in Gustavsson...
“We knew he was going to have a start here pretty soon,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “He comes in with a lot of confidence and plays a great game. He plays really aggressive, plays the puck right away, and it’s good to see. He’s a good goalie and he’s fun to have around.”
The Red Wings held a 3-1 lead in the third period but penalties to Niklas Kronwall (hooking) and Daniel Cleary (tripping) gave Boston at two-man advantage for 1 minute, 54 seconds beginning at 15:04. Gustavsson survived the Bruins’ assault.
“That’s the way it is in the NHL, you have a one- or two-goal lead, but you know the game isn’t over,” Gustavsson said. “The guys did a real good job there and helped me out. It’s a tough situation but the guys battled real hard and made it easier for me. Without them, they would have scored.”
The Bruins though they’d see a different Red Wings team in the rematch – and they were right.
“They’re a disciplined team,” said Bruins defenseman Torey Krug (Michigan State). “Everyone knows their role. They do their job well and they don’t do anything crazy. They play the game well and they’re very well coached and very disciplined.”
And the Free Press's Helene St. James took note of the Datsyuk-and-Zetterberg-ian deke...
The Wings built their first lead when Datsyuk stole the puck off Boston's Patrice Bergeron, eluded 6-feet-9 behemoth defenseman Zdeno Chara and slid a cross-ice pass beneath Johnny Boychuck to Zetterberg, who turned it into his fifth goal of the season.
"When I saw he went past Chara," Zetterberg said, "I was pretty sure the puck would come one way or another to my stick, and it did. Then I just fired it at the net."
Chara tipped his hat to the duo. "Those two guys, when they play together, they create a lot of chances."
Which looked like this...
The Wings' desire to not become the Detroit Tigers vs. Boston Red Sox, ALCS game 2, redux...
Many Wings had spent Sunday evening watching the events at Fenway Park, where the Red Sox used the eighth inning to rally past the Detroit Tigers. That, along with the New England Patriots' come-from-behind win, came to mind when the Wings suddenly faced spending such a long time down two skaters.
"You had it in the back of your mind," Zetterberg said, "those two huge comebacks from Boston teams. We didn't want to have that."
And Babcock's take on the lack of penalties assessed to the Bruins:
The penalty killers had a star-making turn killing off nearly two minutes worth of a two-man power play in the third period. That the Bruins got five power plays and the Wings, none, stuck out to coach Mike Babcock as he perused the final game summary sheet.
"Might have to frame that," he said, "just because no one will believe it actually happened."
She noted Zetterberg's take on the Wings' win as a confidence-builder, too:
"It's good for us, good for our confidence," captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "Didn't have one power play today, but still we find a way to win."
"It’s not very often you play in a game where that happens, especially when the game’s even, so it makes you wonder a little bit about that,’’ Babcock said.
“Our guys did a very good job in lanes because they kept blowing it by,’’ Babcock said. “We still managed to take lots of penalties. I don’t know. We don’t often think we’re going to be more penalized than the Bruins, but that’s the way things go sometimes.’’
The Red Wings had gone 115 consecutive games, including the postseason, with at least one power play. The last time they didn’t get any power plays was in a 5-4 win at Dallas on Jan. 3, 2012.
Who also spoke with Gustavsson and Zetterberg about having to kill that 1:51 of 5 on 3 time...
Goaltender Jonas Gustavsson said of defending a five-on-three: “Not so much that you have to be afraid of a screen on a five-on-three, it’s more like a one-timer that’s coming closer to you. You can’t play too far out and you can’t play too deep. That’s the tough part with the five-on-three compared to five-on-four, just know where you are and don’t be too aggressive. And once again, couple of guys with huge blocks. That helps a lot, takes a lot of pressure from me.’’
Said Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg: “You just got to be in lanes, take away the easy plays, make them make a nice play if they’re going to score.’’
Babcock, on the team redeeming itself following a 4-1 loss at Boston on Oct. 5: “We came in here last time and left kind of feeling we didn’t do ourselves proud, didn’t play the way we’d have liked to play, so this is a good win and now we got Columbus tomorrow and got to get ready again.’’
Babcock, on what this win does for team’s confidence: “Their team at this time is probably more NHL-ready for the long run because they’ve been together longer. We’re a young group that’s got to continue to get better together and we will do that. I like what happened for our team today confidence-wise.’’
Zetterberg, on making up for the earlier game in Boston: “We’re glad we had a chance to come back pretty soon. We had more energy today. We played an overall much better game, better structure and I think we forechecked pretty good. We still had some issues in our own end when they spent a lot of time in there. But Gus came up huge and made some big saves.’’
Going forward, the Wings do have some concern about Howard's hand, as Khan noted...
It was determined in the pregame warmup that Jimmy Howard couldn’t play due to the bruised left (catching) hand he sustained during the second period of Saturday’s 5-2 win over Philadelphia.
Howard said it is doubtful he will play Tuesday at home against Columbus.
“Tried to get through it (warmups) and just not happening,’’ Howard said. “I took three shots in the area where I got injured and it was extremely painful, so decided to rest it and get the swelling out of the area. It’s probably just day-to-day.
“The Monster did great. He really played a great game for us. He deserves a lot of credit.’’
Said Babcock: “He practiced (Sunday) and was all right but he’s got some blood in the hand and they’re trying to keep (the swelling) down, but maybe it’s swollen too much now, so I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. We’ll monitor the situation and decide who goes tomorrow.’’
This quip from Comcast Sportsnet Northeast's Joe Haggerty, noted by Pro Hockey Talk's James O'Brien, didn't make any recap:
And we'll conclude with some bonus Swedish from Aftonbladet's Per Bjurman (roughly translated):
"We played well in our own zone, and Jonas Gustavsson was sick in the crease. Nice to see that we can win against a team like this," says forward Henrik Zetterberg to Sportbladet after the 3-2 victory.
Columbus Day is celebrated in the United States [on Monday] and only the NHL could offer a feast as unusual as a Monday matinee between the Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings, at the TD Garden, to honor the holiday.
Boston dominated play and chances very strongly--but even though they didn't create many chances, didn't get a single power play and were forced to kill a slew of penalties, including a long 5-on-3 disadvantage in the 3rd period, the Red Wings won 3-2.
The main reason:
Artists such as Henrik Zetterberg and Stephen Weiss took advantage of the few chances that were offered--and Jonas Gustavsson, who played in his first game of the season, and was excellent, though the Bruins had problems finishing their chances.
"Yes, we didn't have much to shoot at, but the puck went in well enough," says Henrik Zetterberg when we meet him afterwards.
He continues: "We played particularly well in our own zone and Jonas was sick in the net. It feels good to show that we can beat a team like this."
Zata was involved in a great delicacy in the first period. Radar partner Pavel Datsyuk backchecked to steal the puck, spun Zdeno Chara around, and sent a perfect backhand pass to his captain, who coolly placed it behind Tuukka Rask.
"It was a great pass from Pavel. When he took the puck, I knew I'd get it. Then I had a bit of luck, there wasn't much to shoot at," says Zata.
Not much, but enough for the Wings on Monday, and enough for Zetterberg, Datsyuk and their teammates to make a hell of a statement to the Bruins, to the NHL, and especially to themselves.
Highlights: The Red Wings website's highlight clip is narrated by Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond:
Comcast Sportsnet New England posted a 2:29 highlight clip which includes some post-game comments from Jarome Iginla and Milan Lucic;
Post-game: NESN posted a 1-minute clip of Claude Julien's post-game comments;
BruinsDaily.com posted 3:37 clip of post-game comments from the aforementioned players and coach;
The Free Press's Helene St. James posted a clip of Mike Babcock's post-game presser...
And Fox Sports Detroit posted Trevor Thompson's interview with Babcock:
Photos: The Boston Herald posted a 13-image gallery;
The Boston Globe posted a 12-image gallery;
The Detroit News posted an 8-image gallery;
The Free Press posted a 22-image gallery;
If you're a bit odd and want Jonas Gustavsson wallpaper, CBS Detroit provides your wallpaper-sized photo;
ESPN posted a 35-image gallery;
Shots 30-27 Boston overall. The teams tied 9-9 in shots in the 1st; Boston out-shot Detroit 11-10 in the 2nd and 10-8 in the 3rd.
The Bruins went 0-for-5 in 8:07 of PP time, including 1:53 of 5 on 3 time; Detroit had no power plays.
Jonas Gustavsson stopped 28 of 30 shots against; Tuukka Rask stopped 24 of 27.
The 3 stars were picked by 98.5 the Sports Hub, and they picked Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Jonas Gustavsson.
The Wings' goals: Zetterberg (5) from Datsyuk (4);
Weiss (2) from Franzen (3) and Lashoff (1);
Cleary (1) from Alfredsson (5) and Andersson (1).
Faceoffs 24-22 Detroit (Detroit won 52%);
Blocked shots 22-4 Detroit;
Missed shots 17-11 Boston (shot attempts a stunning 69-42 Boston, with Detroit firing 27 on Rask and 15 wide/blocked);
Hits 25-19 Boston;
Giveaways 10-7 Boston;
Takeaways 3-1 Boston.
Individual stats, TMR style:
Faceoffs: Datsyuk went 7-and-11 (39%) against Bergeron; Andersson went 8-and-7 (53%); Weiss went 5-and-2 (71%); Glendening went 3-and-1 (75%); Miller lost his only faceoff; Alfredsson won his only faceoff.
Shots: Zetterberg led the Wings with 6 shots; Ericsson had 3; Abdelkader, Lashoff, Quincey, Bertuzzi, DeKeyser and Weiss had 2; Kindl, Alfredsson, Datsyuk, Miller and Cleary had 1.
Blocked attempts: Kindl, Datsyuk, DeKeyser and Franzen had 1 shot attempt blocked.
Missed attempts: Lashoff missed the net 4 times; Kindl missed the net 2 times; Abdelkader, Datsyuk, Tootoo, Quincey and Ericsson missed the net 1 time.
Hits: Bertuzzi and Franzen led the Wings with 3 hits apiece; Kindl, Abdelkader, Miller and Ericsson had 2 hits; Alfredsson, Datsyuk, Andersson, Zetterberg and DeKeyser had 1 hit.
Giveaways: Abelkader, Datsyuk, Andersson, Zetterberg, Kronwall, Weiss and Franzen had 1 giveaway.
Takeaways: Datsyuk had the Wings' only takeaway.
Blocked opponent shots: Kronwall blocked 4 shots; Lashoff, Zetterberg and DeKeyser blocked 3 shots; Andersson and Quincey blocked 2; Alfredsson, Miller, Glendening, Ericsson and Weiss blocked 1.
Penalties taken: Kindl, Alfredsson, Lashoff, Kronwall, DeKeyser and Cleary all took minor penalties.
Plus-minus: The Wings finished at a collective +5. Abdelkader and Weiss finished at -1; Kindl, Alfredsson, Datsyuk, Lashoff, Bertuzzi, Cleary and Franzen finished at +1.
Points: Zetterberg, Cleary and Weiss scored goals; Alfredsson, Datsyuk, Andersson, Lashoff and Franzen had assists.
Ice time: Ericsson led the team with 26:22; Kronwall played 25:30; Quincey played 19:47;
Datsyuk played 19:17; Zetterberg played 18:36; DeKeyser played 17:43;
Andersson played 16:25; Kindl played 15:52; Cleary played 15:20;
Lashoff played 15:18; Franzen played 15:16; Alfredsson played 14:40;
Abdelkader played 14:25; Weiss played 14:06; Bertuzzi played 11:36;
Miller played 10:18; Glendening played 10:00; Tootoo played 7:29.
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