Anytime the NHL wants to say they need to increase scoring, we need only point to games like this to show why their concerns are misplaced.
Let's just talk about the game itself, shall we?
Streamables done by the always vigilant Chris Abraham. Thanks, Chris!
PERIOD THE FIRST: FIRST TASTE
Starting this game was a breeze for Brad Marchand, who is now 13 points for 13 games. He got this 8 seconds into the game.
This was a harbinger to the kind of defense both teams were going to exhibit over the course of the next 59 minutes of hockey. The Bruins weren't celebrating very long as Detroit's
Hawkrock Soccerblock Henrik Zetterberg got a great backhander out of a pile of humanity as the Bruins defense struggled to get the puck away from Rask.
After this, a response was needed as the Bruins had gotten into a rhythm that was just ruined. They got one just ten seconds later from Zach Trotman. 2-1!
The Bruins would go on to not necessarily dominate play, but definitely keep Rask's end of things clean all the while getting shelled by Detroit on shots. Then the Bruins had all the reason to celebrate as Jimmy Hayes and David Krejci combined beautiful passing to allow Loui Eriksson to put the puck right through Mrazek's legs and gain a 3-1 lead!
I could watch David Krejci pass on odd man rushes for years, man...Oh, and pay Loui Eriksson lots of money to stay here. But of course, the Red Wings weren't just going to allow the Bruins to skate out of the period feeling good about themselves as they scored not two minutes later for Datsyuk's first of the night on the power play. 3-2 heading into the first intermission:
The shot was...somewhat reviewable and I think they might have gotten away with a high stick, but as we'll see at the end of this night, it was far from the only problem the Bruins had dealing with the Red Wings.
The period overall gave the impression that, in spite of six minutes of penalties this would be much like the first detroit game where the Bruins mostly kept pace and kept the Red Wings out of reach until the end. All was well...
2ND PERIOD: ADDICTION
...And then the roof caved right the hell in.
An ugly goal three minutes into the period occured as the previously "Didn't start great but redeemed themselves" Zach Trotman was in the wrong place at the wrong time and just the wrong angle to get Darren Helm his first of the night. It's an ugly bounce and Rask wasn't exactly at fault (he can't be pushing off in that situation because...y'know, Trotman was pushing Glendening out of the crease), but some better awareness would've been lovely. Tie game.
Then came the precariousness of a two minute stretch of 4 on 3 hockey as a bunch of penalties that NBC's cameras barely picked up happened. And to the Bruins credit, the Penalty Kill and the shots they allowed were pretty lights out and got you thinking that maybe they could get the next one....but of course the second the 4 on 3 ended and it was just a power play for seven seconds...
Yeah. 4-3 Red Wings off the screen for their first lead of the night, and one they wouldn't relinquish afterwords.
It didn't get any better after that as the Red Wings turned on the "Hammer Rask" switch and spent most of the period lighting him and the Bruins up with shots, while the Bruins could only hope for the period to end to regroup. Darren Helm only increased that lead and the impending sense of dread that this game's lack of defense offered. 5-3.
Rask couldn't have done better on that shot and it still went in on his strong side. Rough. It was at this point that he was pulled in his second of three starts in favor of Jonas Gustavsson.
Claude Julien while trying as hard as he could to ignore walking talking pointless fact generator Pierre McGuire explained during the game that it wasn't because of anything Rask himself was doing, but it was because the defense had been letting him out to dry, and he needed to call his team out in the only way he knew how. And initially? the change looked like the thing they needed as Dennis Seidenberg got his first goal in 100 games off of a beautiful faceoff win by Ryan Spooner. 5-4.
A hope spot after a period like that was desperately needed, as the Bruins looked completely listless and submissive to the Red Wings constant shelling of their defense and goaltender. And hey, the Bruins usually get goals when they most need them from unlikely sources, so what's the harm in that really?
Well, Rinaldo took a bad penalty to end the period so the hope seemed gone at that point. The Bruins needed a golden opportunity...
3RD PERIOD: OVERDOSE
...And Joonas Kemppainen was just the man for the job to tie the game on a spectacular shot. SHORT HANDED, no less!
For the next several minutes, the game was the kind of thing you were just imagining where it could go. Would the Bruins finally take the lead? How many weird saves can Gustavsson make? How many golden opportunities will be left?
Well, turns out Danny Dekeyser really wanted to get Petr Mrazek a win for his birthday. 6-5 Red Wings.
I will be fair in saying both sides were letting up all sorts of weirdness during this game so in retrospect this was probably the most normal goal, and it was in relief of a player who had been getting pummeled by shots. I however, will say that this was the most painful goal to watch tonight. Gustavsson ALMOST got it, but deflections are always heartbreakers.
From then on, the Bruins tried their damnedest to tie, but the Red Wings defense shut the door and kept Mrazek out of anymore trouble than he was already probably in. Gustavsson was pulled, but the 6 on 5 advantage wasn't enough. Red Wings win and take control of second place. The Bruins will play the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night at a regular, reasonable and sane time like 7.
- The Bruins miss Patrice Bergeron's possession powers BADLY. This was the perfect game to find out why. Only Colin Miller, Jimmy Hayes, and Ryan Spooner managed to stay above water for possession percentage.
- The team got offense in from almost every line tonight and even some defensemen who weren't expecting goals tonight. The offense is no longer much of the problem. That being said, having no SOG for almost ten minutes in the second period is inexcusable, even for a team with a good PK.
- The decision to pull Rask was, as discussed up on the actual recap, a game waker upper for Claude Julien. He knew most of these goals were because of defense muck ups, screens, or shitty bounces, and it probably felt like he didn't need to subject his starting goaltender to anymore of this while they were still playing like they were. That said, I feel like he could've finished the game with the score being about the same. All goaltenders involved in this game struggled heavily with wonky goals.
- I try really really hard not to blame officials for something I think the team could've done better. That said, the amount of weird penalties and strange calls on inconclusive evidence must've really gotten Claude furious. And by association of all the wacky goals scored, I can do it no longer. The penalty differential between the two teams was just atrocious, and a couple of these penalties weren't really much of a penalty at all. Especially the Chara Interference one. Oh god, that one was AWFUL.
- It was probably the camera angle, but Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill looks kind of like what Karl Pilkington from The Ricky Gervais Show and An Idiot Abroad.
- A couple of people in the gamethread mentioned something like this, but I really do think that you cannot hope to consider yourself a playoff caliber team if your defense plays like this. Claude can only do so much with the parts he's been given, and you can only play the Buffalos, Torontos, Columbuses, and Ottawas of the world so many times before you run out of cupcakes on your schedule. Eventually you have to make a change and quick. You can play bend but don't break hockey to your heart's content, but if your squad of defensive player cannot hold the score until the period ends...You really shouldn't try until you have a squad that can.
- The Bruins are still in third place. The Bruins are still in third place. The Bruins are still in third place. The Bruins are still in third-