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RECAP: Bruins win in overtime over Red Wings

A bit of redemption, though it looked eerily similar to last week’s game. Still, a win is a win.

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Boston Bruins
Hooray for Brad!
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Bruins met the Red Wings for the second time in a week, and it didn’t disappoint. (OK, it disappointed in fits and spurts, but the result is what the team desperately needed.)

First Period

This period starts off well. REALLY well, by most standards. A moderately aggressive forecheck sets in, and since the Bruins weren’t chasing deep into the zone, it gave them more opportunities to cut off neutral zone passes - and it worked, for a time.

Kronwall takes a high-sticking penalty in the first minute, but the Bruins spent about 90 seconds settling into the offensive zone. Fortunately, this momentum carried over following Kronwall’s exit from the box, and Large Jim made a good board play behind Coreau. With the support of Dominic Moore, the cycle swings through the middle of the zone and across the circles to Kevan Miller, who coasts in near the faceoff dot to the right of Coreau, collects the puck, and lets a high wrister fly. 1-0 BRUINS!!!

The cycle game continued; this game started to show great promise. (When have we seen this before?) Krug faked a shot and sent it to Pastrnak just off the post, but he couldn’t get a stick on it and it trickled into the corner. The Bruins did a great job of retrieving the puck, and while there were several neutral zone turnovers, they turned into dump-ins by Detroit with no sustained attack by the Wings for the first 10 minutes. Offensively, the Bruins get a few more close chances - Torey Krug made a great read to switch with Bergeron, carried the puck behind the net, and nearly created another goal with a chip out front around the midway point. The Bruins had all the shots on goal at this point: a 10-0 advantage through the first ten minutes of play.

SCRATCH THAT. On what seemed like a harmless-ish centering chip-pass off the boards by Mike Green, it laid perfectly in front of a streaking Andreas Athanasiou, who with a great burst of speed blew by Brandon Carlo and made a good deke to push Rask off the post, scoring on Detroit’s first shot of the game.

Encouragingly, the Bruins push right back, standing up the Wings at the defensive blue line and causing a scramble in front, but Dominic Moore couldn’t chip it through the pile (he missed) before the net came off its moorings. Marchand made a cheap pass at Kronwall with a slew-foot after an offsides call with 7:45 to play, and Detroit captain Zetterberg let him know that’s not acceptable. There may be a fine on the way for him for that one.

Clearing passes started to miss the mark, but otherwise the Bruins still managed to avoid many turnovers. Krejci and - GASP - Hayes get some defensive zone takeaways. Defensive zone faceoff wins and blocked shots further help to keep Detroit from adding to their measly shot total. Detroit D Jonathan Ericsson attempted a slapshot and broke his stick, and Pastrnak started to streak, but the breakaway pass was stopped by Ericsson with the top half of his stick and the Bruins get a power play. Ericsson made the smart play, but perhaps that should be a penalty shot - he had a clear chance to score, and it was a penalty that denied it. On the PP, Pastrnak fired a point shot that Spooner hacked in front, and the bouncing puck found Marchand at the side of the net for a roofjob. 2-1 Bruins.

The period ends with 21-7 shot advantage for the Bruins - not that absolutely dominating in shots has helped them so far this season.

Second Period

An early interference penalty to Chara set this period off on the wrong foot. Coreau saved a partial breakaway by Marchand as the penalty expired. Play was a little more balanced both ways at even strength, and though the Bruins get some open looks at Coreau, they can’t get a very strong shot and he made the positional saves. Coreau nearly handed the B’s a goal by clearing it right through a forechecker’s feet. More great cycle by the Bruins, with about 90 seconds of straight o-zone time.

Detroit responded by deflecting a puck around Rask with 13:35 to play, off of Kevan Miller’s skate. The Killer Giveth, and the Killer Taketh Away... Leads. Mike Green gets credit.

There’s a few more decent chances, but a case study of the period is Pastrnak passing up a shot to try and center the puck to Bergeron, who was covered. Trying to be too cute on offense dooms the Bruins on several prime chances, and they lean too heavily up ice to stop the Red Wings from running up their offensive zone time. Tomas Tatar sneaks a soft goal through Tuukka; 3-2 Red Wings.

Back-and-forth play resumes, with some extra chippiness. Marchand and Abdelkader argue after colliding, and the Bruins start to make blind passes or passes to space that Detroit is getting to first. The period ended with a 3-2 Wings lead, but it could easily have been flipped, or perhaps much more in favor of the Bruins.

Third Period

The Bruins were clearly displeased with their second-period effort, and came out guns a-blazin’. Opportunities to score continued to come; Marchand almost snuck a pass to Bergeron at the far post, but no dice. The defense jumped up into the play a bit more at the onset of this period; forwards were covering well with standout backcheck from Schaller and Hayes saving a couple potential breakouts by Detroit. The hits started to accumulate, and the second period coasting seemed to be over. Frustration boiled over a few times; McQuaid skated into Glendening, tripping over himself and crashing into Rask, and tries to take it out on Glendening.

With 11:40 to go, Marchand skates it into the zone and wide before centering to Bergeron, who fires a hard, low shot, and Pastrnak attracts attention in the crease. In the mayhem, Coreau sticks to his left post while the puck trickles out to his right, and Marchand circled the net to find a tap-in opportunity. 3-3, tie game.

The chippiness continued, with Kevan Miller and Riley Sheahan exchange heavy hits. Killer attempted to make Sheahan answer for his, but he declined, and probably for the best, since both hits were pretty legal (and, y’know, Killer will mash your face). Krug gets Athanasiou’s stick tied up in his arms, so Athanasiou lets go; on their way out of the zone, Athanasiou gives Krug a bear hug and the refs call penalties on both players - holding on Athanasiou, and a questionable embellishment call on Krug. 4-on-4 yields nothing, and with a several awesome, game-saving stops by Tuukka while outnumbered below the hashmarks kept this one tied through the end of regulation.

Heeeere we go again!

Overtime

The extra frame starts with Krug, Krejci and Pasta vs Helm, Abdelkader and DeKeyser; Krejci gets a near-breakaway right off the drop due to poor puck control by Detroit off the faceoff, but no such luck. Krug pulled way back on the speed in the neutral zone so his forwards could gain speed, backing off the defense and giving themselves room to pass. Tuukka made two great saves on high shots to keep this one tied, and Spooner very nearly repeated his heroics from a few weeks ago with a deke around Coreau, but couldn’t tuck it home. In the final minute, with a similar slowed pace from the D and a fast attack from the forwards, Krejci drove the puck deep to the left of Coreau before whizzing a pass to Pastrnak in the right circle. Pastrnak wound up with weeks of tension and fired a hard one-timer to beat Coreau, ending the Bruins losing streak and his scoring slump. 4-3, final score.

Game Notes

In his postgame presser, coach Claude Julien referenced several actions of players during this game, such as Spooner’s position on the power play for the Bruins’ second goal, at the front of the net, as an example of his players taking new steps to turn a page on their recent woes. “When was the last time anybody saw Spoons in front of the net on the power play?”, he quipped. He also covered Jimmy Hayes’ return to the lineup, remarking that while he’s been scratched, the entire team has been pulling for Large Jim after coming into the season in top shape, and he did have a relatively even game. He also remarked (for the umpteenth time this season, it seems) that while few bounces go their way, every miscue in the defensive zone led to a goal or a strong scoring chance for Detroit.

There’s plenty of reasons for optimism here - after all, the Bruins played a strong first and third period, scoring first and last in regulation before notching the winner in overtime - and it seems that players are starting to lean the right way. Sure, the second period was weak, but it’s much more plausible to turn a 40-minute effort into 60. Putting the Pittsburgh game in the rear-view should be easier with this win under their belts.