For the teams on the ice it was just business as usual, but for fans of the game, it was a new experience as the Bruins faced the Red Wings on Saturday night. NHL fans have gotten comfortable with the Red Wings dominating the west, but with realignment, this season pegs them as Boston’s Atlantic Division rivals.
After facing each other twice during pre-season, the teams will play two games against each other this month alone. Both teams pegged as ones to watch season in and out with a lengthy list of prospects, it’s no wonder the expectations were high for their first regular season meeting and neither disappointed.
Coming off a Thursday opening night win, Boston used the same successful line combinations, Rask was again between the pipes for Boston, with Howard at the opposing end.
The first period showcased opportunity at both ends of the ice, but it was Boston’s young defensemen Krug who netted the first goal of the game, a power play at 9:11 assisted by Lucic and Krejci. Krug, a Michigan native had grown up on Red Wings hockey, being able to gain his first goal of the season against them is a memorable experience.
“Yeah it’s pretty cool,” Krug said post-game. “Watching them have all of this success that they have growing up and it’s just pretty cool watching them and I watch all of these guys that are still on the team watching them and Jimmy Howard and all these guys so it’s pretty cool scoring a goal against him.”
With the first skating on, an offensive rush from Red Wings Zetterberg resulted in a goal at 16:49 assisted by Datsyuk and Abdelkader, the goal was marked as the 265th of his career, passing Nicklas Lidstom (264) and tying him with John Ogrodnick for eight place on Detroit’s all-time goal list.
The Bruins started the second period on the right skate, putting the puck past Howard just 36 seconds in. The goal was Marchand’s first of the season, assisted by Boychuk. A scary moment followed minutes later when Marchand was hit from behind by Datsyuk, although no call was made, Marchand laid on the ice and skated slowly off and to the room following the hit. Fans had little time to worry as he returned to the bench prior to the halfway mark.
Robbed of a goal on Thursday night, Bruins Caron righted the ship, putting his team up 3-1 at 7:58, netting the assists, McQuaid and Smith. The score remained 3-1 heading into the third. Caron has found himself struggling throughout the past few seasons with an inconsistency pointed at a variety of factors. With a roster slot finally available, he’s making the most of his opportunity and it isn’t going unnoticed.
“Yeah, he played well tonight,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said of Caron. “Again, that’s two games in a row where he’s played well and with a little bit of a break he’d be leading us with a couple of goals by now.”
It was a night where the power play clicked and benefited Boston. Bruins captain Zdeno Chara put the final score at 4-1 at the 12;17 mark of the third period, coming off a goal in the first period, young defenseman Krug assisted alongside Lucic who nabbed his second assist of the night.
“Detroit is one of the best teams in the league and I knew it would be a challenge, they always give you a challenge, they’ve always had a good team, good system and they’re very dangerous guys,” said Chara. “So, yeah we wanted to have a strong game and for the most part I thought we did.”
The Bruins will look to keep the momentum going, but will have to wait until this coming Thursday to do it. The team doesn’t play until they host the Colorado Avalanche later this week.
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