Make no mistake about it, this was not a pretty win. It started out looking like it might be, when Torey Krug got the Boston Bruins on the board just 37 seconds into the game, followed 15 seconds later by Jake DeBrusk giving Boston a two-goal lead. However, that is where the pretty ended. Before eight minutes had ticked off the clock, the Detroit Red Wings had tied the game. For Detroit, the first one came six seconds into the Bruins first penalty, as Tommy Wingels went off on a slash. Their second one was an even-strength goal from Mike Green.
By the end of regulation both teams had notched five goals. For the Bruins, Krug had two goals and an assist for three points, David Pastrnak had three assists, and Brad Marchand had two goals and two assists. And the Bruins had managed to chase Jared Coreau from Detroit’s net 2:37 into the second period, requiring Jimmy Howard to close out the game and get the Red Wings a point out of everything.
For the Detroit, Anthony Mantha had two goals and two assists, Tyler Bertuzzi had two assists and Green added an assist to go along with that first period goal. That’s a lot of players having multi-point nights, perhaps indicating some defensive issues on both sides.
As the game went to overtime, it was Marchand who would get the Bruins the win, along with a hat trick and a five-point night for himself, while Krug would add another helper for a four-point night.
Patrice Bergeron is still healing from the fractures in his foot, sustained in blocking a shot about two weeks ago. Earlier on Tuesday, it was announced that Charlie McAvoy had sprained his left MCL just 37 seconds into Saturday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens and was currently expected be out a minimum of four weeks. Those are two important pieces in the Bruins tapestry and a bit of shifting of lines showed a few weaknesses.
In addition to the turnovers in the neutral zone, perhaps the biggest and most important area that Boston wants to address would be their lack of coverage in the slot. This is an area of their game that they have been strong, as was shown in the game against Montreal. However, Tuesday night’s game saw shots in the slot that got into the net as well as rebounds from Anton Khudobin right in the slot that the Red Wings capitalized on.
Of course, with an 82-game schedule in the regular season and still 18 games to go, it certainly isn’t time to push the panic button, and no one was in the locker room after the game. Marchand was honest in his assessment of the game pointing out that they hadn’t played their best on Tuesday night. The team did walk away with the two points though and as the season begins to wind down, that is the most important thing.
Perhaps the biggest positive that the team can take from the Detroit game, before turning their attention to Thursday’s match up against the Philadelphia Flyers, is the overall group effort when it comes to scoring. In looking at the Penguins game last Thursday, the Canadiens game on Saturday and the Red Wings game, the Bruins have 12 players with at least one point. David Krejci had a hat trick last Thursday. Newcomers Brian Gionta and Nick Holden each have three assists, while Rick Nash had a goal and an assist. DeBrusk had two goals and an assist for a three-game point streak. Pastrnak, Marchand and Krug were a combined 8 goals and 14 assists in those three games.
The Bruins currently sit in second place in their division, with three games in hand against the Tampa Bay Lightning, who sit in first place ahead by six points. The Toronto Maple Leafs are in third place five points behind the Bruins, but Boston has four games in hand on them. No other Atlantic Division team is even close to these three teams.
Boston will not practice on Wednesday, perhaps clearing their heads but learning from the mistakes they made on Tuesday. One would expect them to bring another push on Thursday against the Flyers, and given the last three games, who knows what the score will be.