Boston Bruins vs. Detroit Red Wings - 4/20/14
Detroit Red Wings (39-28-15) at Boston Bruins (54-19-9)
NHL Hockey: Sunday, April 20, 2014 at 3:00 pm (TD Garden)
The Line: Boston Bruins / Detroit Red Wings --- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds
It wasn't the outcome a lot of people expected on Friday night but anyone who has watched these two teams play during the regular season knew that the Detroit Red Wings were going to give the Boston Bruins fits in this series. Detroit won three of the four regular season meetings between these two clubs and they took Game 1 in dramatic fashion on Friday night with a late third period goal that gave them a 1-0 win. Boston thrives on chaos and their ability to use their physicality to take their opponents off their games. In this game however it looked like it was the Bruins who were taken off their game because of their inability to get Detroit to engage in what they want to do. The Red Wings are a finesse, puck possession, skating team that uses those attributes well against a bigger and stronger Boston club. Milan Lucic showed Boston's frustration in this one when he speared Detroit's Danny DeKeyser between the legs, but no penalty was called on the play. Jimmy Howard was extremely solid in goal in this one but both teams did a very good job at limiting the amount of opportunities for the opposition. Howard made some key saves when needed most and late in the third period his stop on Lucic led to the Red Wings converting on the other end. After Howard's save the puck trickled just wide of the far post and on the other end if was Pavel Datsyuk showing us once again why he's one of the most amazing players to watch in the game of hockey. Datsyuk made a beautiful play getting the puck up to himself and after beating Zdeno Chara to the middle of the ice his wrist shot got by Tuukka Rask to give the Red Wings the 1-0 lead with just over three minutes remaining in regulation. There were a lot of injuries effecting the Bruins on Friday night with Chris Kelly, Kevan Miller, Matt Bartkowski, and Daniel Paille all missing the opener of the series. Still, there were far too many passengers in the lineup for Boston and that has to change on Sunday afternoon. Loui Eriksson looked really good at times and Rask did his part until missing the puck with his catching glove on Datsyuk's game winner. It was a fascinating hockey game to watch and this should lead to a phenomenal opening round series. Boston is clearly the best team in the Eastern Conference, but this has to be the worst possible match up for them given the other possibilities they had lined up. A first round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets or Philadelphia Flyers likely would have been a cake walk for this club. Those are the types of teams that the Bruins can intimidate and get to play their style of game. Detroit isn't going to change the way they go about their business. The Red Wings aren't going to retaliate and they aren't going to get suckered into playing a chippy game. Boston needs to let that sort of stuff come naturally and quit trying to force it on an opponent that isn't willing to engage.
This series is going to be a lot of fun moving forward and Detroit managing to win the opener makes it that much more appealing. If the Red Wings could ever win Game 2 on the road it would be even more interesting. The Bruins always seem to up their level of play when needed so expect to see the look of a desperate hockey club in this one. Getting some of those injured players back would really help because Boston rolls four lines and is used to getting contributions from up and down the lineup. The Bruins need to find a way to use their size and strength in order to take advantage of a smaller Detroit group. Boston should be looking to put more pucks deep and generate a forecheck but if Detroit can continue to neutralize that with their speed and transition game then this could be another frustrating game for the home ream. It's hard to picture the Bruins dropping the first two on home ice however.
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