The Detroit Red Wings did something on Monday afternoon that their baseball neighbors could not do the night before: stop a Boston sports team from making another improbable comeback.
Milan Lucic scored with 1:20 left in the third period to get the Bruins within a goal, but the Bruins could not find any more magic to score an equalizer and lost to the Red Wings, 3-2.
Jonas Gustavsson, who was a late addition to the Detroit starting lineup due to an injury to goalie Jimmy Howard in warm-ups, had 28 saves to notch his first win of the season. Tuukka Rask (3-2-0) made 24 saves for the Bruins. It was the first time this season that Rask had given up more than one goal in a game.
Detroit got the scoring started in this early matinee at the 11:33 mark in the first period. Pavel Datsyuk skated past both Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk, threading the needle to Henrik Zetterberg, who was able to beat Rask with a beautiful shot from a bad angle to the left of the goalie. That was the fifth goal on the season for Zetterberg, who scored the only goal for Detroit during the first meeting on the season with Boston, a 4-1 win for the B's on October 5th.
Boston was able to tie the game just over three minutes later, as Loui Eriksson scored on a deflection. Johnny Boychuk took a quick wrist shot from the right point, which careened off of Eriksson and found its way by Gustavsson. The goal was a direct result of an extended period of pressure from the Bruins' second line, with Patrice Bergeron and new addition Reilly Smith (who received an assist on the goal) applying pressure and keeping the puck in the offensive zone. Smith replaced Brad Marchand on the second line late in Saturday's game against the Blue Jackets, and coach Claude Julien kept his lines the same during the entire game today.
Boston had some solid chances both at the end of the first period and at the beginning of the second period. Torey Krug hit the post on a power play late in the first, with both Chara and Milan Lucic jamming at the net creating traffic for the shot. Gustavsson made a huge save early in the second period on a one-timer from Jarome Iginla to keep the game tied at 1-1.
Detroit scored two goals within a 2:20 span in the second period to take a 3-1 lead. Johan Franzen made a beautiful cross-ice pass to Stephen Weiss, who was able to beat Rask from close range for his second goal of the early season to make it 2-1. Dan Cleary gave the Wings a two goal lead on a feed from behind the net from Daniel Alfredsson. Cleary crashed the net and was able to score on a quick one-timer for the eventual game-winning goal.
The Bruins had their share of chances again at the end of the period, with both Torey Krug and Dennis Seidenberg having great chances stopped by both the Wings goalie and their aggressive shot-blocking.
Boston was able to draw two penalties on the Red Wings in the third period, giving them a 5-on-3 power play for 1:53 at the five-minute mark. The power play looked crisp, garnering multiple open looks for Iginla, Chara, Bergeron, and David Krejci, but they could not find the back of the net.
The Bruins made it interesting with 1:20 left, when Milan Lucic scored his 100th career goal to draw the B's within a goal. The Bruins had their chances during the last minute of the game, but could not match the comeback efforts of the Patriots and the Red Sox from last night.
The loss is the Bruins' second in its last three games, and puts them tied for third in the newly-formed Atlantic Division, trailing the Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Next up for Boston is a road tilt on Thursday night with the Florida Panthers, matching them up with their former goaltender and Stanley Cup star Tim Thomas. Detroit plays the Blue Jackets tomorrow night, who the Bruins defeated 3-1 on Saturday afternoon.