The Detroit Red Wings are a skilled and fast team. They are certainly not your average eight seed in a Stanley Cup bracket. If they are allowed to play their strengths, they can be devastating. When you add the incredible skill set of Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, Bruins fans knew this was not going to be a cake walk.
The Red Wings were allowed to play to their strengths in game one, and the Red Wings squeaked by with a fantastic Datsyukian goal. After that first game, the Bruins knew they had to double down on their style of play. In these last two games, the Black and Gold have done exactly that. The Bruins tied up the series at home with a 4-1 win, and they earned their first win in nearly a decade in Joe Louis Arena tonight. The Bruins continued to make adjustments to counteract Detroit (and a big reason of the win tonight was Detroit not doing the same), and it gave them a surprisingly easy win tonight.
When it comes to special teams, the B’s are strongly out-performing the Red Wings. The Bruins are three for eight on the power play. They are nine for nine on the penalty kill, including a thirty five second period of being two men down. The Bruins aren’t afraid to block shots when they need to. Odd man rushes came frequently for Boston. There were none for Detroit in this game.
Dougie Hamilton and Jordan Caron earned their first playoff goals of the season tonight. Hamilton had been a healthy scratch in and out on the back half of the season, and you weren’t sure how he was going to do. As for Jordan Caron, some of us are surprised he’s still in Boston. Both players silenced critics by playing fantastically tonight. They have done very well in this series to date. I’ll give it to the Bruins organization, they had more faith in Caron than a lot of us did, and that faith is being rewarded with some of his best play ever in a Boston uniform. Hamilton earned third star honors tonight, and I was a little surprised that honor did go to Caron. (Patrice Bergeron‘s two point game with the third period empty netter earned him the Second Star.)
The Bruins forced the Red Wings to work for every opportunity, and many of those opportunities weren’t quality ones for Detroit. When the Red Wings were able to get a few decent ones off, the Bruins defensemen and their Finnish wall were there to shut them down. Tuukka Rask is getting a lot of great looks on the puck, and that is cutting down the second chances for Detroit. He’s only allowed two goals on eighty four shots in the first three games (that’s an obscene .976 save percentage and a 0.67 goals against average). He easily earned the first star honors tonight.
Now, if we can just get Brad Marchand to grab the proper knee after over selling a legitimate tripping call.