Jonas Gustavsson was thrown into the net at the last second this morning before the Detroit Red Wings took on the Boston Bruins. Jimmy Howard sat the contest out due to a bruised hand he got from blocking a shot on Saturday night when the Wings defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 5-2. Howard was expected to be able to make the start but decided at the last minute that he wasn’t quite ready to go. Howard should be back and ready to go for the next Wings game Tuesday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Bruins were able to test Gustavsson early and often in the first period, but he remained solid, looking confident and comfortable in net. Not something that Wings fans are used to seeing from Gustavsson in net. The Red Wings struck first when Pavel Datsyuk created a little bit of Datsyukian magic coming into the zone, and dished a pass across the top of the crease to Henrik Zetterberg who netted his fifth goal of the season.
The Bruins didn’t waste any time in answering back, when Loui Eriksson redirected a shot from the point from Jhonny Boychuk through the legs of Gustavsson. The two rivals in the making went into the first intermission tied at one a piece, both playing good hockey and not giving up anything to the other team.
The second period was more of the same from both teams, except the Wings were able to pull away from the Bruins a bit. The first goal came from Stephen Weiss, who scored his second of the season from Johan Franzen and Brian Lashoff who is playing in his second game of the season. The Wings struck again a little over two minutes later, when Joakim Andersson fed Dan Cleary with a pass from behind the net, and Cleary made no mistake of putting it in the back of the net past Tuukka Rask. Daniel Alfredsson notched his fifth assist on the season on Cleary’s goal, making it his fourth in the last two games after having a less than mediocre game against Phoenix Thursday night.
Through two periods, the Wings were able to block 13 shots, keeping the puck from getting on net, and helping out Gustavsson who hasn’t played since the preseason when he left with a groin injury. Shots were nearly even after 20-19 in favor of Boston. Detroit’s penalty kill looked good, and it seemed like they had found an answer on how to stop big man Zdeno Chara in front of the net on the powerplay.
The Wings controlled the play of the third out of the gate, putting pressure on the Bruins defense and getting pucks on Rask. The momentum shifted when Kronwall took a penalty, and six seconds into the Boston powerplay, Cleary was called for tripping. Boston put plenty of pressure on Detroit on the five on three, but they were unable to score making it their fourth empty powerplay of the game.
The Bruins were unable to take advantage of five powerplays the Wings gave them throughout the game, including the huge five on three kill for the Wings in the third. Boston was able to bring the game back to within one with a little over a minute left in the game, when the puck bounced back out front to Milan Lucic who roofed it. Rask hit the bench for the remainder of the game, but the Bruins were unable to tie it up, and the Red Wings took the 3-2 victory.
The Red Wings looked much better than they did the last time they were in Boston last Saturday. With a little rest, the Wings were able to keep up with the Bruins in a tightly matched game. The Wings blocked a total of 22 shots throughout the game. Gustavsson played well stopping 28 of 30 shots. Rask stopped 24 of 27.
The story of the game was the level of play from Pavel Datsyuk. We all know what Datsyuk is capable of night in and night out, but every few games, he plays exceptional. Today was one of the days, he made multiple difficult passes tape to tape, and back-checked exceptionally well. Datsyuk’s excellent play earned him the second star of the contest. Gustavsson was awarded the first star, and Zetterberg was given the third star of the game.
The Bruins are back in action Thursday in Florida, and the Red Wings will take on the Columbus Blue Jackets in Detroit Tuesday night.
Topics: Boston Bruins, Brian Lashoff, Dan Cleary, Daniel Alfredsson, Detroit Red Wings, Henrik Zetterberg, Jimmy Howard, Joakim Andersson, Johan Franzen, Jonas Gustavsson, Loui Eriksson, Milan Lucic, Pavel Datsyuk, Stephen Weiss, Tuukka Rask, Zdeno Chara