BOSTON, Ma. (Detroit Free Press) — Pavel Datsyuk showed off a little of the magic that gives opponents nightmares and makes teammates smile.
Datsyuk pulled the puck unto his stick, eyed Boston's net and fired between the legs of Milan Lucic to give the Detroit Red Wings a 1-0 victory Friday at TD Garden in Game 1 of the best-of-7 series.
Just like that, the Wings have home-ice advantage on the Presidents' Trophy-winning Boston Bruins. It was Datsyuk with the scorer's touch, and Jimmy Howard with the savior's touch, making 25 saves to hold at bay a team that rolls four lines capable of causing a goaltender headaches.
The Wings opened a scoreless third period with a flurry that saw Helm bookend shots around one by Jakub Kindl, with Tuuka Rask making a kick save with his right leg on Helm's rebound attempt. A penalty kill arose soon after, Detroit's first of the game, and Jimmy Howard continued a strong stretch to support his teammates, making a sprawling save on Carl Soderberg. Howard delivered another superb sequence of saves as regulation neared the end, making a big stop on Andrej Meszaros.
Datsyuk scored with three minutes to go, getting the puck from Johan Franzen and shooting through Lucic and Rask.
The road team usually considers the first 10 minutes of a playoff game a storm to weather; the Wings did more than this, challenging the Bruins from the opening shifts. Tomas Tatar fired the opening shot, snapping a puck at Rask to announce the Wings' intent to stand their ground. Howard got warmed up quickly, too, as the Bruins swarmed around him forcing acrobatic moves.
A power play came Detroit's way late in the period, after big Zdeno Chara smushed Brendan Smith into the boards like a bug on a windshield. The second unit, helmed by Pavel Datsyuk, go the puck down low on Rask and then got another chance thanks to Niklas Kronwall getting his stick on the blue just before it edged across the blue line. The result after 20 minutes was a period the Wings could feel good about, as they held an 11-9 advantage in shots.
The Bruins responded with a dominating first few shifts of the second period, but the Wings soon were back testing Rask. Neither goaltender saw as many shots the first half of this period, but Howard had a hairy little stretch when Gregory Campbell threw the puck on net and Corey Potter tried for a wrap-around. The period ended with the opponents having drawn even in shots, and Milan Lucic registering one unpenalized cheap shot when he put his stick between Danny DeKeyser's legs and tugged straight to where it'd hurt.