NHL Eastern Conference Playoffs First Round - Game 2: Bruins 4, Red Wings 1
BOSTON (DETROIT FREE PRESS) -- The Bruins struck back, leaving the Detroit Red Wings black and blue and all tied up.
The Wings were run aground in Game 2, undone by gaffes, undermined by tempers and bad defense and an inept power play. The Wings left TD Garden today tarnished by a 4-1 loss that left the first-round series locked, 1-1.
Game 3 is Tuesday in Detroit, and Game 4, also at Joe Louis Arena, is Thursday. Game 5 is Saturday back in Boston.
Jimmy Howard, fresh off a shutout Friday, made an early error, and then wasn't helped as teammates let Bruins run right through them. The Bruins left several Wings with bumps and bruises, scoring bit hits when they weren't scoring goals.
Darren Helm and Luke Glendening paired up to halve Boston's lead in the second period, but a late goal from Game 1 groin-spearer Milan Lucic forced the Wings to play with a two-goal deficit by the time the third period began. Zdeno Chara made it 4-1 when he poked in Jarome Iginla's rebound during a power play early in the third period.
Howard was pulled with 3:08 to go in regulation, and caught a break when an empty-net goal was called off because Lucic was off-sides.
A harbinger of just how poorly the game went came in the form of an early power play that saw the Wings spend maybe 10 seconds in Boston's zone, otherwise chasing the puck for one failed entry after another. Then came the gaffe of the game: Howard skated way out of his crease to play the puck, intending a pass for Brendan Smith that instead went off Smith and straight to Justin Florek, whose shot sailed past Howard's outstretched right leg and deep into Detroit's net.
The Wings proceeded to do exactly what they'd talked about avoiding: Not giving the Bruins power play time. They gifted them 21 seconds with two extra skaters, and gave up a goal during 5-on-4 play, when Reilly Smith strode into the crease to sweep a loose puck into the net for a 2-0 lead barely halfway through the first period.
The period ended with Chara laughing in Brendan Smith's face as Smith half-heartedly jostled with him, keeping gloves on and stick in hand.
It wasn't until late in the second period the Wings had anything to smile about, but with just a touch more than 6 minutes to go, Helm sped up the right side and fired a shot on net, where Glendening -- another speedster -- had set up in front of Tuukka Rask. Helm's shot ended up going in off Glendening, injecting life into the Wings with plenty of hockey left to have a chance at evening the game.
Only that takes playing tight defense, and the Wings flunked at that minutes later, when Lucic, at that point best known in the series for spearing Danny DeKeyser in the groin, skated straight through a trio of defenders and sent a shot in off Howard's stick to restore Boston's two-goal advantage with just under 2 minutes to go in the second period. It wasn't spearing, but it dealt a harder blow to the Wings.
Contact Helene St. James: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames.