Boston traveled to Little Caesars Arena Wednesday night to take on the Detroit Red Wings in the first of four meetings between the two Atlantic Division rivals. The Red Wings were losers in nine of their last ten games, dropping their most recent decision 2-1 in overtime to the Florida Panthers. The Bruins, meanwhile, won eight of their last ten heading into the Original Six matchup, coming off a three-day break after a 3-1 win over the New York Islanders on Saturday. Winger David Pastrnak took an eight-game point streak into the night that has seen him record four goals and six assists.
The first 20 minutes came and went with relatively little fanfare. Detroit outshot Boston 9-2, putting a couple shots on goaltender Tuukka Rask from the periphery when they were awarded a powerplay in the final two minutes of the period. The Red Wings won 55% of faceoffs.
Both teams seemed to pick up the pace entering the second period. Darren Helm was called for hooking 4:04 in on David Pastrnak. While the Bruins failed to score on the powerplay, they were able to maintain possession of the puck in the Red Wings end, generating quality scoring opportunities.
Patrice Bergeron would take a tripping call 9:02 into the period. Just 13 seconds into the ensuing powerplay, Tomas Tatar fired a shot from the left circle past Rask, who was screened in front by Red Wings winger Justin Abdelkader.
Boston would again shift the momentum towards the Detroit end after the penalty to Krug expired. Despite a couple close chances, including a spin-around shot from Jake DeBrusk at the top of the hash marks, the Bruins would fail to tie the game in the second frame.
The score remained 1-0 after two periods. Both teams registered 14 shots each in the period, with Detroit again taking the edge in faceoffs with 55.3%.
Boston would break through to tie the game just 3:02 into the period when Noel Acciari tossed home a loose puck off a scrum in font of the Detroit net.
It wouldn’t take long for the man who made the tying goal possible to find the back of the net himself. Only 35 seconds into overtime, Marchand accelerated into a partial breakaway where he faked right on Howard, nearly at the goal line on the side of the net, before he lifted the puck top-shelf on the Red Wing netminder to solidify the win.
The only shot in the period would be the one that won the game. Detroit outshot Boston 33-32 in total. Each team recorded 25 hits. The Bruins did not cash in on any of their three powerplay opportunities while the Red Wings managed one PP goal out of three attempts themselves.
Next Game: Thursday, December 14, vs. the Washington Capitals 7pm EST at TD Garden.
By all means the first period was a snooze on both sides of the ice. The two teams combined for 11 shots in the first 20 minutes, but in reality it felt as though there were far fewer chances than that. The Bruins seemed to be skating down to the Red Wings slower pace, the pace that has allowed Detroit to lose their last nine of ten heading into the night.
While it looked as though Boston was on the verge of giving up two points in regulation to a team that is essentially heading in the polar-opposite direction in the standings, the B’s stars appeared with just enough time to save the day. Brad Marchand made an unreal pass to find David Pastrnak cross-ice to tie the game. Marchand continued his excellence into overtime where he put on a show with a goal surely to be featured across the NHL’s social media platforms within the next 24 hours.
Boston heads on a plane ride home to face the Washington Capitals Thursday night. If the Bruins hope to extend their winning streak to four, they won’t be able to get away with another sluggish first period, and really second period, start against a Capitals team that is fighting for first place in the highly-competitive Metropolitan Division.