The Bruins recovered from a tough loss in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals by putting up the offense they couldn’t find on Friday, beating the Red Wings in Game 2 by a score of 4-1.
Tuukka Rask was very strong in net for the B’s, allowing just one goal on the 35 shots he saw. Jimmy Howard was less than spectacular for the Red Wings, giving up four scores on 29 Bruin shots.
"We knew that first game we didn’t play our best," Zdeno Chara said after the game. "We wanted to make sure that we were better today, and I think we were. So we’ve just got to, again, continue to do the things that we do well and keep improving and adjusting. "
"We knew we could have been better than we were last game," Shawn Thornton said. "We talked about it; I think that [the] guys did a good job of bringing that energy today."
The Bruins, clearly frustrated at their 1-0 Game 1 loss, came out swarming in the first period of Game 2. Though it took them over seven minutes to record their first shot, the Bruins controlled the flow of action for the first half of the period.
Their early energy was rewarded 7:28 into the first, when Justin Florek intercepted a bad clearing attempt by Jimmy Howard and threw the puck into the empty Detroit net for the Bruins' first goal of these playoffs.
The B’s doubled their lead three minutes later, when two Detroit penalties in 1:49 gave the Bruins almost four straight minutes of 5-on-4, capitalizing with 9:25 to play in the period as Reilly Smith jammed the puck home during a battle in front of the Red Wings’ net.
"We don’t get too many power plays, so it was good to be able to get them and be able to capitalize early," Smith said. "Even when Detroit gets down they don’t really change their structure. So the biggest thing for us is not to change our game. If we’re up a couple goals, you know, don’t sit back, keep on pushing the pace.
"When you get shut out the game before, it’s obviously going to be one of the biggest things you’re focusing on is getting to the crease and making it difficult on them. So it paid off for us and it paid off early, and I think that changed the outcome of the game."
The Bruins didn’t let the Red Wings get any momentum for the rest of the period, keeping the physicality up and didn’t give Detroit any space.
Pandemonium ensued with just 1:12 to play in the first, as there was a pig pile of Boston and Detroit players in the Red Wings’ crease, resulting in every player on the ice getting involved. Four players were given minor penalties for the scrum: Detroit’s Tomas Tatar and Danny Dekeyser, and Boston’s Brad Marchand and Dougie Hamilton.
As the horn sounded to end the period, more fireworks erupted behind the Bruins’ net, and Brendan Smith decided to pick a fight out in front with Chara, a decision that Smith would immediately regret. As Chara dropped his stick and was ready to go, Smith’s gloves remained on his hands as he skated back to the bench. Both players were assessed roughing penalties that would begin at the start of the second period.
"[Chara] wouldn’t be the first guy I’d choose in the NHL to go against," Reilly Smith said of his brother challenging Chara. "[Brendan] should probably think twice next time."
The Bruins seemed to get low on gas in the second, as the Red Wings stormed back to get themselves in the game, aided by three straight Bruins penalties in a span of 10:11.
Detroit didn’t score on any of their 5-on-4 advantages, but they did cut the Bruin lead to one, as a shot from Darren Helm bounce off a Bruin player in the crease, then off of the body of Luke Glendening, and into the net.
Although Detroit ended up controlling most of the period, the Bruins got their two-goal lead back with just over a minute to play when Jarome Iginla and Milan Lucic put on some fancy tic-tac-toe passing through the Red Wings zone and Lucic found the back of the net to make it 3-1 Bruins going into the second intermission.
The Bruins came out of the break knowing they needed to keep up the intensity, and they got it 17 seconds into a penalty on Kyle Quincy, when Chara scored on a rebound in front of Howard to make it 4-1 just 2:27 into the third.
The Bruins mostly played defense for the rest of the night, as Detroit got some solid scoring chances, but weren’t able to get anything by Rask and the Bruins made sure that there would be at least one more game in Boston this season.
"[In] Game 1, I think both teams played pretty solid defense," Rask said. "Today again, we crashed the net a lot and got rewarded... Once we got that 4-1 lead, we kind of let up a little bit and gave them that speed and some chances. For the most part, I think our defense has been tremendous throughout these two games."
The series now shifts to Detroit, with Game 3 scheduled for Tuesday at the Joe Louis Arena.