Some lucky Bruins fans in Detroit had the joy of watching the their team pull off an improbable, comeback win over the Red Wings on Thursday night.
Through two periods, the Bruins looked more like a team tanking for Connor McDavid than one fighting for a playoff berth. It took 14 saves from Tuukka Rask to keep the Red Wings scoreless through 20 minutes, including an outstanding recovery after Zdeno Chara turned the puck over in front of the net.
Rask also made the necessary saves on the penalty kill in the first period.
Late in the first period, Chara was penalized for interference against Detroit’s Darren Helm. The penalty carried over into the second period.
In the final seconds of the penalty kill, Patrice Bergeron took a face-off in the defensive zone and was struck by Justin Abdelkader’s stick. No penalty was called on the play, but Bergeron left the game for the remainder of the period. Claude Julien told NESN after the game he estimated Bergeron had over 30 stitches.
After killing yet another penalty, the Bruins gave up a goal to Luke Glendening at the 9:19 mark of the second period to break the scoreless tie. It was his 12th goal of the year, assisted by Danny DeKeyser and Stephen Weiss.
Loui Eriksson had a chance to tie the game, but was stopped by Petr Mrazek’s skate.
The Bruins had another scoring chance from Brad Marchand thanks to a Chara pass from the defensive end. But Bruins failed to capitalize on the few opportunities they had in the first two periods.
Bergeron appeared on the ice for the beginning of the third period sporting a full face shield, but was called for a penalty just 58 seconds later.
The Red Wings scored on their fourth power play attempt to take a 2-0 lead at 2:52 of the third period. Stephen Weiss scored his ninth goal of the season from Riley Sheahan and Marek Zidlicky.
The Bruins got a power play opportunity of their own shortly after the Wings second goal and Carl Soderberg put the Bruins on the board with his 13th goal of the season. Reilly Smith and Brett Connolly assisted on the goal, which came at 7:19 of the third period.
Just over two minutes later, the Bruins tied the game when a Reilly Smith pass from below the goal line set up Loui Eriksson to get to a loose puck in front of the net. It was Eriksson’s 21st goal of the season at 7:19 of the period, from Smith and Soderberg.
The game was tied for about a minute when Marchand slashed Jonathan Ericsson between the legs.
The Bruins killed off the penalty, thanks to Rask for continuing to be solid in net. He made a total of 35 saves in the game.
With two minutes and eight seconds remaining in regulation, Zach Trotman scored his first career NHL goal at an opportune time. He attempted a shot from the point, which was blocked. Trotman recovered the puck and took it down the boards and towards the net, where he released a shot that found it’s way by Mrazek. It was a pivotal goal against a team the Bruins are now tied with in the division standings as they fight to stay in the playoff picture. Likely making the goal even more memorable for Trotman, he spent three years playing college hockey for Lake Superior State.
It was notable a debut for Brett Connolly, playing his first game as a Bruin after breaking his finger shortly after being traded from Tampa. He had two assists, including one on the game-winning goal from Trotman. The regulation win now has the Bruins tied with the Red Wings for third place in the Atlantic division, although Detroit has a game in hand on Boston, so they occupy the spot in the standings while the Bruins remain in the eighth and final playoff spot.