Halifax, NS- On Thursday night, the Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings met in the first half of a two-game series. Unfortunately for the Black and Gold, they will have to win in Detroit on Friday to gain a split, as the Red Wings pulled away with a 4-3 victory at the Halifax Metro Centre.
Coming off of dramatic 3-2 shootout loss to Montreal on Wednesday, it was the Red Wings who had the early jump in this contest, and they had a lead to show for it less than five minutes in. The Boston defense turned the puck over in their own zone, allowing Cory Emmerton to pick up the loose puck. The Detroit forward wasn't in the prime scoring area, but still managed to sneak a shot through Tim Thomas' legs for the game's opening goal.
Midway through the period, the Bruins were able to tie the game on a goal from what could be considered an unlikely source. With two goals in 99 career NHL games, Jeremy Reich has been known more for his fists than his ability to put the puck in the net. However, with the talent at this year's training camp, Reich knows that he will have to be strong in all areas to make the NHL roster. With that in mind, the 29-year old grabbed a pass from a fellow teammate, and powered a one-timer past Chris Osgood to even the score. Martins Karsums and Martin St. Pierre registered the assists.
The tie lasted for less than two minutes, as Boston fell behind shortly after on a very tough bounce. Detroit cycled the puck back to Brett Lebda at the point. Lebda proceeded to take what appeared to be a harmless shot on goal. Thomas put his glove up to make the save, but Lebda's shot hit off the top of the mitt and over the goal line, giving the defending champs a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes of play.
The score stayed the same for most of the second period. With 10:53 remaining in the frame, the Red Wings made a switch between the pipes. Chris Osgood left after allowing one goal in his time, leaving the crease for Swedish netminder Daniel Larsson.
With time winding down in the second, the Bruins solved Detroit's new goaltender. Blake Wheeler sent Martins Karsums up the right side of the ice with a lead pass. Once in the offensive zone, Karsums wound up as if to fire a slap shot, but instead dished a pass over to Martin St. Pierre. With the defense caught out of position from the fake, St. Pierre calmly gathered in the pass and buried the equalizer. The two teams skated to the locker rooms knotted at two.
As evident by last season's Stanley Cup, the Detroit Red Wings are a very talented hockey team. Along with talent, one of the keys to winning is taking advantage of mistakes by the opposition. A little over halfway through the third period, the Wings did just that, and found themselves ahead because of it. With Boston on the power play, Aaron Ward did his best to keep the puck alive in the offensive zone. It just trickled out, and Henrik Zetterberg was off to the races. Zetterberg skated in alone on Thomas and scored by sliding in a shot on his forehand.
The Bruins could have taken the Detroit shorthanded tally as a setback, but this resilient bunch thought better of it. Andrew Ference took the puck at the point and put a shot on net. Larsson made the save, but PJ Axelsson was waiting for the rebound on the doorstep. Axelsson managed to get a shot off as he got hammered to the ice, and sure enough, it found the back of the net.
Although Boston had some momentum on their side, the Red Wings quickly gained it back by taking the lead yet again. Detroit created a screen in front of Thomas and the Boston net. Brad Stuart saw this, and the former Bruin went back to the basics by simply throwing a shot on the cage. It worked, as the red light went on, signaling a 4-3 lead for the team in red.
Time became an enemy for the Bruins as the third period went along, especially in the final three minutes. Defenseman Matt Lashoff was whistled for holding with 2:30 to go, meaning Boston wouldn't be at full strength until the 19:30 mark. To their credit, the Black and Gold put the pressure on, but Larsson and the Red Wings held on for the win.
Tim Thomas would probably like to have a few of the goals back from the game, but 36 saves isn't a bad way to kick off the preseason. Chris Osgood and Daniel Larsson split the time in Detroit's net with Osgood allowing one goal before Larsson let in two.
With Thursday night's game in the books, the Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings will fly to Michigan to continue their two-game series on Friday night. There will be a pair of practices in Nova Scotia during the morning with a 7:30 face-off scheduled at Joe Louis Arena.
Lineups won't be known until after the practices. A betting man would have to think that Manny Fernandez and Tuukka Rask will at least see some game action over the next two days, but we'll have to see what Claude Julien has in store. With Chris Osgood and Daniel Larsson having played Thursday, Detroit will likely shift back to Ty Conklin and Jimmy Howard.
1. DET Emmerton (1) (Unassisted) 4:11
1. BOS Reich (1) (Karsums, St. Pierre) 11:11
1. DET Lebda (1) (Emmerton, McGrath) 12:46
2. BOS St. Pierre (1) (Wheeler, Karsums) 19:06
3. DET Zetterberg (1) (Unassisted) (SH) 10:47
3. BOS Axelsson (1) (Ference) (PP) 11:28
3. DET Stuart (Unassisted) 12:23