A little more than halfway through the third period of Game 3 between the Detroit Red Wings and the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night, announcer Mike Emrick mused, “It’s 2-0, but it feels like more than 2-0, doesn’t it?”
Doc wasn’t asking that question rhetorically, but he might as well have been. If not for the efforts of Jimmy Howard and some timely goalpost intervention, it would have been worse. The Red Wings looked hapless at home, and even taking a page out of the Patrick Roy playbook by pulling Howard with 2:56 left didn’t help. Patrice Bergeron scored an empty netter to help Tuukka Rask seal up the shutout, and the Bruins regained home ice advantage in the series with a 3-0 victory at Joe Louis Arena.
Detroit showed a little spark in the game’s opening minutes with defensemen jumping up to join the attack, but it was a short-lived burst of hope in an otherwsie dismal game. Boston’s Dougie Hamilton was everywhere, and while he rang one off the metal early, he found the back of the net exactly nine minutes in by simply skating from center ice to the right circle and blazing a high shot over Howard’s left shoulder.
While the Red Wings were struggling to even get shots on goal, the Bruins were preparing to strike again. They took advantage of a bad line change to send Shawn Thornton in on a partial breakaway, and the rebound left by Howard was easily converted by a freshly arriving Jordan Caron to make it 2-0 Boston at 15:48 of the first period.
Thanks to serious commitment to shot-blocking and stellar work by Rask, the visitors wouldn’t need any more offense. The Red Wings got a golden opportunity to climb back into the game with 35 seconds of 5-on-3 time halfway through the second period, but the Bruins’ penalty kill was equal to the task. Detroit was 0-for-3 on the night on the power play and fell to 0-for-9 on the series.
Rask made several key stops to close out the middle frame, but he saved his best work for last. He used his glove to rob Justin Abdelkader on a great rebound chance early in the third period, and his right pad was up to the challenge late when Pavel Datsyuk tried to work his magic with his backhand. Rask made 29 saves on the night, dropping his goals against average below 1.00 for the playoffs.
Obviously, the Red Wings will need to change that to have any hope of recovering from two straight defeats. Of the eight forwards to score at least 10 goals during the regular season, only Datsyuk has managed to tally against the Bruins. It would be ideal if young guns Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar would get going, but offense from anywhere is all that matters right now.
Otherwise, it’s not hard to imagine Emrick echoing similar thoughts down the stretch in Game 4 on Friday night.
The game was over when …
Some mental errors helped the visitors to their 2-0 lead. The first came when no one stepped up on Hamilton, and the second was the horrible line change that led to the second goal. The Red Wings recovered to play the Bruins more evenly (though not completely even by any means) after the first period, but the damage was already too severe. Boston is too good a team to help in any way.
The unsung Red Wings hero was …
It’s tough to single anyone out in a 3-0 whitewash, but Kyle Quincey acquitted himself well. He shot the puck when necessary, led the defense corps in hits and blocked shots and wasn’t on the ice for any of the Boston goals.