The Detroit Red Wings rolled into 2024 with a bang. It's not exactly the bang you'd want after suffering a 5-3 loss at the hands of the Bruins at home on New Year's Eve, but it's not a bang nonetheless. Despite losing the top team in the Atlantic Division, the Detroit Red Wings proved they will not be pushed around. It was a physical affair on Sunday evening, and at least half the time, Detroit elected to start the pushing, shoving, and face-washing following the whistle. Boston tried to set the tone early on in the game but quickly realized it would be matched throughout the contest. Two Boston empty net goals make the score look a bit more lopsided than it really was; this game was 2-2 into the third period and then 3-2 Boston for most of it.
The one player who really stood out in this regard was defenseman Ben Chiarot. Chiarot has been known to play with a bit of an edge throughout his career, but I would refrain from calling him your prototypical 'tough guy.' There was an unmistakable burr on Chiarot's bottom Sunday, and it was great to see. It proved he's willing to stand up for himself and his teammates when things start to get physical, and that was put to the test against the Bruins. He also scored his third goal of the season.
In one of the many post-whistle scrums, this one early on in the contest, Chiarot and Boston forward Morgan Geekie got tangled up. Geekie was on the worst end of it, taking a few punches to the face. Geekie received two minutes for roughing, and Chiarot also got a double-minor. As they rarely do, the officials let the rough stuff go for most of the night. When so many skirmishes occur, usually the officials, especially these days, try to get out in front of it and govern things by taking one out of each pile-up. Chiarot has really rebounded this season from a horrible first year with the organization. He's averaged 19:36 per game this year and has totaled three goals and ten points through 37 games while maintaining a plus-1 rating.
The Detroit Red Wings matched Boston's physicality but fell short 5-3 to end 2023.
Following the game, Chiarot spoke about Sunday being a missed opportunity before the club heads out on their west coast trip to begin the new year.
""It's frustrating for sure, especially coming off last game," Ben Chiarot said after Sunday's 5-3 loss to the Atlantic-leading Boston Bruins at Little Caesars Arena. "We were looking to build some momentum going into a long road trip.
"I think heading out on the road will be good for us, get the team together and look to build momentum out in California."That's part of the maturation of a team, especially a young team," Chiarot said. "Winning those tight games, knowing how to hold a lead, those are things that we are working on here. It takes time to know and be comfortable on how to play those games and that's something we're figuring out still.""
The Detroit Red Wings, in particular, don't mind seeing the year change to 2024 and the month of December end. They ended the month with an awful 3-9-1 stretch, seeing their robust start to the season all but evaporate. During this horrendous stretch, Derek Lalonde's squad saw far too many defensive lapses, missed assignments, spotty offense, and awful goaltending, a recipe for disaster.
The Detroit Red Wings will square off with the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday, the Kings on Thursday, and the Ducks on Sunday.