The Detroit Red Wings were unable to snap the Boston Bruins’ hex over them, losing 6-5 in overtime on Tuesday night…
But the Red Wings displayed a hell of a lot of pluck over the course of the second 30 minutes of play, and Detroit rallied from 2-0 and 4-2 deficits to ultimately tie the game at 5-5 halfway through the 3rd period.
To the victors go the spoils–and the good feelings, as you’ll eventually read–and the Bruins spoke proudly of their efforts, as the Patriot-Ledger’s Mike Loftus noted:
Brad Marchand, who went scoreless in the first two games he and winger David Pastrnak played without No. 1 center Patrice Bergeron (fractured foot), made up for lost time in extra time for the second straight game. After scoring Saturday’s overtime goal that beat the Canadiens, 2-1, Marchand did it again on Tuesday against the Wings, although in slightly more dramatic fashion: He also completed his third career hat trick with the decisive goal in a 6-5 triumph.
“There he is again,” coach Bruce Cassidy said of Marchand, who overtook Bergeron for the team goal-scoring lead by reaching 28 when he beat Jimmy Howard on Torey Krug’s rebound just 34 seconds into OT. “The puck finds him. He’s on it, doesn’t quit. He made some nice play tonight.”
Marchand, who has scored the Bruins’ last three OT winners and four of their five 3-on-3 goals this season (McAvoy has the other) added two assists to finish his fourth career five-point night, and got help from linemates Pastrnak (three assists) and Riley Nash (two helpers), who has moved up the lineup to fill in for Bergeron.
“It’s the whole group,” Marchand said after the B’s improved to 4-for-4 since Bergeron was forced out of the lineup. “We rely on everyone on this team. We’re very hard to defend against. When you’re able to rely on all the forwards and all the D to produce, it makes you a very dangerous team.”
That’s true, but wasn’t necessarily the case on Tuesday. The only other big night came from defenseman Torey Krug, who put up two goals and two assists in his first game with a new partner: Nick Holden moved to Krug’s right side, one of several moves Cassidy made to accommodate for the loss of Charlie McAvoy, the top-pairing rookie who sustained a sprained MCL on Saturday. McAvoy will miss at least four weeks.
The absence of defensive leaders like Bergeron and McAvoy was evident throughout the game. The Bruins let the Red Wings, one of the NHL’s weakest offensive teams, launch 35 shots at Anton Khudobin, who made his second straight start while No. 1 netminder Tuukka Rask nursed a minor injury.
The Wings came back all night, wiping out deficits of 0-2, 4-2 and 5-3, finally forcing overtime when Martin Frk put a shot off a diving David Krejci to tie it, 5-5,with 10:14 left in regulation.
Cassidy continued while speaking with SouthCoast Today’s Mick Colageo:
“I think there’s parts of it we would have (thrown away had we lost) … , but I liked our start, we were ready to go,” said Cassidy. “The whole first period, I thought we got loose a couple of times in the slot where we weren’t hard enough on pucks, but I like our third period in terms of what we were trying to accomplish, play winning hockey, close the game out without giving them much opportunity so those parts I liked. It was some of the stuff in between where we got loose. Some of it, as a coach, you understand and then the other part they’ll always be held accountable – never told that.
“We know there’s 82 of these and it’s hard to stay in the moment for 82 and focused, and not want to have a little offensive surge and trade chances, but … we’re trying to play to our identity as well. So we talked about it, and hopefully it doesn’t go in one ear and out the other. And we take it to heart, and build on it for our next game.”
Cassidy also made a comment about player development that might stick in your craw–or serve as inspirational talk regarding the Wings’ young bucks, as posted by the Boston Herald’s Steve Conroy:
“He was a dog on a bone, hardest-working guy in practice every day. Wanted to improve his shot. Worked on all of the offensive parts of his game,” Cassidy said. “Now, would we have predicted it would get this high? But I felt Brad would have success because he had that ‘I won’t be denied’ kind of mentality. It just depended how far he could creep up the lineup.”
WEEI’s Ty Anderson noted that the Bruins also received a 4-point night from Torey Krug, with Krug and Marchand proving to be a lethal combination on the power play:
Pacing all Boston shooters with six shots on net (and on a team-high eight attempts in total), Marchand came through with some tremendous movement on the Black and Gold power-play, which paved the way for Torey Krug’s first-period power-play tally, and helped Marchand bank a puck off and in against Jared Coreau for their fourth goal.
“I think we were moving more tonight,” Krug said of the power play’s noticeably crisper delivery. “We weren’t as static as we have been in the last few games and when we do that, Brad can start with the puck, Pasta can start with the puck. And we’ve got two big guys in the slot. I don’t know if they can cover everything. So we did a better job of moving around tonight and it opened up some lanes and we made some plays.”
But perhaps most importantly (especially with the Krejci line held in check), Marchand also showed an improved ability to not completely cross the line that takes away from him being the elite scorer he’s become for these Bruins. And I say ‘not completely’ only because No. 63 was successfully goaded into one penalty (a slash against Gustav Nyquist right off the faceoff) by a Detroit squad that clearly targeted him all game long.
“I thought they were trying to get to him. I thought he did a good job with that,” admitted Cassidy. “You know those [penalties] at center ice when they pick one guy; they’re kind of annoying to a coach because, clearly, their guy – they’re jabbing each other and it’s like, really? It has no effect on the play. But I thought [Marchand] did a good job. He’s going to be targeted every night, so he has to get used to that.”
And with the overtime goal, Marchand moved into sole possession of first place on the franchise’s overtime goals list, with 11, just days after moving into a three-way tie for first place with Dit Clapper and Glen Murray. The goal also gives Marchand the ninth-most overtime goals among active players, and with Marchand having skated in at least 184 games than the eight skaters above him in this stat (Alex Ovechkin currently leads all active NHLers in this stat, with 22 overtime goals in his career).
Marchand and Krug spoke with MassLive’s Kevin Dillon about their efforts…
On Tuesday night, Krug picked up two goals and two assists, finishing second to only Marchand in points on the night. His second assist came on the game-winning goal, when his shot led to the rebound that Marchand scored on.
“I was hoping Torey was going to get it there for the hat trick,” Marchand said after the game. “It ended up on my stick and luckily it went in.”
Krug is the type of player who has a chance at hat tricks. Tuesday night was his second multi-goal game of the season. For reference at how rare a hat trick by a Bruins defenseman is, Zdeno Chara was the last one to reach that accomplishment. He did it on Jan. 17, 2011.
With 18 games left in the season, Krug is only one goal away from his career best goal total of 14, which he set in the 2013-14 season. He’s only four points away from his career best point total of 51, which he set last season. In his last 15 games, Krug has scored 18 points.
“I’m a believer that if you stick with the process, the law of averages will work its way out,” Krug said. “Just continue to shoot the puck, and if you’re a threat to shoot the puck, then someone else is going to be open. Right now, it’s just going in for me.”
Yes, folks, other teams use the “process” term, too. And they’re successful from time to time!
Speaking of successful, here’s a scary stat from NESN’s Nicholas Goss…
Marchand has tallied 16 points (nine goals, seven assists) in his last six games versus the Red Wings. He’s totaled 26 points (14 goals, 12 assists) in 24 career meetings with Detroit.
The Bruins opened the season by losing six of their first seven games that finished in overtime. Since then, the B’s have come out on top in four consecutive games which ended in the five-minute overtime frame.Bruins forward David Pastrnak has taken notice of the success.“It can’t go your way every night,” said Pastrnak. “Obviously the last couple months I think we’ve been pretty good in overtime, but how I said, it’s about whoever scores on the chance after the other team’s mistake.”
The Bruins led 2-0, 4-2 and 5-3 before Mantha scored his second goal in a four-minute span to make it a one-goal game with a little more than four minutes left in the second. It stayed that way until Frk was left alone in the slot, falling to his knees as he swatted the pass from Tyler Bertuzzi into the net with 10:14 remaining in regulation.
The Red Wings attacked first in the overtime but got a bad bounce off an official near the blue line to send the Bruins off on a rush. Marchand picked up a rebound off Krug’s shot, moved it to his backhand and scored the winner, triggering an avalanche of the free green hats given out in honor of Irish Heritage Night.
“Most nights it’s not going to be 6-5,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “But when it is, the guys have got to know they’ve got a chance to get it done. That is a good quality to have in your group. You don’t want to use it every night.”
Boston (41-15-8) trails the Tampa Bay Lightning by six points for first place in the Atlantic Division and leads the Toronto Maple Leafs by five for second.
“It’s a big moment for our team,” Krug said. “This time of the season, we got to get as many points as we can. Obviously a lot of fun getting the win tonight.
Anthony Mantha had two goals and two assists for the Red Wings, who have lost four in a row (0-3-1). Jared Coreau was replaced by Jimmy Howard early in the second period after allowing four goals on 16 shots. Howard made 19 saves.
Detroit (26-29-11) is 10 points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.
“We’ve got to come out more ready to compete. I think they came out more ready to compete than us,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “Then, I thought our guys battled extremely hard to put ourselves in position after we kept getting down we kept getting back up. That shows the character of the team.”
And Anthony Mantha delivered quite the post-OT statement:
“There’s one silly mistake in OT that cost us the game, and we need to keep finding those little details, [Dylan Larkin] and I, and just be better as the season keeps going.” — Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha
The Red Wings are tired of the same old cliches, as Henrik Zetterberg told the Detroit News’s Gregg Krupa:
“Not good enough in the first, everyone,” Zetterberg said, of the team. “They won all the battles. It’s something that we’ve seen before, that we have been better at, and now we take a step backwards again.”
Asked about fighting back, the captain said. “Yeah, we’ve seen that before, the last two periods we played well. We battle back, score five goals and then it goes into overtime. I really don’t know what to say.”
“We’ve got to come out more ready to compete,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “Then, I thought our guys battled extremely hard to put ourselves in position. After we kept getting down, we kept fight back. It shows the character in the room. I mean, Zetterberg was unreal. As a warrior, just unbelievable.”
The winning goal came on yet another mistake, this one by young aspiring players who generally played well Tuesday, and whom Blashill also singled out for lionhearted play.
When Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha failed to grab a loose puck in front of Jimmy Howard on the first shift of overtime, the pesky Marchand ate it up.
“I thought Larkin battled hard. I thought Mantha battled hard,” Blashill said. “I thought we had guys who really dug in. And we just kept digging and digging and digging. And then, in the end, we’ve got to grow up. We can’t give away those goals like that. It’s crazy. The puck’s sitting there. It should have been our puck, and we want to go on offense before we have the puck. So, we’ve got to learn from those situations.”
The Free Press’s Helene St. James’ recap took a similar youth-is-the-future tack…
“They’re young, they’re really skilled and that’s our future,” Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “Just have to develop more and play a full 200-foot game.”
It was a discouraging night for Jared Coreau, who gave up four goals on 16 shots and was pulled 3:27 into the second period of his first NHL start of the season. The organization is not sold on him as a viable backup for the future, and Tuesday’s audition didn’t help.
The young forwards, overtime mistake excluded, showed a competitive level helped undo three two-goal deficits.
“For the most part of the game, I thought Mantha was excellent,” Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “I thought Dylan was excellent, for the most part of the game. I thought Bert did what Bert does — Bert finds a way to win puck battles and make plays and hold onto the puck. That’s great. Those guys dug in. I thought Marty Frk played good, too.
“We had guys that really dug in and we kept digging and digging and digging. And then in the end, we have to grow up. We can’t give away those goals like that. It’s crazy. It’s a puck sitting there and it should be have been our puck and we want to go on offense before we have the puck. So we have to learn from those situations.”
To Jared Coreau’s credit, he learned from his disappointing effort–and the coach understood that he set up his back-up to fail, as he told DetroitRedWings.com’s Dana Wakiji:
Jared Coreau/Jimmy Howard: Coreau must have been having flashbacks to a year ago at this time. On March 8, 2017, Coreau got a rare start in place of Petr Mrazek in the second game of a back-to-back and Coreau gave up three goals on eight shots before he was replaced by Mrazek. On this night, also Irish Heritage Night as it was last year, the Bruins’ first shot of the game – a blast from the point from Michigan native Krug – found the back of the net. The Bruins also scored on their second shot, an unassisted goal by DeBrusk. Krug scored on the power play at 13:48 of the first. After Marchand scored a power-play goal at 3:27 of the second, Jimmy Howard replaced Coreau. Coreau finished with 12 saves on 16 shots.
Quotable: “I wasn’t good enough. Luckily, Jimmy came in and he played really well. I was happy for him. He got us a point. Luckily, we were able to score five goals as well. It didn’t go our way in overtime, but you got to look at the positives, too, we got a point.” – Coreau
Quotable II: “Well, you know, it’s tough when you haven’t been up here, and I think the first two shots went in. That’s a tough situation. I just thought now you’re in a spot where you have no room for error at all. I’m not saying the goals were all his fault by any stretch but it’s just a tough spot to be in.” – Wings coach Jeff Blashill
I don’t know whether Jared Coreau is an NHL goaltender, but the Wings aren’t going to find out by sitting him on the bench. We ought to see him again, at least a couple of times, before the season is over, win or lose, because at this point, the Wings are definitely learning what they’ve got–and what they don’t–going into next season.
Highlights: NBCSN posted a 2:34 highlight clip:
NBCSN Boston posted a clip of Marchand, Krug and coach Cassidy speaking with the media;
The Red Wings posted a 6:32 clip of comments from Henrik Zetterberg, Anthony Mantha, Jared Coreau and coach Jeff Blashill:
The Detroit News posted a 10-image gallery;
The Boston Herald posted a 14-image gallery;
ESPN posted a 14-image gallery;
Here’s the Game Summary…
And the Event Summary:
Final shot attempts were 62-61 Detroit.