|Shoddy defensive play burns Bruins in loss to Red Wings||10.14.13 at 4:39 pm ET|
Tuukka Rask did something Monday that he hadn’t done all season: allow a second goal.
He also allowed a third in the 3-2 loss to the Red Wings, but Rask wasn’t the issue in Boston’s second defeat this season. The Bruins turned in some shoddy work defensively, giving opportunities to a team that doesn’t need many, and the B’s were burned for it.
“All those three, pretty much, we kind of fell asleep for a second there,” Rask said after the game. “The guy had an extra second and now all of a sudden the puck’s in the net. I’m not blaming myself really, but it’s a game like that where you don’t get that many scoring chances, and once they get them you’d like to be there and stop the puck. They’re also a good team that can score a lot of goals. Tough bounces for us today.”
The first of the three came on a play that can half be chalked up to Pavel Datsyuk being super awesome at hockey and half be chalked up to some uncharacteristic play from Boston’s best players. A Patrice Bergeron giveaway allowed Pavel Datsyuk to bring the puck into the zone and get around Zdeno Chara — who could have stepped up and taken him out of the play — before sending it across to Henrik Zetterberg.
Reilly Smith was giving chase but couldn’t stretch out far enough to get his stuck on the puck, and Zetterberg scored his second goal this season against Bergeron and Chara. For a frame of reference, Bergeron and Chara were both on the ice for just one 5-on-5 goal — a Thomas Vanek tally on Jan. 31 — all of last season.
The Red Wings’ other two goals could have been prevented as well, as Johan Franzen sent a pass in the second period past the sticks of Chris Kelly and Brad Marchand to Stephen Weiss, who beat Rask on the doorstep. Dan Cleary scored on a one-timer right in front of the net — and right in front of Chara.
“We were a little loose in our coverage today, and it resulted in those three goals,” Claude Julien said. “Every game we’ve got things that we need to try and rectify with practice and bring to those players’ attention. That’s what we’ve got to do. Definitely, I thought that we were a little loose defensively, especially on the backcheck. We need to come back a little harder and a little better. Just because you’re a couple of feet away from that guy, doesn’t mean that you have him. There wasn’t full commitment in that.
Through five games, the Bruins are now 3-2-0 on the season. The season is young, but the B’s have at the very least learned that their division has become tougher with Detroit. They also know they need to be better.
“Not awful, not great, not bad,” Rask said when asked how he feels the B’s have played this season. “Every game there’s been some really good things and some letdowns.”
“When you play a team like Detroit, they don’t that many chances,” Julien said. “You’ve just got to give them some and they’ll know what to do with those. That’s what they’re known for, and that’s what they showed today.”
|Here come Pavel Datsyuk and the Red Wings||10.04.13 at 2:01 pm ET|
No matter how you slice it, it should be tougher for the Bruins to win their division this season. The Red Wings are a big part of that.
With realignment bringing Detroit over to the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division, the B’s now have four meetings with a team that has made the playoffs in 22 consecutive seasons, and they’ll have to worry about them (as well as the Canadiens and Maple Leafs) if they want to be atop the standings when all is said and done.
The first of the regular-season meetings will come Saturday night, when Mike Babcock‘s 1-0-0 squad comes to TD Garden.
“I think they’re an elite team,” Claude Julien said Friday. “They always have been, and you have to look at, for example, their third line. When you’ve got a guy like [Daniel] Cleary and [Todd] Bertuzzi on a third line, you know you’ve got some pretty good depth. They’re a good, experienced team.
“They’re a smart team, they play a good, smart game. That will certainly bring an even bigger challenge for all the teams in our conference right now to add them in them. It’s not like it’s a new franchise coming in and breaking the bottom, but it’s a team that’s at the top of the league almost every year. I think it’s good for our game. I think it’s good for our fans to see those teams a little bit more, and an Original Six team is always welcome in the cities that have seen those teams for years.”
While the Red Wings’ presence in the division certainly doesn’t make things easier for the Bruins, the best part about it from a hockey standpoint might be the fact that it also brings two members of the Selke fraternity against one another in Pavel Datsyuk and Patrice Bergeron in what should be some fascinating hockey to watch.
“Obviously he’s a very smart player and tough to play against,” Bergeron said of Datsyuk. “I think it’s going to be a good challenge to play Detroit and a good challenge to play him and his line.”
Datsyuk is a three-time winner of the award, which is given to the best two-way forward in the league annually. Bergeron won it in 2011-12 and just narrowly lost out on winning it again last season.
When Zdeno Chara had the first pick in the All-Star Game fantasy draft two seasons ago, he chose Datsyuk, saying, “I just really admire, personally, the way he plays.”
Datsyuk scored this goal against the B’s earlier that season, and he played a big part in the Red Wings’ 8-2 preseason drubbing of the B’s a couple weeks ago with Bergeron still out of the lineup.
“Two great two-way players,” Julien said of Datsyuk and Bergeron. “You saw Datsyuk in action here the one night when we didn’t have Patrice in the lineup, and you could see the type of damage that he could do. There’s no doubt that he’s an elite player, but we’re fortunate to have Patrice, who we feel is an elite player as well.”
|Atlantic Division scouting report: Red Wings||08.22.13 at 2:43 pm ET|
This season will be the first with the NHL’s realigned conferences and divisions, meaning the days of the Northeast Division are over and the Bruins will have some new rivals in the Atlantic Division. Over the coming days, WEEI.com will look at the Bruins’ divisional opponents, new and old.
We’ll start by looking at the only team in the Atlantic that’s coming over from the old Western Conference, which is the Red Wings. The Bruins will play Detroit four times this season, with two of their first five games of the season coming against the Red Wings.
Under the new format of the NHL, the top three teams from each division make the playoffs, with the two teams with the next-highest point totals getting the final two spots. Detroit shouldn’t worry about grabbing one of those two extra spots, as they figure to contend for one of the top two or three berths in the division.
WHAT THEY ARE
A perennial contender with a lot of skill on offense. They finished 20th in scoring in a shortened season that general managers throughout the league have said was impossible to properly assess, but they finished seventh in the league with 2.92 goals per game in 2011-12 and second with 3.13 goals per game in 2010-11. The additions of Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss should help them move away from last year’s relatively low offensive output and get back near the top of the league in the scoring department.
No team can truly recover from losing Nicklas Lidstrom, which the Wings did prior to last season, but Detroit still finished with 2.29 goals allowed per game in 2013, which was fifth-lowest in the league. They can thank steady defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who has played in every game the last two seasons, and former UMaine goaltender Jimmy Howard for that.
All in all, the Red Wings are a balanced team that shouldn’t expect its very lengthy playoff streak (see below) come to an end any time soon. They should challenge the likes of the Bruins and Canadiens for the top spot in the division in the coming years.
The Red Wings finished third in the Central Division in 2013. In clinching the seven seed, they made the playoffs for the 22nd consecutive season, a span that has seen four Stanley Cup championships for Detroit.
As for the Red Wings’ stay in the playoffs, one can’t help but wonder how it affected the Bruins’ bid for the Stanley Cup. After eliminating the second-seeded Ducks in the conference quarterfinals, Detroit took the eventual champion Blackhawks to the brink of elimination by taking a 3-1 series. The Blackhawks marched back to win the series, with Brent Seabrook notching the dagger in overtime of Game 7 to eliminate the Red Wings.
Before free agency started, the Red Wings gave Pavel Datsyuk a three-year extension. The prize of Detroit’s offseason was Alfredsson, who chose the Red Wings’ group of Swedish players (Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen and Kronwall, among others) over the Bruins’ perceived better shot at the Stanley Cup. The contract is for $5.5 million, but because he is over 35, the sides were able to structure a team-friendly deal (a la Jarome Iginla with the Bruins) with a $3.5 million cap hit and an additional $2 million for an easily attainable bonus (10 games played).
The Red Wings also brought in Weiss, the longtime Panthers forward, with a five-year, $24.5 million deal. Their biggest loss was forward Valtteri Filppula, who left Detroit in free agency for a big payday with the Lightning in the form of a five-year, $25 million deal.
• The Red Wings and Bruins have met 579 times, with the Red Wings holding the edge with 249 wins, 234 losses, 95 ties and one overtime loss.
The last time the teams met, Detroit beat the B’s in a shootout the day after Thanksgiving in 2011. The game snapped a 10-game winning streak for the Bruins. Datsyuk scored this goal.
• Speaking of Datsyuk, he’s super awesome at hockey. It will be a treat for hockey fans to see the three-time Selke winner in the division, with Patrice Bergeron also contending for the award as the league’s top defensive forward each year (he won it 2011-12).
During a playoff game in 2012, Pierre McGuire called David Krejci “Boston’s version of Pavel Datsyuk.” Krejci called Datsyuk the best player in the world, while Zdeno Chara thought highly enough of him to make him his first pick in the 2012 fantasy draft to determine All-Star Game teams.
• The Red Wings’ 22-season playoff streak is the fifth-longest in the history of the NHL. The longest such streak was by the Bruins, who reached the playoffs in 29 straight seasons from 1967 to 1996.
Detroit’s streak is the longest active one. The next-longest is that of the Sharks, who have made the playoffs in nine straight seasons. The B’s have been in the postseason for the last six seasons, which is tied for the fourth-longest active streak.
• The presence of the Red Wings in a division with the Bruins, Canadiens and Maple Leafs makes the Atlantic the most Original 6 heavy division with four such teams. The Rangers are in the Metropolitan Division, while the Blackhawks (Central) are now the only Original 6 team in the Western Conference.
|David Krejci on ‘best player in the world’ Pavel Datsyuk: ‘I’m in the third round, and he’s done’||05.13.11 at 1:59 pm ET|
David Krejci deserves high praise for the way he has played of late, as he led the Bruins with eight points in the team’s four-game sweep of the Flyers in the second round. Still, the VS. coverage team for Thursday’s Game 7 between the Red Wings and Sharks may have gotten a little carried away when Pierre McGuire said that Krejci is “Boston’s version of Pavel Datsyuk.”
The differences between the two players can be seen on the stat sheet, of course. Datsyuk has had four seasons with at least 87 points in his nine-year career, while Krejci’s career-high in points came when he notched 73 in 2008-09.
Krejci was watching the game, but said he didn’t hear the “obviously” flattering remark.
“The guys told me about that,” Krejci said Friday. “I didn’t hear it on TV, but I don’t know what to say.”
Krejci himself had some kind words for the Detroit center, noting that he believes Datsyuk is the best hockey player in the world.
“I think he’s a little different player than I am,” the 25-year-old said. “He’s got great hands. I don’t think there is another player like him. He’s the best player in the world with his skills, with the puck moves. He’s just unbelievable. It’s just good to watch him. There is no one like him and there will never be.”
Krejci had difficulty comparing his game to that of Datsyuk’s, but had no problem comparing the B’s to the Wings, who were eliminated Thursday.
“I don’t know,” Krejci said when asked to compare himself to Datsyuk. “I don’t really care. I’m in the third round, and he’s done. It’s not just about skill players or about star players. You’ve got to have a good team, and I think that’s what we have. We have a better team than they do because we’re in the third round. We have a chance to go to the Stanley Cup final. They are done, so it’s different between me and him right now.”
|Red Wings take lead in second period||02.13.11 at 2:06 pm ET|
The Bruuins relinquished the lead in the second period on Sunday, and will have to overcome a 3-2 defect to avoid a home and home sweep at the hands ot the Red Wings.
Pavel Datsyuk tied the game 3:54 into the period, sending it in following a Tim Thomas collision with Adam McQuaid in front of the net. McQuaid’s collision wouldn’t prove to be the only rookie blunder, as Tyler Seguin, who scored the Bruins’ first goal, gave a reminder as to why he had been a healthy scratch the last two games. He didn’t stick with his man in Kris Draper at the blue line, and with Draper coming into the zone unattended to, Patrick Eaves hit him with nice saucer pass in front of Tim Thomas.
The Bruins had only six shots on goal in the second period, and through two are being outshot, 29-15.