Justin Florek, Tomas Tatar

Bruins handle Red Wings 4-1, tie series 1-1


After losing a tight Game 1 thanks to a nice Pavel Datsyuk 1-0 goal, the Boston Bruins raced out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 2 and cruised to a 4-1 win on Sunday, tying their first-round series 1-1 with the Detroit Red Wings in the process.

The Bruins generated that early lead thanks to firsts as Justin Florek and Reilly Smith scored for Boston. (It was a big Sunday for the Smith family, as Brendan challenged Zdeno Chara to end the first period.)

After the Bruins’ strong start, the Red Wings dominated much of the second period, yet the teams traded goals as Milan Lucic matched Luke Glendening’s efforts. (Those who wanted a Lucic suspension probably bristled.)

A power-play goal from Chara basically locked it up at 4-1 in the third period, giving the Bruins a win that’s relatively easy (at least compared to these early 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs games).

The series now shifts to Detroit tied 1-1. All things considered, the Red Wings are probably glad to split the first two games against the Bruins (who won the Presidents’ Trophy this season). Many believed that this could be a much tougher series than the usual top vs. bottom seed fair, and even with two very different games in mind, that could very well be the case.

WATCH LIVE: Detroit Red Wings at Boston Bruins (Game 2)

Tuukka Rask

The Detroit Red Wings aren’t a Wild Card team that can be easily dismissed and they proved as much in Game 1 when they held their own against the Boston Bruins until Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk broke the scoreless tie late in the third period.

Now down 1-0 in the series, the Bruins obviously need to find a way to beat Jimmy Howard and will be looking to their top line of David Krejci, Milan Lucic, and Jarome Iginla to lead the charge. The trio was limited to a combined four shots on goal in Friday’s contest.

“We believe in ourselves and each other. One game isn’t going to change that,” said Iginla, per CSN New England. “We have to find ways to create more, and get more zone time. We have to find ways to battle through it a little more. Its playoffs and we’re prepared to do that.”

The game will start at 3:00 p.m. ET and will be on NBC. Alternatively, you can stream the game online:



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PHT Morning Skate: Bruins aim to bounce back vs. Red Wings

Jimmy Howard, Carl Soderberg

We had two more overtime games yesterday with the St. Louis Blues once again edging Chicago to put the defending champions just two losses away from elimination. Meanwhile, Columbus rallied back from a 3-1 deficit against Pittsburgh to earn a 4-3 overtime win. That victory was the first in the history of the Blue Jackets’ franchise and evened their series at 1-1.

Game 2: Philadelphia Flyers at New York Rangers [New York leads series 1-0] (12:00 p.m. ET, NBC)

The Rangers are on a nine game winning streak over Philadelphia in games played at Madison Square Garden. That’s obviously a trend the Flyers need to end if they are to win this series.

Philadelphia’s Andrew MacDonald scored early in the first period of Game 1, but the 1-0 lead lasted just 3:25 minutes before Mats Zuccarello evened the score. The Flyers held their own in the second before falling apart in the third frame. They were out shot 13-1 in the final 20 minutes, which allowed the Rangers to come away with a 4-1 victory.

Flyers backup goaltender Ray Emery started in that contest and he’ll be back in between the pipes today as Steve Mason is still dealing with an upper-body injury.

Game 2: Detroit Red Wings at Boston Bruins [Detroit leads series 1-0] (3:00 p.m. ET, NBC)

The first game of this series was a goaltending duel between Detroit’s Jimmy Howard and Boston’s Tuukka Rask. Both netminders managed some impressive saves along the way and it took a sleek move by Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk to break the scoreless tie with 3:01 remaining in the third period.

Boston went into Game 1 as the heavy favorites after winning the Presidents’ Trophy, but the Red Wings are a far better team than their record implies. They have already robbed the Bruins of their home-ice advantage and can really put them against the ropes by taking a 2-0 series lead before this heads back to Detroit.

That being said, the Bruins can’t be dismissed just because they narrowly lost one game. They got this far with a deep squad led by the likes of David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, Jarome Iginla, and Zdeno Chara. They are more than capable of bouncing back from a 1-0 deficit.

Game 3: Tampa Bay Lightning at Montreal Canadiens [Montreal leads series 2-0] (7:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN)

Starting goaltender Ben Bishop is one of the main reasons the Lightning made the playoffs and with him injured, the team seems to be falling apart. Netminder Anders Lindback isn’t solely responsible for the position Tampa Bay is in, but in a sign of how desperate things have gotten, Tampa Bay asked Kristers Gudlevskis to play between the pipes late in the third period of Game 2.

Gudlevskis stood out in the Olympics while playing for Latvia, but the 21-year-old netminder had participated in just one NHL contest prior to this playoff run. In fact, he has only been in 45 minor league games — 11 of them in the ECHL — since being selected in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.

Lightning coach Jon Cooper insisted that there is no goaltending controversy, but it remains to be seen who will start tonight. Either way, at this point Tampa Bay is facing long odds against the Carey Price-led team. Which, actually, is something that Gudlevskis does have some experience with.

Game 2: Los Angeles Kings at San Jose Sharks [San Jose leads series 1-0] (10:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN)

The first 40 minutes of this series couldn’t have gone much worse for the Kings. They were “sloppy” and goaltender Jonathan Quick left plenty to be desired.

San Jose, showing off its scoring depth, had goals from five different players going into the third period, but the Kings battled back from the 5-0 deficit. The Sharks still ended up with a commanding 6-3 victory, but Los Angeles will try to carry some of the momentum from its late surge into this contest.

Quick will be the guy to watch in this one. Kings coach Darryl Sutter clearly wasn’t happy with his netminder’s performance, but Quick is typically a very effective playoff goaltender. Will he shake off his rough start or have the Sharks finally figured him out?

Detroit stuns favored Bruins with late goal to take Game 1

Jimmy Howard, Niklas Kronwall, Patrice Bergeron

It’s been said the Red Wings aren’t your typical low-seed team, and they showed it tonight by squeaking past the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Boston Bruins 1-0 to take Game 1 of the opening-round series.

Jimmy Howard stopped 25 shots to earn his third career playoff shutout, but goaltender Tuukka Rask was also very effective tonight. The netminders kept this game scoreless for most of the contest by making some remarkable saves along the way, Rask finishing with 23 saves on 24 shots.

As the score indicates, tonight’s game was a tightly-contested and hard-checking affair. It wasn’t until 16:59 of the third period that Pavel Datsyuk managed to finally best Rask on a play that was made possible thanks to some beautiful stick work:

The goal impressed one of Datsyuk’s counterparts, as Logan Couture tweeted his admiration:

As for the big picture, Detroit scored a huge opening blow by taking a one game to none series lead and swiping home-ice advantage in the process. There’s still plenty of hockey left to be played and Boston is far from done, but Detroit has proven once again that it can’t be overlooked.

Video: Bruins establish physical game early

Pavel Datsyuk, Patrice Bergeron

The Detroit Red Wings do a lot of things right, but one aspect of the game they’re not known for is their physical play. The Red Wings ranked 26th in the league in hits during the regular season and Boston wants to use that to its advantage.

Even if it leads to the occasional penalty, as it did late in the first period when Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara was charged for boarding Brendan Smith, playing aggressively against Detroit might prove to be the key to winning the series.

You can watch that hit and more analysis on the subject below:

Midway through the second period in Game 1, Detroit and Boston remain scoreless and the two squads are about even in shots on goal. However, Boston has a 22-15 edge in hits.