Jimmy Howard, Carl Soderberg

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

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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
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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
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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.

WATCH LIVE: Detroit Red Wings at Boston Bruins (Game 1)

Gustav Nyquist, Tuukka Rask
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The last of the first round series is finally about to get underway.

Boston won the Presidents’ Trophy while the Detroit Red Wings barely scraped their way into the playoffs, but this might not be the mismatch that the standings would imply.

Detroit had to overcome some serious injuries this season and while the team is still missing Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk has returned to join the young players that got the Red Wings this far in his absence.

Boston still has the clear edge though and given the Bruins’ success in recent years, they can match up with Detroit in postseason experience despite the fact that this will be the start of the Red Wings’ 23rd consecutive playoff run.

The game will start at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, but you can also stream it online below:

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Or if you’d rather watch Tampa Bay play Montreal, here is the link to that.

Related:

The last time the Red Wings played the Bruins in the playoffs, the world was pretty different

High praise: Julien compliments Detroit’s ‘layers’

Get your game notes: Red Wings at Bruins

Pressing question: Could this be the year of the upset?

Pressing question: How will Boston’s defense hold up?

The last time the Red Wings played the Bruins in the playoffs, the world was pretty different

Gordie Howe
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I don’t personally remember the series (it happened in 1957), but I know for a fact the Wings were expected to win the semifinal matchup after finishing the regular season with the best record in the league (granted, there were only six teams) while boasting the likes of Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay.

From a Sports Illustrated article dated March 18, 1957:

In the brash motor metropolis of Detroit, where all industry and seemingly all life revolves around auto-making, tradition is eyed with suspicion. “Last year’s sales records don’t sell 1957 models,” they tell you at the Detroit Athletic Club, social headquarters of the auto world.

The same attitude pervades an equally successful Detroit industry—that of producing championship hockey teams. Perhaps that is why no other city can claim a more consistently winning hockey tradition (if you will excuse the expression) than the one assembled by that city’s ever-changing Red Wings.

Yeah, Detroit’s economy has changed a bit since then.

Oh, and I’m not sure an NHL general manager could get away today with what Detroit GM Jack Adams said here:

“Hockey is the greatest spectator sport in the world—it’s a man’s game, but it’s best for women because the basic rules are so simple that it’s easy to understand.”

But I’d sure like to see one of them try! Just imagine the page views.

Anyway, the Bruins actually upset the Wings, 4-1, only to lose to Montreal in the Stanley Cup Final.