BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 14: Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins has words with Henrik Zetterberg #40 of the Detroit Red Wings at the TD Garden on October 14, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Red Wings win rematch against Bruins


The Boston Bruins took first blood against the Detroit Red Wings on Oct. 5 in the first contest of their Atlantic Division rivalry. Today it was the Red Wings’ turn to strike back.

Henrik Zetterberg, Stephen Weiss, and Daniel Cleary each found the back of the net for Detroit en route to a 3-2 victory.

Jimmy Howard was originally scheduled to play between the pipes against the Bruins, but he was held out of the game due to a bruised hand, according to MLive’s Ansar Khan. He might be start on Tuesday instead, but backup Jonas Gustavsson was more than capable of holding his own today.

Gustavsson was plagued by injury problems last season and missed the beginning of the 2013-14 campaign due to a groin issue. This was his season debut and he turned aside 28 shots to pick up his first win since March 25.

Boston made things interesting when Milan Lucic netted his 100th career goal with just 1:20 minutes left in regulation time, but they couldn’t complete the comeback.

Detroit improved to 4-2-0 ahead of tomorrow’s contest against Columbus. The Bruins will get a few days off before starting a three-game road trip in Florida on Thursday.

Horton says Bruins waited ‘until the last minute’ to try to bring him back


Nathan Horton’s original explanation for leaving the Boston Bruins for the Columbus Blue Jackets is his preference for a quieter, more private lifestyle. It appears that either was a PR-friendly reason, or just a part of the story.

After hearing that a Bruins-produced documentary captured B’s GM Peter Chiarelli’s angry reaction to Horton’s departure for Columbus, the 28-year-old winger told that Boston dragged its feet regarding a new deal.

“All year, nothing happened. I waited for a long time,” Horton said. “When you wait until the last minute, what am I … I’m not going to wait around. I’m happy with the way things turned out. It just came down to, at the end, for my family, I wanted a place where my kids could be outside.”

Horton isn’t done rehabbing shoulder surgery, but he’s definitely on board with Columbus, calling the Blue Jackets an up-and-coming team.

He admits that his time with Boston was still special, though.

“Obviously I enjoyed my time in Boston. I still talk to [Milan Lucic] and most of the guys on the team,” said Horton. “When you win a Stanley Cup with everyone, you never forget it. It’s a big part of your life.”

Apparently he didn’t feel that the Bruins organization believed he was a big enough part of their team, though. With the obvious exception of Tuukka Rask, Chiarelli has been proactive regarding signing core guys to extensions with plenty of time before their current deals expire, so maybe Horton has a point.

Whether Boston really wanted him back or not, he’s now in Columbus, and seems glad to be there.

Eriksson pointless as he transitions to Bruins’ style

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 3: Loui Eriksson #21 of the Boston Bruins walks to the locker room after warm ups prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the TD Garden on October 3, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

We’re just two games into the Bruins’ campaign, but you would have to stretch to find things to fault Boston for so far. They’ve won their first two contests by comfortable margins and most of their major players have gotten their first point. One notable exception to that is forward Loui Eriksson.

That’s nothing to stress over and it’s also not terribly surprising to Bruins coach Claude Julien.

“You can’t judge or expect miracles in the first few games of the season,” Julien told CSN New England. “You give them a good month to get to know each other and play together, and you hope in that month it progresses. I’ve seen that so far from training camp until right now.”

Eriksson is used to playing an “overload” style where players tend to keep close to each other while carrying the puck through the neutral zone, but the Bruins don’t share that philosophy. So far, Eriksson has had some difficulty breaking those habits.

“I usually adjust to systems pretty well, but just the one thing I did in all my years in Dallas was cutting through the middle and supporting the other winger,” Eriksson said, according to the Boston Herald. “But we’ve been practicing it every day and we’ll get better at it.”

It might be a bit before Eriksson finds his groove in Boston, but he’s still a great forward and Julien seems content to let this transition run its course. That’s certainly easier to do when the team is winning anyways.

Iginla: Fighting is ‘definitely part of Bruins hockey’


In his first game with Boston, Jarome Iginla endeared himself to the TD Garden faithful with a spirited scrap against Tampa Bay’s Radko Gudas.

Following the tilt, Iginla said it was all part of embracing his team’s style.

“It’s definitely part of Bruins hockey, playing against them over the years and watching them,” Iginla told the Boston Globe. “It’s a very competitive, aggressive team.

“Trying to play alongside of that and contribute in those areas. Try to play physical, try to go [to] the net. Sometimes fights happen. It happened to be in the first game. Every guy takes a lot of pride in competing hard. Fights do happen. Guys are ready for that, too.”

While Iginla doesn’t fight very often — he has just nine over the last four seasons, according to — his scraps often have a flair for the dramatic.

After receiving a lukewarm introduction in his Bruins debut, he won over the B’s fans with the Gudas tilt.

Last year, he infamously fought Nathan Horton in his first game in Boston as a Penguin, just weeks after spurning a trade deadline deal to the Bruins.

Iginals’ most famous fight, though, might’ve come during the 2004 Stanley Cup Final, when he (as captain of the Flames) took on Tampa Bay’s Vincent Lecavalier:

More on that incident, from the Canadian Press:

There can be no disputing the positive results that have followed such an encounter this post-season, a trend that should prove alarming to Tampa Bay.

Iginla fought Vancouver defenceman Mattias Ohlund in game three of the opening series. Calgary went on to win three of the next four games to eliminate the Canucks.

In game two of the next series, Iginla squared off with big Detroit defenceman Derian Hatcher. Again, the Flames went on to take three of the next four games and knock off the Red Wings.

“That’s why he’s our leader,” said Calgary forward Chris Clark. “If he’s going to go out and fight, be rough, and he’s the best player in the league, you know people are going to follow him.”

Chris Simon, one of the NHL’s primary enforcers, was moved onto the top Flames top line Saturday with Conroy and Iginla, but he knows that Iginla likes to fight his own battles.

“That fight was huge, it really set the tone physically for us and we talked before the game that we had to bring a physical presence,” Simon said.

As for fighting in general, Iginla said that while he wouldn’t mind seeing less of it, he’s not prepared to ban it outright.

“Part of it is it’s been a part of our sport for so long,” he explained. “So, I think in my opinion I don’t mind seeing less of it, [but] like I said, I don’t think I’m there where I’d like to see it all gone.”

Chara sparks power play as Bruins beat Detroit, stay undefeated

Zdeno Chara

For one night, Boston looked mighty good with the man advantage — and they had the big guy to thank.

That was the story at TD Garden on Saturday as the Bruins beat the Red Wings 4-1 on the strength of a dynamic-looking power play, led by defenseman Zdeno Chara.

Chara was an big net-front presence as Boston went 2-for-4 on the man advantage. The 6-foot-9 rearguard provided a nice screen on Torey Krug’s game-opening PP goal, then notched one himself in the third period on a great skill play:

Brad Marchand and Jordan Caron also scored for Boston on the night, pushing the Bruins to a perfect 2-0-0 on the year.

Henrik Zetterberg scored the lone goal for the Wings, who are now 2-1-1.

The big story on the night, though, was the play of Chara on the PP. Boston’s been criticized heavily over the last few seasons for its poor production with the man advantage, and that narrative looked like it would carry into the 2013-14 season when the B’s went 0-for-3 on the power play in the season opener against Tampa.

Boston also managed seven shots on the power play all told, a pretty solid total. The goal now will be for the B’s to carry that production over to Thursday’s game against Colorado.