Mantha shows Bruins that Red Wings aren’t exactly tanking

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The good news is that the Detroit Red Wings really might have something in the top line of Anthony Mantha, Dylan Larkin, and Tyler Bertuzzi. In fact, that top line actually outshone Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronDavid Pastrnak on Sunday, the best line in the NHL according to plenty.

The bad news is that that trio has been so good, they might mess up Detroit’s draft lottery odds.

By beating the Bruins 6-3 on Sunday, the Red Wings have now rattled off a five-game winning streak. They’ve already been mathematically eliminated from the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, so it’s all about building for next year. With this winning streak in mind, they’re building up confidence more so than building up their draft lottery odds.

With the Sabres sprawling (1-8-1 in their last 10 games, including another humbling loss on Sunday), Detroit may eventually pass Buffalo, as both teams have 72 points with three games remaining. Actually, the Red Wings take the ROW (regulation/overtime win) advantage 28-26, so Buffalo would finish below them if the season ended on Sunday.

That said, even the Red Wings fans who were gritting their teeth likely found their mouths forming to a smile by the end of Sunday’s game, especially when they were watching Anthony Mantha. The promising forward generated the first hat trick of his career, and by adding two assists, also generated his first five-point game in the NHL.

The Bruins had more immediate stakes in this one, although they seem virtually assured of holding onto the second seed in the Atlantic. Maybe that thought was on enough players’ minds on Sunday, as they didn’t exactly play Boston’s typical brand of strong defense.

There were some nice moments for Boston, though, with this play from Patrice Bergeron to Brad Marchand for a shorthanded goal standing out.

The Red Wings ultimately came out on top of a seesaw game where they scored two goals in the first period, allowed three Bruins tallies in the second, and then ran away with four goals in the third to win 6-3.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.