By Greg Celona – Published on Sunday, April 20, 2014
The Boston Bruins showed up ready to play on Sunday afternoon and powered their way to a 4-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings to tie the playoff series 1-1.
After a frustrating game one in which the Bruins were unable to solve Detroit’s defensive efforts, the B’s knew it was crucial to come back and take game two in front of their home crowd. A loss today would have meant the Bruins would need to win at least two games at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, not an easy thing to do.
A tremendous first period effort, and another solid showing in the net from Tuukka Rask helped the Bruins pull off the win. Based on how game one turned out, it was clear the Bruins were looking to start scoring early. It didn’t take long for the B’s to find the back of the net, as Justin Florek picked up the puck on an awkward turnover from Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard sent it home, giving Boston the 1-0 lead. This was also the 23-year-old’s first career playoff goal in the NHL:
“It was a good present there. It was good to get the team going, I think that was the biggest thing, get some momentum in the building. So that was a big start for us.”
The momentum was extremely prevalent throughout the rest of the period. The Bruins were given a few power play opportunities early on, and Reilly Smith was able to score on a rebound chance in front of the net. This gave the Bruins a more comfortable 2-0 lead heading into the locker room after one period.
The rest of the game would not have the same feel as that first period for Boston. The Red Wings began to control the game much more and had the Bruins chasing the puck quite a bit more than they would have liked.
Detroit did pick up a goal in the second period, but the Bruins would add another late in the second, and on the power play in the third to help push them to victory.
Holding the Red Wings to just one goal tonight fell on the shoulders of Tuukka Rask, and he came up huge for the B’s by stopping 34 shots on the night.
It wasn’t a perfect game, but the Bruins showed a lot of improvements from game one. That’s what the playoffs are all about. Learning from mistakes and maintaining momentum are huge in any playoff series. Head Coach Claude Julien certainly noticed the improvements his team showed:
” I think we were a little bit better in all areas, from our breakouts with their pressure to the neutral zone, where we were able to get through that with a little bit more speed today than we did the last game, and able to get our forecheck going like we talked about doing after Game 1.”
Now the Bruins will play two games in Detroit, right next door to the hometown of defenseman Torey Krug. While it may be a cool experience to compete in a playoff game close to home, he understands the focus he and his team need to have on continuing success in the series:
“If we were playing any other team we would try and do the same thing, when we are engaged emotionally and are controlled, and playing physical, that’s when we are at our best.”
The Bruins take on the Red Wings in Detroit on Tuesday night for game three of the series.