Bruins-Red Wings Game 3 preview: Boston has proven it can be ‘special’
In the NHL postseason, every playoff game takes on its own tenor and it has taken only two games in the first round series between the Bruins and Red Wings to be reminded that every single game has its own set of circumstances.
Boston basically no-showed in Game 1 at TD Garden last Friday while the Bruins recovered in a big way on Sunday with a 4-1 victory over the Red Wings to even the series, 1-1. The series now shifts to Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena for Game 3 on Tuesday (7:30 p.m., NESN) and Game 4 on Thursday (8 p.m., NESN).
Scoring a pair of goals in the first period on Sunday served the Bruins well as they looked like a completely different team from Game 1.
“The first goal was huge,” admitted left wing Milan Lucic. “All it takes is a lucky bounce (rookie Justin Florek’s goal would fall into that category) to turn the tide and set the momentum.”
The B’s are one of the best teams in the league when it comes to playing with a lead so spotting them a two-goal advantage, even that early, will typically result in a loss for Detroit.
It wasn’t discussed much coming into what’s expected to be a tight series but a chief difference between these teams comes on special teams (both the power play and penalty kill). In the regular season, Boston was No. 3 on the power play in the NHL and No. 8 on the penalty kill while Detroit was 18th on the power play and 12th on the penalty kill. Through 120 minutes of hockey in this series, those numbers have held firm. The Bruins are 2-for-5 on the power play after a pair of goals by Reilly Smith and Zdeno Chara on Sunday, while the Red Wings are 0-for-6 on the power play including 0-for-4 in Game 2.
Bruins head coach Claude Julien talked about his penalty kill unit’s performance which was impressive considering two of their strongest players in that regard – Chris Kelly and Daniel Paille – have yet to appear.
“We’ve worked hard to get the penalty kill up to level,” Julien said. “We need it to be really good in the playoffs and we’ve been blessed with many guys that can do it this season.”
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter: @RichSlate