Detroit fans booed Bruins forward Milan Lucic every time he touched the puck at the outset of Tuesday night’s Game 3 but their resentment quickly shifted to their own team as the Red Wings turned the puck over again, and again, and again in the first period. Lucic and the B’s did not hesitate to capitalize on the Red Wings’ early miscues at Joe Louis Arena, coming away with a 3-0 victory and a 2-1 series lead.
Game 4 is Thursday in Detroit (8 p.m., NESN).
Nine minutes into the first period, Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard and the Detroit defense seemed convinced B’s defenseman Dougie Hamilton was going to dish off the puck on a power play but the 20-year-old kept it for himself and beat Howard over the glove to put the B’s up, 1-0, early.
The Red Wings also failed to put a body on a streaming Jordan Caron, fresh off the bench, late in the first period and Caron made Detroit pay with a rebound goal. It was Caron’s first career playoff strike.
Boston outshot the Red Wings, 11-4, in a dominant opening frame.
Patrice Bergeron finished off Detroit with an empty-net goal with just under two minutes to go. The Red Wings tried to mix and match lineups late in the game but it did not prove fruitful.
B’s goaltender Tuukka Rask had his second straight strong effort as he saved 23 shots in the shutout win. Rask saved 34 shots, allowing just one goal in the Bruins 4-1 Game 2 win last Sunday.
Detroit’s last true opportunity to come back Tuesday came 10 minutes into the third period, as it owned a power play, but Boston’s defense held firm.
What they'll be saying: If the Bruins' dominant effort in Game 2 didn't show you who the more talented team was in this series, Tuesday night's B's performance made it clear. The Bruins should win this series and they should do so sooner than later.
The start of the second period must have made Detroit fans feel queasy as most expected the Red Wings to punch back after an embarrassing first. Though the Bruins did not score in the second, they did not let up after the high-flying first, putting the pressure on Detroit and Howard on the first shift.
While Boston fans do not want to get ahead of themselves, particularly considering that the Bruins traditionally make things tough on themselves in these types of situations, the idea of looking ahead to a potential Bruins-Canadiens series in the second round is quite tempting. Montreal eliminated the Lightning with a four-game sweep Tuesday night and await the winner of the Boston-Detroit series.
Follow Metro Boston sports editor Matt Burke on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS