BOSTON -- After going toe-to-toe with their rivals and combining for 182 minutes in penalties in an 8-6 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday, the Boston Bruins' momentum coming into Friday night’s game against the Red Wings was quickly crushed.
The Bruins found themselves down 2-0 early and then 5-1 after two periods of play, eventually losing to the Red Wings 6-1 in the first game of a home-and-home series that will conclude Sunday afternoon in Detroit. The Red Wings got two goals from Todd Bertuzzi and a goal and two assists from Henrik Zetterberg as they routed the Bruins at TD Garden. David Krejci had the lone goal for the Bruins in a game they will try to avenge at Joe Louis Arena on Sunday.
Prime letdown game -- Yes, the Bruins were playing an elite team in the Red Wings, but after the brawl-filled, high-scoring win over archrival Montreal on Wednesday night, Friday night’s game had solid letdown potential. And that’s just what happened for the Black and Gold. The Red Wings are probably the best puck-possession team in the NHL and they had the Bruins scrambling from the opening faceoff, taking a 1-0 lead 1:10 into the game. Just as they were after beating Dallas on Feb. 3 in a fight-filled 4-1 win and then losing 2-0 to San Jose two days later, the Bruins were flat Friday. Against a team like Detroit, that means you’re in for a long night, as it turned out to be for the Bruins.
Rask struggles -- Playing for the first time since he helped the Bruins beat Dallas 4-1 with a 33-save performance at TD Garden on Feb. 3, Tuukka Rask looked more like he hadn’t played in a month. He allowed two goals in the first 3:10 and then two in a 24-second span late in the second period. Rask allowed five goals on 19 shots total, and that was enough for Bruins coach Claude Julien, who gave him the hook in favor of Tim Thomas for the third period. While many goalies couldn’t have shut down the Wings with the way they played Friday night, Rask did have a an off-night.
Can’t win against the West, can’t win the Cup -- If the Bruins truly have Stanley Cup aspirations this season, they will need to figure out how to beat Western Conference teams more. After Friday’s loss to Detroit, the Bruins have lost three of their past four games against Western Conference teams and are now 3-6-2 against the West. Boston thrives on a tight defensive system that tries to use physicality and fore checking to create turnovers and offense, but if the Bruins can’t hang with the speed that most Western teams possess -- or in the case of a team like Detroit, the puck-possession -- they will be doomed if they make the finals.
Krejci breaks out of goal drought -- David Krejci had been playing well as of late with a three-point effort against Montreal on Wednesday and six points in his past five games. But all of those points were assists, and entering Friday night’s game, Krejci hadn’t lit the lamp in 20 games. With the Bruins on a power play late in the first period, Krejci snapped his goal-less streak by taking a beautiful feed from Milan Lucic at 17:53 of the opening frame. Krejci now has eight goals and 39 points this season.
Penalty kill sliding -- One of the Bruins' trademarks throughout the season has been their ability to shut down opposing power plays. But as of late, the penalty kill has struggled. On Wednesday, the Bruins allowed five power-play goals on eight Montreal attempts, and on Friday, Boston allowed two goals on the man-advantage as the Red Wings went 2-for-6.
Up Next -- The Bruins travel to Detroit for the tail end of their home-and-home with the Red Wings on Sunday at Joe Louis Arena (12:30 p.m. ET).