The Detroit Red Wings’ 3-2 loss to the Boston Bruins Saturday was another reminder that being on the edge of the Eastern Conference playoff race is light years from being a Stanley Cup contender.
The Bruins set a new NHL record by reaching their 50th win in their 64th game. In establishing the new mark, they put on a tutorial for the Red Wings on what it’s like to know how to win no matter the circumstances.
This game was supposed to be an emotional reunion with former Red Wings player Tyler Bertuzzi. He was traded to Boston on March 3. But the Bertuzzi story line never really played out. He had no points, three shots on goal, and was -1.
The Bertuzzi angle was a footnote on a day when the Bruins gave Detroit a lesson on what it takes to be high level NHL team.
The Red Wings jumped off to quick 2-0 and the Bruins rose up in the second period and tied the game.
That kind of game. pic.twitter.com/bOKDTldev7
— George Malik (@georgemalik) March 11, 2023
The Red Wings regained their composure in the third period, but Magnus Hellberg gave up one bad rebound and Garnet Hathaway made sure he tapped it into the net for the game-winner. A contender found a way to win on a day they could have lost.
That’s what the Red Wings are still trying to figure out how to do. They are improved this season, they can be hard to play against it. The Red Wings can be competitive, but they still have trouble closing the deal. Their consistency isn’t there yet.
Red Wings Led 2-0
Detroit has now lost seven out of eight games and are falling from the playoff race. The NHL draft lottery is becoming more important. However, the Red Wings’ odds of winning will be tiny no matter what they do the rest of the season.
The Red Wings did some good things against the Bruins, just not enough of them. They generated a shorthanded goal (Andrew Copp) and a power play goal (Alex Chiasson) in the opening five minutes of the game. Detroit hasn’t had a shorthanded goal and power play in the first five minutes since 1965 when Norm Ullman and Gordie Howe got that done.
Boston had 36 shot attempts, plus 14 scoring chances in the second period. The Bruins out-shot the Red Wings 18-2. But Detroit’s goalie Magnus Hellberg played sharply. He kept the Bruins off the scoreboard until the 12:43 mark of the second when Boston defenseman Hampus Lindholm found the net. Patrice Bergeron scored on a power play goal with 5:49 left in the period.
The Bruins power play opportunity wiped out what appeared to be a goal by Dylan Larkin that would have put Detroit up 3-1. He was called for slashing the stick out of a Bruins’ hand. The Red Wings weren’t pleased with the officiating in this game.
The Bruins played a patient third period, waiting for their opportunity. When Hathaway got it, he took advantage of it.