Detroit Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde has said, more that once, that the top teams in the Atlantic Division are not going to fall back to the Red Wings in the standings. The Red Wings will need to track them down to make the playoffs.
The Boston Bruins affirmed that thinking Saturday night by downing the Red Wings 4-1 on the strength of the same stellar two-way game that allowed them to set a new NHL record of 65 wins and 135 points last season. Preseason predictions had the Bruins taking a half-step backwards because they lost Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci to retirement. But there’s been no evidence of that. They are 7-0-1 in their first eight games. No reigning President’s Trophy winner has started the next season with that level of accomplishment.
“This was a special teams game,” Lalonde told Bally Sports. “They outscored us 1-0 on the power they generated nine chances, four on their power play, and we generated one.”
— Bally Sports Detroit (@BallySportsDET) October 29, 2023
The Bruins were 1-for-4 on the power play and the Red Wings were 0-for-4. Detroit has been feeding off their power play. Even after the 0-for-4, they still boast a 34.9% efficiency.
“It was our special teams, especially our power play let us down,” Lalonde said. “…just one night when we didn’t execute.”
Joe Veleno scored his fifth goal of the season to cut Boston’s lead to 2-1 early in the third period. But a penalty shot goal by David Pastrnak and his empty-net goal sealed Detroit’s fate.
The Bruins showed off their usual strong defensive game, coupled with quality goaltending to beat Detroit. After launching the season with a 5-1 record, the Red Wings now have lost three in a row. After averaging almost five goals per game over their first seven games, they have scored one goal in each of their last two games.
Dylan Larkin’s point-scoring streak was halted at eight games. With the Red Wings scheduled to play a road game against the Islanders Monday, they need other players to step up offensively. J.T. Compher has no points in his past six games. He had no shots in three of those games. Compher is -4 in those games. Michael Rasmussen, who matured into a critical player for Detroit last season, has started slowly with two points in nine games. David Perron has no points in his past three games and is -4 in his past two games.
Over the past two games, facing quality goalkeepers, the Red Wings have looked more like last season’s Red Wings who frequently struggled to score goals.