It doesn’t take him long but he is magic and he performed it Friday night at the TD Garden. Detroit Red Wings Pavel Datsyuk scored the only goal, in highlight fashion, pulling the puck from behind and wrists a shot between the legs of Doug Hamilton and over the pad and under the glove of Tuukka Rask in game one of their series with the Boston Bruins. Tight checking was the word from both Coaches after the game along with it being an even game. But it was the “world class player” as Detroit Coach Mike Babcock put it talking about Datsyuk, “he’s coming back from an injury, but he can still can do some very good things and he knows how to play without the puck’. But when he has the puck is when he can make you look silly.
For the Bruins, it was a few uncharacteristic things that can make the difference between winning and losing. Boston lost the faceoff battle, losing 55 percent of the draws. David Krejci 2-for-8 and Carl Soderberg 3-for-8. If you lose faceoffs, it generally means you spend the next 13-20 seconds chasing and trying to gain possession of the puck. Oh, and the usually reliable Patrice Bergeron was at 52 percent but did lose 10 of 11 draws.
At times, especially in the second period, Detroit’s forechecking hemmed the Bruins in their own end as the Wings kept fighting for space but Rask was sharp and neither team could score and you knew this was going to be one of those games that would be decided on a mistake or a great play. It was the latter as Datsyuk entered the Bruins zone and Justin Abdelkader crashing the lane and into Hamilton causing the screen and just a great shot by a great player.
Yes, it’s only one game and it was at home, but we’ve seen this script before albeit not with this team. A team that plays a totally different style than the Bruins have face in the playoffs in a while. Everyone spoke of Detroit’s speed before the series, however, nothing in Friday’s game had anyone afraid of it. The Bruins had no trouble with the speed of the the Red Wings. Boston had trouble finishing the scoring chances they had on Jimmy Howard. Stating the obvious, if you don’t score, you cannot win and the line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci, and Jarome Iginla had but four shots on net. That’s just not acceptable.
So Happy Easter everyone. Get those sunrise services out of the way. Get your dinner early and get your beverage of choice and your easy chair ready for Sunday afternoon’s game two. The Bruins look even things up and get by that tight checking and solid goaltending before heading to Joe Louis Arena where they don’t win too often.