The Detroit Red Wings were outshot, 42-16, on Tuesday, but picked up the, 2-1, win against the Boston Bruins on the road at TD Garden for their 3,000th win in franchise history since joining the National Hockey League as an expansion team ahead of the 1926-27 season.
Alex Nedeljkovic (7-3-3, 2.58 goals-against average, .923 save percentage in 15 games played) made 41 saves on 42 shots against in the win for the Red Wings.
Linus Ullmark (5-4-0, 2.68 goals-against average, .911 save percentage in nine games played) stopped 14 out of 16 shots faced in the loss for the Bruins.
Boston fell to 11-8-0 (22 points) on the season and remain in 5th place in the Atlantic Division, while Detroit improved to 11-9-3 (25 points) and increased their lead over the B’s for 4th place in the Atlantic.
Tuesday night marked the final game at TD Garden between these two teams in the regular season as the last two matchups in their 2021-22 season series are at Little Caesars Arena on Jan. 2, 2022, and April 5, 2022.
Both teams are now 1-1-0 in their four-game regular season series.
The Bruins were without the services of Anton Blidh (upper body), Brad Marchand (suspension) and even head coach, Bruce Cassidy (COVID-19 protocol), on Tuesday.
Blidh sustained an injury in Sunday night’s, 3-2, win against the Vancouver Canucks, while Marchand was suspended three games for slew-footing Canucks defender, Oliver Ekman-Larsson (no penalty was called on the play, but a hearing for Marchand was announced on Monday).
For the sixth time in his career and first time since 2018, Marchand was suspended and will miss Boston’s matchups against Detroit, at Nashville and against Tampa before being eligible to return on the road in Vancouver.
In all, Marchand will have missed at least 22 games in his career due to suspensions.
Cassidy was placed in COVID protocol hours ahead of Tuesday night’s matchup with the Red Wings as B’s General Manager, Don Sweeney, spoke to reporters about Cassidy, Jake DeBrusk’s trade request and more.
Sweeney added that Cassidy has mild symptoms and that assistant coach, Joe Sacco, would take over primary coaching duties for Boston against the Red Wings, while Bob Essensa and Kim Brandvold would take on a little more responsibility in their roles with Cassidy in COVID-19 protocol and Chris Kelly currently away from the team.
Kelly is expected to return before the weekend.
Meanwhile, the Providence Bruins (AHL) have an ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and are shutdown for the time being, so Boston cannot call anyone up from the Providence staff or players in the interim.
Out of necessity, the Bruins switched up their lines against Detroit with Taylor Hall moving up to Marchand’s spot on the first line left wing with Patrice Bergeron at center and David Pastrnak on the right wing.
Nick Foligno was promoted to the second line left wing slot alongside Charlie Coyle and Craig Smith.
Trent Frederic centered the third line with Tomáš Nosek at left wing and Karson Kuhlman at right wing, while DeBrusk, Erik Haula and Curtis Lazar comprised the fourth line.
Boston made no changes to their defensive pairings and Jeremy Swayman served as Ullmark’s backup on Tuesday night.
Connor Clifton was the only healthy scratch for the Bruins in the press box against Detroit.
Not much was happening in the opening frame as both teams haphazardly skated up and down the ice, occasionally firing a shot at the opposing goaltender.
There were no goals and no penalties in the first period.
Boston outshot Detroit, 8-5, as the two teams went back to their respective dressing rooms for the first intermission.
The Red Wings held the advantage in blocked shots (3-2), takeaways (5-2), hits (13-12) and faceoff win percentage (57-43), while the Bruins led in giveaways (5-4).
Neither team had an opportunity on the power play heading into the middle frame (as, again, there were no penalties in the first period).
Detroit made the most of a line change when Pius Suter carefully awaited his teammate’s departure from the playing surface before hopping over the boards and onto the ice as the puck strolled past the Red Wings’ bench.
Suter fed Filip Zadina a lead pass into the attacking zone where Zadina (4) crashed the net with a forehand, backhand, elevated shot past Ullmark to give Detroit the game’s first goal at 5:03 of the second period.
Suter (5) had the only assist on Zadina’s goal as the Red Wings jumped out to a, 1-0, lead.
Moments later, Jakub Zboril inadvertently took out referee, Marc Joannette’s, legs from underneath him with an errant stick as the two were vying for the same ice to get around each other (well, Zboril around Joannette and Joannette out of the way of the play entirely).
Joannette went down awkwardly and suffered a lower body injury as he had to be helped off the ice by his fellow officials.
Tuesday night’s action would finish with only one ref (Kendrick Nicholson) assisted by two linesmen (Kiel Murchison and Brad Kovachik).
Late in the period, Foligno and Vladislav Namestnikov got tangled up by Boston’s bench and exchanged pleasantries yielding two-minute minors for roughing at 17:22.
After a pair of minutes at 4-on-4, the two teams resumed full even strength action.
In the dying seconds of the middle frame, Michael Rasmussen got a hold on Haula, but as time would expire the Bruins wouldn’t go on the power play until the third period.
Through 40 minutes of action at TD Garden on Tuesday, the B’s trailed the Red Wings, 1-0, on the scoreboard, despite outshooting Detroit, 25-10, including a, 17-5, advantage in the second period alone.
The Red Wings continued to lead in blocked shots (9-6), takeaways (8-3), hits (24-19) and faceoff win% (56-44), while the Bruins led in giveaways (12-5).
Neither team had witnessed a second on the power play, so both remained 0/0 on the skater advantage heading into the final frame.
The Bruins couldn’t muster anything on the power play that carried over from Rasmussen’s minor to kick things off in the third period.
Shortly thereafter, Gustav Lindström administered a swift cross check to Bergeron’s back and was assessed a minor infraction at 4:24 of the third period as a scrum ensued.
It didn’t take too long before Boston went on a 5-on-3 advantage courtesy of Marc Staal’s hooking infraction at 5:23 of the third period.
The B’s went to work on the two-skater advantage and quickly punished Detroit for being undisciplined to start the period as Charlie McAvoy worked the puck to Hall down low.
Hall patiently awaited for an open Pastrnak in his usual spot on the power play to setup Pastrnak (8) for the one-timer goal from the faceoff circle hashmark– tying the game, 1-1, in the process.
Hall (6) and McAvoy (11) had the only assists on Pastrnak’s power-play goal at 6:20 of the third period and the Bruins remained on the advantage for about 64 seconds longer at 5-on-4.
This time, however, the Red Wings managed to kill off the remainder of Staal’s minor.
Lazar tripped up Zadina at 8:23 of the third period and presented Detroit with their first power play of the night.
Boston’s penalty kill stood tall, however, and managed to escape the shorthanded action unscathed until the vulnerable minute after special teams play came back to bite them.
The Red Wings controlled a lengthy attacking zone possession that generated a shot attempt towards the net with traffic in front– deflecting off of a Bruin defender or a Detroit forward, no matter, but rebounding nevertheless to Staal (1) as the veteran defender crashed the net from the point– burying the puck behind Ullmark in the process.
Namestnikov (5) and Lindström (4) tallied the assists on Staal’s goal and the Red Wings pulled ahead, 2-1, at 11:33 of the third period.
With 1:30 remaining in the game, Sacco pulled Ullmark for an extra attacker.
After a stoppage with 28.6 seconds remaining Sacco used his timeout, but Boston couldn’t draw up a last second game-tying play.
At the final horn, Detroit had won, 2-1, despite finishing the night trailing the Bruins, 42-16, in shots on goal. Boston had a, 17-6, advantage in shots on net in the third period alone.
The Red Wings exited TD Garden with the lead in blocked shots (14-9) and faceoff win% (52-48), as well as their 3,000th win in franchise history, while the B’s finished the night leading in giveaways (17-9) and hits (30-28).
Detroit wrapped up Tuesday night’s action 0/1 on the skater advantage, while Boston went 1/3 on the power play.
The B’s fell to 1-5-0 (1-3-0 at home) when tied after the first period, 4-4-0 (3-2-0 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal and 2-5-0 (2-2-0 at home) when trailing after two periods this season.
The Red Wings, meanwhile, improved to 5-1-0 (2-1-0 on the road) when tied after one, 6-2-2 (3-2-1 on the road) when scoring first and 8-0-2 (2-0-1 on the road) when leading after the second period in 2021-22.
The Bruins begin the month of December with a one-off road game at Bridgestone Arena against the Nashville Predators on Thursday before returning home to host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.
Boston then has a few days off before hitting the road again for their regular Western Canada road trip with stops in Vancouver (Dec. 8th), Edmonton (Dec. 9th) and Calgary (Dec. 11th).