The Boston Bruins scored five unanswered goals after giving up the game’s first goal to beat the Detroit Red Wings, 5-1, at Little Caesars Arena on Sunday.
Usual suspects, Patrice Bergeron and Charlie McAvoy, each had a goal, while Erik Haula, Trent Frederic and Tomáš Nosek chipped in tallies of their own– ending scoring droughts of varying lengths.
Jeremy Swayman (8-5-2, 2.20 goals-against average, .920 save percentage in 15 games played) made 23 saves on 24 shots against en route to the win for Boston.
Detroit netminder, Alex Nedeljkovic (9-8-3, 2.89 goals-against average, .913 save percentage in 22 games played), stopped 32 out of 37 shots faced in the loss.
The B’s improved to 16-10-2 (34 points) on the season and jumped ahead of the Red Wings for 4th place in the Atlantic Division standings.
For the second time this season, Boston is in a playoff position– holding onto the second wild card in the Eastern Conference as of this writing.
Detroit, meanwhile, fell to 15-15-3 (33 points) and dropped to 5th place in the Atlantic as a result.
Boston is 2-1-0 against the Red Wings this season with one final matchup remaining in their regular season series scheduled for April 5th in Detroit.
The Bruins were without the services of Jakub Zboril (right ACL), Karson Kuhlman (COVID protocol) and Curtis Lazar (undisclosed) on Sunday, while head coach Bruce Cassidy made one change to his lineup as a result.
Oskar Steen went in place of Lazar on the fourth line, having been recalled from the Providence Bruins (AHL) to the taxi squad after Saturday afternoon’s, 4-3, overtime win against the Buffalo Sabres and subsequently recalled from the taxi squad on Sunday prior to the warmup in Detroit.
Cassidy made no other changes to his lineup with Swayman getting the start over Linus Ullmark after Ullmark got the win in Saturday’s matinée.
John Moore (taxi squad) and Anton Blidh were the only healthy scratches for Boston on Sunday.
Robby Fabbri interfered with Brandon Carlo away from the puck and presented the Bruins with the afternoon’s first power play at 1:13 of the first period but the B’s couldn’t muster anything on the ensuing skater advantage.
A few minutes after Fabbri cut a rut to the box, Nosek skated off to the visiting penalty box for catching Tyler Bertuzzi with a high stick at 4:20 (whether Nosek actually made contact with his face or not– Bertuzzi might have clipped himself, though Nosek may have initiated it with a stick lift).
The Red Wings didn’t score on their first power play of the afternoon, regardless.
Midway through the opening frame, Danny DeKeyser sent a shot on goal that rebounded off of Swayman towards the sideboards before Bertuzzi (13) intercepted the loose puck and buried it in the twine to give Detroit a, 1-0, lead.
DeKeyser (3) and Dylan Larkin (15) tallied the assists on Bertuzzi’s goal– his fourth in four games– at 11:28 of the first period.
A few minutes after Bertuzzi scored, Boston answered.
Brad Marchand battled along the boards as Craig Smith came away with the puck before setting up Bergeron (11) for the one-timer goal while crashing the slot.
Smith (6) and Marchand (19) had the assists as the Bruins tied the game, 1-1, at 14:47 of the first period.
Late in the period, Nick Foligno shoved Filip Hronek in front of the net and delivered a swift cross check as the two escalated their battle.
Foligno, as a result, received a minor infraction for cross checking at 19:32 and the ensuing power play spilled over into the middle frame.
Detroit, however, didn’t capitalize on the skater advantage that was stretched over two periods with the first intermission in-between.
After 20 minutes, the game was tied, 1-1, despite Boston leading in shots on goal, 15-6.
The Bruins also led in blocked shots (6-4) and giveaways (2-1), while the Red Wings led in hits (9-6) and faceoff win percentage (53-47).
Both teams had one takeaway each and were powerless on their respective power plays as Detroit was 0/2 and Boston was 0/1.
Marchand got tangled up with Vladislav Namestnikov early in the middle frame as the two exchanged blows, slashes and ultimately fists, yielding majors for fighting and minors for slashing at 2:59 of the second period.
It was the sixth fighting major of the season for Boston and first since Foligno fought New York Islanders forward, Matt Martin, on Dec. 16th at UBS Arena.
A few minutes later, pleasantries continued to be trending in the action as Swayman delivered a quick blow to Sam Gagner, resulting in a little retaliatory effort on Gagner’s behalf, as well as 4-on-4 action for two minutes as each player received unsportsmanlike conduct minors.
Haula served Swayman’s penalty, while Gagner served his own at 5:24 of the second period.
Shortly after both teams got their skater back from the sin bin, the Red Wings wired a shot wide of the net and around the glass where Haula was waiting by the blue line to break through the neutral zone.
Haula (2) sped down the ice and free from any defender before crossing into the attacking zone and zipping a wrist shot over Nedeljkovic’s high glove side to put the Bruins ahead, 2-1, at 7:37 on an unassisted effort.
It was also his first goal in 15 games.
About a minute later, Frederic cross checked Moritz Seider and took his trip to the penalty box at 8:47, but the Red Wings went scoreless on the resulting power play yet again.
Late in the second period, Jake DeBrusk caught Joe Veleno with a hook and brought the Detroit forward down before being sent to the box at 15:50.
Once more, the Red Wings went powerless on the power play, however.
The B’s carried a, 2-1, lead on the scoreboard through two periods and led in shots on goal, 23-16, despite being outshot by Detroit, 10-8, in the middle frame alone.
Boston also maintained control of blocked shots (11-5), while the Red Wings led in takeaways (2-1), giveaways (3-2), hits (16-9) and faceoff win% (54-46).
Neither team could buy a power play goal heading into the second intermission as Detroit was 0/4 and the Bruins went 0/1 on the skater advantage.
Boston got out of the gate on all cylinders to start the final frame.
Taylor Hall sent a pass to McAvoy (5) as the Bruins defender pinched in from the point on the right side for a catch and release goal over the glove from close range to extend the Bruins’ lead to two-goals at 5:59 of the third period.
Hall (10) and Charlie Coyle (8) notched the assists on McAvoy’s goal as Boston took a, 3-1, lead.
Almost two minutes later, Frederic (1) buried a rebound off of a shot by Mike Reilly from the point while Nedeljkovic was left playing catch up and extended the B’s lead to three goals at 7:55 of the third period.
Reilly (3) and Nosek (3) were credited with the assists on Frederic’s first goal of the season as the Bruins pulled ahead, 4-1, with a pair of goals in a span of 1:56.
Minutes later, Boston ended up scoring three goals in less than five minutes (4:41, to be exact) as Steen sent Nosek (3) into the attacking zone for a shot that slipped through Nedeljkovic’s five-hole at 10:39.
Steen (3) and McAvoy (15) had the assists on Nosek’s first goal since Nov. 20th in Philadelphia and the B’s led, 5-1.
About half a minute later, DeKeyser was sent to the box for holding, but the Bruins couldn’t capitalize on the resulting power play at 11:01.
Detroit resumed full strength then quickly went back on the penalty kill due to a minor infraction when Namestnikov tripped up DeBrusk at 13:15.
Once more, however, Boston didn’t score on the ensuing skater advantage.
At the final horn, the Bruins had sealed the deal on back-to-back wins on back-to-back days with a, 5-1, victory on the road in Detroit.
The B’s left Little Caesars Arena with the lead in shots on goal, 37-24– including a, 14-8, advantage in the third period alone– as well as the lead in blocked shots (14-10).
The Red Wings, meanwhile, exited their own building leading in giveaways (4-2), hits (26-15) and faceoff win% (51-49).
Neither team scored a power play goal on Sunday afternoon as Detroit went 0/4 and Boston went 0/3 on the skater advantage.
The Bruins improved to 6-6-2 (2-3-1 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 2-5-1 (1-2-1 on the road) when tied after the first period and 11-1-0 (8-0-0 on the road) when leading after two periods this season.
The Red Wings fell to 9-4-2 (6-2-1 at home) when scoring first, 8-3-0 (6-2-0 at home) when tied after one and 2-12-1 (0-4-1 at home) when trailing after the second period in 2021-22.
The Bruins return home to host the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday and Minnesota Wild on Thursday before hitting the road for a pair of games next Saturday (Jan. 8th) in Tampa against the Lightning and next Monday (Jan. 10th) in Washington, D.C. against the Capitals.
Boston is then currently scheduled to begin a seven-game homestand starting on Jan. 12th in a game that was originally scheduled to be played in Montréal against the Canadiens before the rise of the Omicron variant restricted indoor venue attendance across Canada.