The Boston Bruins lost a tightly contested game against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night, as the Red Wings won by a score of 2-1 at TD Garden behind goalie Alex Nedeljkovic. This was the fourth home loss of the Bruins’ season and their third home loss in the last four home games.
A big storyline going into this game was the absence of head coach Bruce Cassidy. The Bruins put Cassidy on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol earlier in the day, so he was absent from the bench for the game. Assistant coach Joe Sacco took over as coach for the time being.
Another big factor in this one was the absence of Brad Marchand, the Bruins’ leading goal-scorer and point leader. Marchand was suspended three games for slew-footing Oliver Ekman-Larsson last game against the Vancouver Canucks.
The first period didn’t produce much of anything as no goals were scored and no penalties were taken for either side.
The second period saw more of both as the Red Wings scored the first goal of the game and three players took minor penalties. 5:03 into the second, Filip Zadina scored his fourth goal of the season, assisted by Pius Suter. Zadina’s goal came off of an odd-man rush from a Charlie Coyle turnover forced by Suter.
Nick Foligno and Vladislav Namestnikov also got two-minute roughing penalties late in the period which set up a four-on-four. Michael Rasmussen also committed a holding penalty late in the period which gave the B’s a power play to start the third period.
The Bruins outshot the Red Wings 34-11 in the final two periods, but still couldn’t capitalize on their scoring chances. David Pastrnak tied it up at 1-1, scoring his team-leading fourth power play goal of the year. The Red Wings gifted the Bruins three power plays in a matter of six minutes which led to the Pastrnak goal.
The game wouldn’t be tied for very long, however. Marc Staal, the 15-year veteran who committed the last Red Wings penalty, scored a go-ahead goal with 8:27 remaining. Mike Reilly was called on a penalty for cross-checking which led Dylan Larkin to skate onto the ice as the extra attacker. Namestnikov threw a pass in front of the net that Michael Rasmussen tipped and Staal scored on which gave Detroit the late lead. It was Staal’s first of the season and the 47th of his career as well as his seventh career game-winning goal.
Arguably the man who had the best performance didn’t get credited as any of the three stars for this game. Nedeljkovic tied his season-high in saves with 41 and finished with his highest career save percentage in a non-shutout start (.976). The three stars were given to Namestnikov, Staal and Pastrnak respecitvely, but Nedeljkovic easily could’ve been awarded one. Nedeljkovic continues his solid season as he now has a .923 save percentage, 2.70 GAA and 7-3-3 record.
Linus Ullmark didn’t face a lot of shots but could’ve played better. Ullmark stopped 14-of-16 shots for a mediocre .875 save percentage. His start put him at .911 save percentage, 2.76 GAA and a 5-4-0 record.
There were a lot of Bruins’ stories going into this game that could have affected the outcome. First, Cassidy getting COVID and his assistant coming in to coach the team is far from ideal. Then, not having Marchand definitely hindered the offense in terms of scoring chances. Lastly, Jake DeBrusk suiting up after requesting a trade seemed to be something that could have affected the team as well. All in all, the news surrounding the Bruins in recent days likely had an effect in their chemistry and could have contributed to the loss.
The Bruins will look to bounce back Thursday night in Nashville against the Predators. Puck drop will take place in Bridgestone Arena at 8:00 pm. The Predators will be coming off a 6-0 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets where Filip Forsberg scored four goals in two periods.
(Photo by M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)