Highlights from Bruins' 4-2 loss to Red Wings

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FINAL SCORE: Red Wings 4, Bruins 2

FROM HAGGERTY

David Backes had no luck earlier in the year offensively, and no he’s getting all the good luck. He flipped a backhanded puck at the net from the sideboards in the closing seconds of the first, and it ended up bouncing off the stick of Dennis Cholowski and then into the net. Backes is getting rewarded for playing stronger and more aggressively in the offensive zone, and this was just another example of that. The hockey gods were smiling on that one.

The Bruins and Red Wings had all the fixings for an old time hockey moment when Tyler Bertuzzi and Brad Marchand started going at each other toward the end of the second period. Colby Cave stepped in to go after Bertuzzi, and then things nearly broke down into a line brawl as even Jimmy Howard and Tuukka Rask came close to going after each other. Instead the refs wouldn’t allow the goalies to engage and once again the kinder, gentler NHL prevailed where a little barbarism would have been fun to watch play out. Ah well.

The nastiness between the Bruins and Red Wings started early in the second period when Luke Witkowski smoked David Krejci with an open ice hit in the neutral zone. It took nearly a minute before Joakim Nordstrom, of all people, dropped the gloves and challenged Witkowski, and it was over quickly. But that’s two games in a row where Krejci has been green-lit by huge hits in the neutral zone, and been caught with his head down in the train tracks. This version of the Bruins doesn’t scare anybody and opponents are showing it by taking runs at Boston’s best players. 

In two games since returning to Boston, rookie Ryan Donato looks like he’s learned his lessons at the AHL level. Donato scored a shootout game-winner in his first game back on Thursday night and scored on a sniped power play strike on Saturday night after getting a slick cross-ice feed from David Pastrnak. Donato led the Bruins with six shots on net in the 4-2 loss and was one of Boston’s most active offensive forwards while also putting a puck in the net. It’s a far cry from Donato’s first stint this season where he only managed a single goal and saw his minutes and confidence dwindle until he was sent down to Providence. Now Donato looks much more like the player the Bruins thought they’d have at the beginning of the season.

The Bruins did get a five-on-five goal with David Backes flipping one in backhanded from the side boards with the benefit of a good bounce. But they are still badly in need of more even strength goals as they’re becoming far too reliant on the power play to do all the offensive work for them. With bodies out of the lineup it’s really starting to catch up to them, and their placement in the even strength goal category tells the tale for the Black and Gold. They need to start finding a way to manufacture 5-on-5 offense instead of relying on lucky bounces and power play help. 

BOX SCORE

BRUINS RECORD: 14-8-4 (32 points), 4th in Atlantic Division

BACKES GETS THE GOOD BOUNCE

OLD TIME HOCKEY!

https://twitter.com/mkmolnar/status/1069045525561966592

DONATO TIES IT AT 2

https://twitter.com/mkmolnar/status/1069054375010668544

UP NEXT

TUESDAY: at Florida, 7 p.m. (NESN)

THURSDAY: at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m. (NESN)

SATURDAY: vs. Maple Leafs, 7 p.m. (NESN)

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