After getting shut out in Game 1, the Boston Bruins responded as the best team in hockey should, beating the Detroit Red Wings, 4-1, in Game 2 on Sunday to even the series.
“It was good for them,” Bruins radio play-by-play voice Dave Goucher said on Ferrall on the Bench. “I think they felt they played more Bruins-like hockey in that win, no question about it – especially in the first period. They were terrific the first 10 or 12 minutes and got out to a 2-0 lead. Second period, they were not as good but still managed to get out of it with a 3-1 lead.”
Justin Florek and Reilly Smith found the net for Boston in the first period, while Milan Lucic gave the Bruins a 3-1 lead in the second. Zdeno Chara capped the scoring with a power-play goal less than three minutes into the third period.
Boston now heads to Detroit for Game 3 on Tuesday.
“I don’t know if (Sunday) was a must-win, but they wanted to play better, there’s no question about that,” Goucher said. “And they were able to accomplish two things: play better and win the game, so now they’re all even heading into (Tuesday) night.”
A rather comical scene unfolded in Game 2 when Detroit’s Brendan Smith seemingly tried to provoke Chara into a fight. Chara, who is 6-9, laughed in Smith’s face.
“Look, I give Smith full marks for not backing down,” Goucher said. “I also think at the end of the day he was probably pretty happy that the linesman jumped in there. There’s not many guys in the league who would want to mess with Chara. I don’t know why you would. But it was pretty comical to have Chara kind of laughing at that whole scene.
“And I think in a broader scope, it’s more how the Bruins want to play,” Goucher continued. “They’re better when they get in some scrums after whistles and when they get a little antagonistic. And there wasn’t a lot of that in Game 1. So that was kind of part of a bigger picture of how I think the Bruins would like to see it played from here on out.”
A lot of people are giving the Red Wings a fighting chance in this series, mainly because they took three of four from Boston during the regular season. Goucher, however, isn’t overly concerned.
“I don’t know really how much any of that matters,” he said of the regular-season games. “I just don’t. At the end of the day, I think the Bruins are pretty confident in how they play.”
They also know this isn’t 1998 or 2008.
“A lot of (the talk about the Red Wings), to me, is (based) more on their pedigree,” Goucher said. “They haven’t got past the second round in five years, but there’s this impression maybe that they make deep runs every year. The reality is lately that really hasn’t been the case. They had a 3-1 lead against Chicago last year and lost in the second round.
“They do have some terrific young players. Gustav Nyquist is a big reason they’re even in the playoffs. He really carried the team the second half of the year. Tomas Tatar is a terrific young player as well. They got Danny DeKeyser on the blue line who’s really emerged since signing with them late last year.
“But some of their key guys that are out – especially someone like (Henrik) Zetterberg – is just an enormous, enormous loss for them. So the fact that they’re even in the playoffs, to me, is impressive. But that being said, the Bruins have a lot of guys that have done a lot, too. And by and large, they’re healthy.”
Ultimately, Goucher sees Boston winning the series.
“They were much better (Sunday) in terms of generating speed through the neutral zone and wearing Detroit down,” he said. “That’s a big part of the Bruins’ success. They’re a big, hard, heavy team to play against. And they didn’t have a lot of sustained attack in the offensive zone in Game 1. They had a lot more (in Game 2).
“When it’s all said and done, I don’t think there’s a lot of secrets anymore,” Goucher continued. “Every game is on television coast to coast. I think it’s just a matter of, this is what we do, this is what they do and you hope that you can do what you do best and outplay the other team on a night-to-night basis.”