Detroit may have gotten the game-breaking bounce in Game 1, but on Sunday afternoon, everything was coming up Black and Gold.
It all started when rookie Justin Florek hawked an errant pass from Jimmy Howard, floating the game's first tally by the splitting keeper for an aggravatingly soft start to the scoring. Howard, who stonewalled the Bruins en route to a Game 1 shutout, was never able to recover.
Three minutes later, Reilly Smith made it 2-1, hammering home a rebound that squeaked through Howard's knees. For the rest of the game, the Detroit goalie was fighting the puck - which was evident as he looked up accusingly at his teammates after gloving a turnover chance from Carl Soderberg.That frustration spread from the crease outward, ultimately unraveling the typically fluid Wings.
The Bruins' increased physical play also factored into the frustration. Brendan Smith took the brunt of the abuse, being bullied left and right in the opening frame, which culminated in an embarrassing, GIF-worthy scrum with Zdeno Chara.
Best photo of the day so far. Zdeno Chara laughing off Brendan Smith. (Credit the Globe’s Jim Davis) pic.twitter.com/jvyFlW9AQl— Boston.com Sports (@BDCSports) April 20, 2014
Niklas Kronwall led the charge to reclaim the physical play for Detroit, nailing Reilly Smith with a signature hip check, but it was to no avail. The second period was even more vexing than the first.
Despite their ramped-up play on the body, Detroit's game failed mightily on special teams. Three consecutive powerplays in the middle stanza yielded nary a scoring chance for the Red Wings, who gave up a backbreaking goal to Milan Lucic right after a final flubbed PP attempt. It was only the Bruins' fourth shot of the period.
Less than five minutes later, in the third, Chara sealed the deal with the Bruins' second powerplay goal of the night. The Wings finished the game 0-for-6 with the extra man. The Bruins converted 50 percent of their chances, going 2-for-3 in 5-on-4 play despite coming up empty with the two-man advantage.
Inconsistent goaltending, flaccid special teams, and sub-par physical play all conspired for what was a fatally frustrating afternoon for Hockeytown's heroes. Game 2 was a statement game for the B's, and so long as they can continue to stifle the Wings in these phases of the game, the series should be in their hands.