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Datsyuk’s Late Heroics Topple Bruins in Game 1

Pavel Datsyuk

Well, it’s certainly not the start of the series that Bruins fans hoped for and expected.┬áThe Bruins team that finished 3rd in the league in goals was shutout by Jimmy Howard and the Detroit Red Wings, the lone goal of the game coming from an incredible individual effort by Pavel Datsyuk.

The Bruins have had a tendency under Claude Julien to struggle out of the gate in the first round and it looks like this year’s no different. Many confident B’s fans were calling for a 5 game washout of the Wings, but it doesn’t look like it’ll be that easy. Keep in mind that the first round series in the last three years have gone seven games.

The Bruins got off to a quick start tonight, rolling four lines and putting pressure on Howard early. He responded to the challenges however, and Detroit came back with some chances of their own. In the second period, the Wings seemed to carry the play and there were several spans of two to three minutes where the Bruins couldn’t even get the puck out of their zone, which is very unlikely for them.

They traded chances in the third period,and some late pressure by the Bruins, especially by the Krejci and Soderberg lines, really gave the Bruins some energy. There were three or four chances where they were this close but couldn’t find the back of the net. To be honest, I credit the Red Wings defense with this more than Howard himself. The Wings blueliners were playing smart, physical hockey and were willing to get down and block the shots.

In the end, it took an unbelievable Datsyuk goal to beat Rask with just over three minutes remaining. The Bruins pulled their goalie and called a great time out with forty seconds on the clock, but couldn’t capitalize on any scoring chances and the score remained 1-0.

Worried? I’m not. The Red Wings played a good game. This isn’t a typical “8th seed” team. However, the Bruins won the President’s trophy for a reason. We’ll bounce back from this relatively slow start just like we always go. I wouldn’t even be surprised if the Black and Gold came back and beat up on the Wings next game. Remind them who we are.

Additional thoughts:

  • Rask was at the top of his game tonight. First he made that toe save on Helm at point-blank range, and then he blocked a wraparound attempt that sent up cheers from the Garden crowd. We’re going to need more of that going forward from Tuukka.
  • The players lost to injury and the flu were really missed tonight. I actually liked Caron’s game for his limited role, but he can’t replicate the speed of Danny Paille. Miller was a much needed physical and energetic presence on the blue line. And even Chris Kelly, who has recently found some great chemistry with Soderberg and Eriksson, was missed tonight.
  • If you had told me Corey Potter would be starting a playoff game for us, I would have laughed. And yet here we are. Truth be told, however, he and Meszaros played pretty well tonight considering the circumstances. Pleasantly surprised there.
  • Also, this just in: Pavel Datsyuk is good. I mean like, really good.
  • Jimmy Howard can be beat. He still has a sub-.500 playoff record. I’d be shocked if the Bruins can’t get 2+ goals past him in every game for the rest of the series.
  • The Bruins didn’t generate a single shot on goal after Datysuk’s goal with 3:01 left. That’s a little disheartening.
  • Ultimately, my biggest takeaway from the game was that the Bruins need to step up their physical, nasty, “sonuvabitch” style of play. They didn’t do enough of it tonight to force Detroit to play their game. The Bruins are at their best when they’re pissed off and buzzing around like a swarm of angry hornets. We need some more energy and grit out there. It’s playoff hockey, remember?

The Bruins and Red Wings will face off again on Easter Sunday at 3:00 pm for Game 2.

About Tim Wirzburger - @burga17

Tim is a new contributor to Sports of Boston and couldn't be more excited. He'll be posting about the Bruins, Red Sox, and Fantasy Sports. He loves chatting with other fans so comment below or follow him at @Burga17.

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