Datsyuk goal lets Wings take flight over Bruins in playoff opener
BOSTON — Center Pavel Datsyuk broke a scoreless tie with a goal with 3:01 left in regulation and the Detroit Red Wings held on for a 1-0 win over the Boston Bruins on Friday night to take 1-0 lead in the opening round of Eastern Conference playoffs.
Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard made 25 saves while picking up the shutout as the eighth-seeded Red Wings won the series opener against the No. 1 seed and defending Eastern Conference champion Bruins.
Center Johan Franzen assisted on Datsyuk’s goal, which came just after Howard made his biggest save of the game on a tip by Bruins left winger Milan Lucic off a shot by right winger Jarome Iginla. The puck got through Howard, but he got just enough of it that it drifted wide of the left post and the Wings stormed the other way for the only goal of the game.
Datsyuk skated across the blue line after skillfully reaching back to collect a pass and beat Boston goalie Tuukka Rask with a snap shot low to the glove side.
Rask finished with 23 saves for the Bruins, who went 1-3 against Detroit during the regular season.
After two periods dominated by defense, the game opened up a little early in the third. Boston center Brad Marchand got free in the first minute for a shot from the left circle, which Howard steered away with a pad save. Rask answered a couple minutes later with a pad save on center Darren Helm from the slot 2:48 into the third.
Boston had its first power play with 14:43 remaining, but Howard preserved the shutout with a pair of strong saves.
The first two periods were full of tight checking and defense and the game remained scoreless. The Bruins and Red Wings had 16 shots apiece after 40 minutes as the defense continued to grow stronger at both ends.
After facing 10 shots in the first, Rask was hardly tested in the second as the Bruins held the Red Wings to just five shots on goal. Detroit was nearly as strong defensively, allowing only eight shots to reach Howard in the second.
The Red Wings had the only two power plays through the first two periods, but the Bruins penalty killers held Detroit to one shot on goal in the first and none in the second after Boston defenseman Torey Krug was called for a hold with 4:02 left in the second period.
The first period featured few scoring chances and lots of hitting, including one that drew the first penalty of the game when Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara was called for boarding Wings defenseman Brendan Smith with 3:52 left in the opening period. The Bruins easily killed off the penalty, holding Detroit to one shot before Chara left the penalty box, delivered a hit and went back to Boston’s bench.
NOTES: The Bruins held a moment of silence before the national anthem in honor of the victims and first-responders in the Boston Marathon bombings a year and three days before on April 15, 2013. ... The Original Six rivals are meeting for the eighth time in the playoffs, but first since 1957. The Bruins hold a 4-3 series edge. ... Detroit was without LW and team captain Henrik Zetterberg, who is still recovering from back surgery and is expected to miss the series. ... Boston RW Reilly Smith made his playoff debut against his brother, Brendan, a defenseman for the Red Wings.