The Bruins recovered nicely from Saturday’s embarrassing loss to the Blue Jackets, as they took a 5-2 victory over the Red Wings Monday at TD Garden to give them victories in three of their last four games.
Boston made do with a relatively scarce roster, as both Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron missed the game with undisclosed injuries and Matt Fraser was lost to the Oilers earlier in the day on waivers. Matt Lindblad, recalled after Fraser was claimed by Edmonton, dressed in his second NHL game of the season.
Though Boston relented after a strong push to open the game, the B’s gained much-needed separation with a third-period Seth Griffith goal after Detroit had cut their lead to one late in the second period. Chris Kelly scored an empty netter to seal the victory.
The win showed, at the very least, that the Bruins do have another gear. Though they didn’t sustain it throughout the night, they found it long enough to wrest two points from a divisional opponent.
Here are four more things we learned:
BRUINS OWN THE FIRST
The Bruins took the ice Monday clearly aware that they were without two of their best forwards. Their push to make up for the absences of Lucic and Bergeron translated into puck possession dominance and overwhelming victories in puck battles.
Most importantly, Boston scored three goals in the first period, marking the first time they’ve done so all season.
The only players with a negative even-strength Corsi in the first period were Campbell and linemates Jordan Caron and Daniel Paille. Then again, Campbell scored after being sent out as the extra attacker on a delayed penalty call, so there really wasn’t much not to like about the first period.
SODERBERG LINE DOMINANT
Claude Julien‘s biggest fear is the thought of splitting up Carl Soderberg, Loui Eriksson and Chris Kelly. Monday was the latest example as to why.
The Soderberg line was simply dominant against Detroit’s third line of Darren Helm between Johan Franzen and Gustav Nyquist while also outworking Detroit’s second line on a first-period possession that led to a delayed penalty on which extra attacker Gregory Campbell scored. Soderberg would add a goal of his own shortly after off a nice feed from Eriksson behind the net.
Soderberg had six shots on goal in the game, which tied a career-high accomplished once last season.
SMITH AND KREJCI: TOGETHER A LAST
Reilly Smith got his first look as David Krejci‘s right wing Monday night due to undisclosed injuries to Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic that kept both players out of the lineup.
The trio of Krejci between Brad Marchand and Smith had quick success, as Smith scored his ninth goal of the season thanks to some nice work along the wall from Dougie Hamilton and solid battling in front of the net from Marchand. The line combined for seven shots on goal in the first period, with Krejci posting a game-best plus-10 even strength Corsi over the first 20 minutes.
GRIFFITH BACK ON THE BOARD
Seth Griffith scored his first goal since Nov. 15, finishing off a wonderfully patient play by Krejci during a third-period power play for the B’s.
The goal was Griffith’s sixth of the season, as he scored five goals in a 12-game span while serving as Krejci’s linemate earlier in the season but struggled to both produce and get significant minutes without Krejci. He had gone 10 games without a goal.