The Bruins will look to avoid falling into an 0-2 hole to begin the first round when they face the Red Wings Sunday afternoon at TD Garden.
Coming off a 1-0 loss in Game 1, they might be getting healthier, as Matt Bartkowski and Kevan Miller practiced Saturday after missing Friday’s game. If both players can return to the lineup, they will replace Andrej Meszaros and Corey Potter, respectively.
Yet even if they don’t play and Daniel Paille and Chris Kelly remain out as expected, the B’s should still be able to handle the eighth-seeded Red Wings. Jimmy Howard was strong for the Red Wings in earning a 25-save shutout, but if the Bruins can possess the puck more and generate more offense, they can make things way harder on him Sunday than they did Friday.
Here’s what they should look to do to take Game 2:
Krejci line needs to take advantage of matchups
If Patrice Bergeron‘s line is relatively quiet this series, it would be understandable given that they are matchup up against Pavel Datsyuk‘s line. That should mean better opportunities for the Lucic-Krejci-Iginla line playing against Detroit’s second line of Riley Sheahan between Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist.
While the Sheahan line didn’t generate much offense against the B’s either (see below), that line should be one that Krejci and friends can exploit, but they didn’t get a Grade A chance until late in the game on Milan Lucic‘s redirect of a Jarome Iginla pass.
That Krejci line even saw a couple shifts against Luke Glendening’s line, which should also be a mismatch, and couldn’t take advantage. Krejci is known as being one of the best playoff performers in the NHL, so you have to think that line won’t have many repeat performances of Game 1.
Turn in the same defensive performance
Before you get carried away with the fact that the B’s lost Game 1, keep in mind that they held Detroit to one goal. Offense was the problem, not defense.
Detroit had the puck more than Boston, but it wasn’t like they spent the entire game peppering Tuukka Rask.
In fact, the scoring chances seemed about even by the end of the game. On Saturday, Mike Babcock said his coaching staff had the scoring chances being in Game 1, with each team getting nine chances.
Though Tomas Tatar’s five shots on goal were the most of any player in the game, the Bruins were able to limit Daniel Alfredsson (zero shots on goal), Gustav Nyquist (one) and Tomas Jurco (one).
Furthermore, Boston was strong on the penalty kill. Detroit had two power plays in the game, generating one shot on goal in the first and none in the other one. In fact, a Loui Eriksson shorthanded shot was the only puck put on net by either teams as Boston killed off a Torey Krug holding penalty.
Get Carl Soderberg’s line going
The trio of Soderberg between Loui Eriksson and Justin Florek also looked like a line heading into this series that could take advantage of its matchups. Playing against fellow bottom six lines in Darren Helm’s trio and Luke Glendening’s line should be manageable, but the real money-maker there should be Detroit’s third pairing of Jakub Kindl and Brian Lashoff.
That third pairing looked like it could be trouble for Detroit playing against Soderberg and Eriksson in this series, but Soderberg’s line’s good chances didn’t start coming until midway through the third period following Boston’s only power play of the game.