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.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Matt Bartkowski and Kevan Miller both practiced Saturday after missing Friday’s Game 1 loss against the Red Wings with what was believed to be the stomach flu.

Bruins forward Milan Lucic was fined $5,000 Saturday for spearing Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser in the groin in Detroit’s 1-0 Game 1 victory over the B’s.

Bruins forward Milan Lucic was fined $5,000 Saturday for spearing Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser in the groin in Detroit’s 1-0 Game 1 victory over the B’s.

Lucic skated up behind DeKeyser in the second period of the then-scoreless game, stuck his stick between DeKeyser’s legs and forcefully yanked it up, causing DeKeyser to fall to the ice in the pain (video). It was Lucic’s second spearing incident in the last month, as he did it on March 24 against Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin.

Prior to the news of the fine, Lucic said he didn’t know why he committed the cheap shot.

“Obviously, it was kind of a heat of the moment thing when you’re not thinking and you do something like that,” Lucic said Saturday. “I’ve been in the league for seven years now. I think I’ve only done that three times. I don’t know I did it, but like I said, it’s one of the heat-of-the-moment that unfortunately I did. I believe in playing within the rules. For me, I definitely won’t be headed down that rode again.”

Asked if the fact that he’s now done it twice in such a short period of time should earn him a reputation, Lucic said he still feels he’s an honest player.

“I never do that. I haven’t done that but unfortunately I’ve done it twice in the little bit here,” Lucic said. “I’m not going to make it a habit. I don’t know why I did it both times, but it’s not going to be a habit of mine. Like I said, I believe in playing between the rules the right way and that’s what I’ll continue to do moving forward.”

While Lucic’s action — and the fact that it’s become a habit — was really bad, it is true that such spears have happened over the years and may not have even gotten a second look years ago. Lucic said it’s happened to him before.

“It happens more times than not,” Lucic said. “But with how much video there is today, it’s a lot harder to get away with.”

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Matt Bartkowski and Kevan Miller both practiced Saturday after missing Friday’s Game 1 loss against the Red Wings with what was believed to be the stomach flu.

Following the skate, Claude Julien offered little update on their potential status for Sunday’s Game 2. Prior to the practice, Daniel Paille skated with Adam McQuaid and Dennis Seidenberg. All other players were accounted for at practice, with the lines looking like they did in Game 1:

Lucic – Krejci – Iginla
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Florek – Soderberg – Eriksson
Caron – Campbell – Thornton

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

The Bruins couldn't beat Jimmy Howard Friday. (AP)A matchup that looked favorable for the Bruins looked less favorable when Chris Kelly, Daniel Paille, Matt Bartkowski and Kevan Miller were absent as the B’s and Red Wings took the ice for warmups Friday night at TD Garden. 



Milan Lucic has long been known to lose his cool, but he was never really considered an overly “dirty” player.

This season, however, Lucic has gone nuts when it comes to spearing opponents in sensitive areas. In the second period of Friday’s Game 1 loss to the Red Wings, Lucic stuck his stick between Detroit defenseman Danny DeKeyser‘s legs and forcefully yanked it up, whacking DeKeyser in an area that you’d think would be off-limits. Lucic didn’t talk after the game, but the video below should show that it seemed as intentional as intentional gets.

This isn’t the first between-the-legs spear from Lucic this season, as he did the same thing to Alexei Emelin back on March 24, though it seemed Lucic got him in the rear end. Lucic denied spearing him after the game, saying he was “just skating by.”

Lucic was suspended for a game in the 2009 postseason for a blow to the head of Maxim Lapierre in Game 2 of the first round against the Canadiens. It’s unclear what the fallout from Friday’s cheap shot will be, but it was a garbage act from Lucic. He’s one of the team’s best players and was the team’s highest-paid forward this season. Such actions as Friday’s should be beneath him.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Going into this series, it seemed like a pretty safe assumption that Patrice Bergeron and Pavel Datsyuk were going to match up frequently. Maybe you’€™d give the Bruins a slight edge there given that Datsyuk is coming back from an injury, but for the most part, you’€™d expect that to be a back-and-forth dogfight. Sure enough, that’€™s more or less how Game 1 played out — their lines went against each other pretty much every time out, and the matchup was essentially a wash until Datsyuk’€™s goal with 3:01 left in the game.

In theory, that matchup should have freed up the Bruins’€™ top line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Jarome Iginla to pick on Detroit’€™s lesser lines and banged-up defensive corps. That didn’€™t happen, though.

In fact, that line played one of its worst games of the season in Game 1. It went up against the trio of Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan and Tomas Tatar for the majority of its shifts (thanks to shiftchart.com for the excellent data), and found itself chasing the puck most of the night. Lucic, Krejci and Iginla were able to get what should have been a favorable matchup against Detroit’€™s second pairing of Kyle Quincey and Danny DeKeyser — an OK, but far-from-great duo — for about half their shifts, but they never really got a chance to take advantage because of how much time they spent in their own zone.

A lot was made of Detroit’€™s speed going into the series, and this was really the one place that it showed. Nyquist and Tatar motored their way through the neutral zone and into the Bruins’€™ end time and again, with the back pressure from Krejci and company a little too late too often. From there, the cycle was on, as Boston’€™s top trio had to resort to chasing the puck rather than possessing it. When they did get it, they struggled to get through the neutral zone and sustain any sort of offensive pressure.

The result was Lucic, Krejci and Iginla all finishing with Corsi percentages under 40 (according to the fantastic extraskater.com), marking just the sixth time this season their possession numbers as a line have dipped that low. In near perfect symmetry, Nyquist, Sheahan and Tatar all finished with Corsi percentages over 60. If the more basic shot on goal stat is your thing, Sheahan’€™s line had eight, while Krejci’€™s line had four. It is worth mentioning, however, that Krejci’€™s line had arguably the Bruins’€™ best chance all night when Lucic tipped an Iginla shot that wound up trickling just wide about 30 seconds before Datsyuk scored.

“We thought that the game was faster than it actually was. We have to play a little bit more with the puck,” Krejci said. “We just have to hold on to the puck and make some confident plays out there and that’€™s pretty much it. I don’€™t think that we had that many offensive chances out there today.”

Obviously Boston’€™s defensemen are part of this equation as well, and it’€™s true that the Bruins’€™ blue line wasn’€™t great Friday night. But Krejci’€™s line didn’€™t play with any one pairing more than any others, and the Bruins’€™ second and third lines didn’€™t get out-possessed nearly as much as the top line. No, the constants here were Krejci’€™s line and Sheahan’€™s line.

Of course, Friday night was only one game. If these two lines match up again in Game 2, the tables could very well turn and we could be talking about how great Lucic, Krejci and Iginla played. They’€™re one of the best lines in the NHL, and they’€™re certainly capable of winning pretty much any matchup.

But if they match up again and Krejci’€™s line continues to struggle, Claude Julien might have to look into other options, whether it’€™s trying Carl Soderberg‘€™s line against Sheahan’€™s, or even taking Bergeron off Datsyuk and putting his line out there.

“It was a tight, checking game, but nonetheless, I think everybody’€™s got to find a way to create more,” Julien said. “And that’€™s going to be the challenge in this series with two teams playing really tight. So it’€™s about everybody working a little harder and then gaining your space and doing what you have to do here.”

Blog Author: 
Scott McLaughlin

It was the key moment of Game 1.

Jarome Iginla fired a centering pass from the right side boards to Milan Lucic with just over three minutes left in regulation. Lucic got a clean piece of the puck for a redirect on Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard. It appeared to be the perfect pass and perfect chance in a game that had precious few of each.

It was the key moment of Game 1.

Jarome Iginla fired a centering pass from the right side boards to Milan Lucic with just over three minutes left in regulation. Lucic got a clean piece of the puck for a redirect on Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard. It appeared to be the perfect pass and perfect chance in a game that had precious few of each.

But instead of the puck finding it’s way past Howard, the Detroit goalie got just enough to flick the puck wide of the goal mouth and out of harm’s way.

“It was a fortunate save,” Howard said. “It was pretty lucky. [Lucic] stuck his stick out and got a lot on it and it sort of just spun off my glove and I was able to get just enough on it. I was pretty lucky.”

The momentum swing didn’t end there. The pendulum, as it often does in a game like Friday night, swung completely the other way leading to a Red Wings rush up the ice. Wings veteran forward Pavel Datsyuk came across the Bruins blue line and, using the collision of Justin Abdelkader and Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton as a screen, fired a shot that beat Tuukka Rask on the far side for the game’s only goal and a 1-0 Detroit win.

“He was by himself there so I’m just thinking a shot there and then he drags it across and releases from our D’s legs so you just try to get the puck in your eyes and I couldn’t,” Rask said of Datsyuk’s shot. “It squeaked by me. Usually he tries to make a pass but I thought he was by himself there. I just couldn’t see it.

“It still went through me so I thought I should have it. But I didn’t see it.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia