By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Bruins had a near-perfect start to Friday’s road head-to-head with the Detroit Red Wings.
David Krejci needed just 1:09 to put the Bruins on the board with their first goal of the night, and against a Detroit squad with just one victory in their last 13 games, it was the kind of start that seemed perfect for burying Jonathan Bernier.
But Dylan Larkin stormed end-to-end and polished off a wraparound goal through Tuukka Rask just 1:32 later, and swung the energy Detroit’s way in what was a discombobulated Boston effort — and subsequent 4-2 loss — at Little Caesar’s Arena.
Knotted up 1-1 in the first period, a power-play snipe from new-Wing Robby Fabbri made it 2-1 for Detroit through the opening 20 minutes, and Fabbri scored another goal in the second period to give the Red Wings a two-goal lead nearing the end of the period. It was enough to make Fabbri the first Red Wings skater to score two goals in his debut since Thomas Vanek.
But the Bruins fought and brought themselves within one before the end of the second period thanks to a Torey Krug shot through Bernier, and seemed prime to take over in the third period given the obvious talent gap between these teams.
And while the Bruins generated their looks — a Patrice Bergeron deflection went off Bernier’s post and Brad Marchand forced a Patrik Nemeth turnover but couldn’t hit David Pastrnak with the pass to generate a high-quality look — the Black and Gold never seemed to find their rhythm before Detroit’s fourth goal, an Anthony Mantha empty-netter with 1:28 left to play.
It was without question the B’s worst effort of the season, as they failed to match the effort and intensity of the worst team in the Eastern Conference, and never seemed to hit one another with the tape-to-tape passes that have made them one of the league’s best teams out of the gate. Instead, it was a pucks-in-feet, delayed zone-entry, forgettable night.
It was an oddly flat, and straight-up boring game for Boston’s best talents. And it also continued an odd trend for the B’s, too, who lost three of their four meetings with these Wings a year ago despite being one of the best teams in all of hockey.
Rask finished with 28 saves in the losing effort, while Bernier took the victory behind a 26-of-28 performance.
Brett Ritchie was a late scratch from this contest due to an upper-body injury, which forced defenseman Steve Kampfer “in” the lineup, though Kampfer finished the game with zero shifts and 0:00 time on ice.
Jake DeBrusk (lower-body) also missed this contest, while forwards David Backes (upper-body), Par Lindholm (upper-body), and Joakim Nordstrom (upper-body) also sat this contest out.
The Bruins get back to work Sunday night against the Flyers at TD Garden.