A chaotic 24 hours for the Boston Bruins ended in similar fashion Tuesday.
In action without Brad Marchand, down head coach Bruce Cassidy (and assistant coach Chris Kelly) due to COVID protocols, and forced to play Jake DeBrusk just one day after word of his trade request went public, the Bruins found themselves in 1-1 deadlock in the third period when a delayed penalty gave the visiting Red Wings a 6-on-5 advantage.
And as a net-front scramble left Linus Ullmark diving towards the puck, it was the Red Wings’ Marc Staal who seemingly came out of nowhere and tucked home the game-winning goal in a 2-1 final at TD Garden.
There was no moral victory to be found in this one, either, as the Bruins dominated the puck (they outshot the Wings by a 42-16 mark), but once again struggled to find the back of the net against Detroit’s Alex Nedeljkovic.
“Kudos to their goalie. That’s a good night for him, but he saw a lot,” Taylor Hall said after the loss. “They’ve committed to a defensive game where they box out, they let their goalie see shots, and we didn’t generate second chances and screens. That’s what you have to do. Especially when maybe you’re down a skilled guy. Pucks haven’t gone in this year for us really at all, so you have to work for it and think lucky, put yourself in good spots and eventually things will go in.”
Nedeljkovic certainly outplayed Ullmark in this contest beyond the Bruins’ inability to utilize dirt to their advantage, with a 41-of-42 line in the Detroit crease compared to Ullmark’s 14-save loss.
“Unfortunately today, I needed to make two saves extra and I didn’t do that,” Ullmark said.
When Boston finally broke through in the third period, it was on the back of a 5-on-3 marker from David Pastrnak, good for No. 88’s eighth goal of the year, and with helpers awarded to Hall and Charlie McAvoy.
Much of the focus in this contest was on DeBrusk, who found himself in the awkward spot of playing while wanting a trade due to the Bruins’ injury and COVID issues in Providence, and back in the Black and Gold’s lineup. Playing in a fourth-line role with Erik Haula and Curtis Lazar, DeBrusk finished this contest with one shot and one hit in 10:25 of time on ice.
B’s acting head coach Joe Sacco summed up DeBrusk’s game as “OK.”
This was the first game of Brad Marchand’s three-game suspension, while Anton Blidh was held out of action after he sustained an upper-body injury in Sunday’s win over the Canucks.
Up next, the Bruins will pack their bags for a quick one-game pitstop in Nashville on Thursday night.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.