Red Wings surprise first-place Bruins with 3-1 win
It’s hard to imagine where the Red Wings would be without the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens this season.
Detroit defeated Boston 3-1 on Sunday afternoon at Little Caesars Arena in a game that was nationally televised on NBC.
The Bruins have the best record in the NHL this season, while the Red Wings are, by far, the league’s worst. But it was the second time this season that Detroit has beaten Boston (they also won 4-2 at LCA of Nov. 8). And if you add that to the three times the Wings have beaten the Canadiens, more than a third of Detroit’s 14 wins this season have come against Boston and Montreal.
“Kind of shows everybody in the room that, if we compete, we can beat anybody,” said Andreas Athanasiou, who scored two goals.
Jonathan Bernier continued his outstanding play with 39 saves as the Bruins doubled the Red Wings in shots on goal.
“Having a goalie play this well does two things – it gives you confidence and it keeps you in games without losing your momentum,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. “If you go back to mid-December, he's been really good for a long stretch.”
Brendan Perlini collected his first goal in a Detroit uniform.
After a 30-goal season in 2018-19, Athanasiou has only seven goals and 21 points in 40 games and is minus-39.
“He’s a very dangerous and special player. We definitely need him in the lineup,” Bernier said about Athanasiou. “It makes a big difference.”
Perlini opened the scoring 2:07 into the second period when he beat Boston goalie Tuukka Rask from the left face-off dot for his first goal as a Red Wing.
Perlini had gone 29 games – plus several games in which he was a healthy scratch – since being acquired in a trade from the Chicago Blackhawks on Oct. 29.
“I thought ‘Kind of about time,’ ” he said. “I’ve had enough chances the last little bit. Good to see one go in, and it’s good to get the win.”
A big reason the game was still scoreless early in the second period was Detroit’s penalty kill. The Wings killed off four of Boston’s lethal power plays in the first period, including a 5-on-3 advantage of a minute and six seconds late in the first.
Said Bernier: “Five-on-3 against that team, if you kill that, you’ve got momentum.”
Bruins defenseman, Livonia native and Michigan State alum Tory Krug tied the game 1-1 33 seconds into the third period. Then Athanasiou got the winner on the power play 7:33 into the third period by one-timing a shot from along the goal line below the right circle.
“Just taking the lead there was obviously the most important thing,” Athanasiou said. “I think the boys moved it around pretty good there to give me a pretty open chance there. I was fortunate enough that it found a hole and went in.”
He later clinched the win with an empty-net goal with 29 seconds left.
Another big moment came when Boston’s Brad Marchand appeared to tie the game with a tip-in goal with 7:27 left in the second period. But Blashill challenged that the play was offside. Despite replays clearly showing that David Pastrnak was offside by a wide margin, the video review seemed to take far longer than necessary. Ultimately, the goal was disallowed because of the offside.
The announcers said on the NBC broadcast that the review took so long because NBC was slow in getting the replays to the NHL War Room in Toronto.
“That was huge,” Perlini said about the goal being waved off. “Everybody felt the momentum on the bench.”
Robby Rabbri took a big hit late in the second period, got up and left the ice on his on power but went straight to the locker room and did not return. Blashill did not have an update on his condition after the game.
… The Red Wings have won two of their last three. They won on Buffalo 4-3 in a shootout on Thursday night and lost 2-0 in Columbus on Friday night.