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Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Bruins Used Four Special Teams (2 SH & 2 PP) Goals to Beat the Red Wings 5-3

To beat a quality team like Detroit (36-17-11), especially in the second leg of a back-to-back, Boston (33-22-10) needed its vaunted depth to show up in a big way. Luckily for the B's it did as they beat the Red Wings 5-3 at TD Garden for their second win in as many afternoons (they rallied for a 3-2 overtime win vs. Flyers yesterday). A four-point weekend against two Eastern Conference foes should give them plenty of confidence with 17 games left in the regular season.

Perhaps most importantly, Niklas Svedberg (36 saves) started and he was pretty decent in picking up his first regulation and non-shutout win of the season. 10 Bruins had points and their special teams were money with two power-play goals and two shorthanded goals against the No. 1 power-play unit in the NHL. Daniel Paille was scratched for two games a few weeks ago but he has responded like the professional that he is with four goals in his last six games, including two today vs. Detroit.

With Red Wings backup goaltender Jonas Gustavsson also getting the start, you had a feeling that it would be far from a 1-0 game. Brad Marchand continued his excellent weekend with his third goal in a row going back to yesterday's contest vs. Philadelphia. To change it up, this one was a shorthanded tally just 4:15 into the first period. Stephen Weiss turned the puck over in Boston's zone, Marchand went in on a breakaway and deked Gustavsson out of his hockey pants. His team-leading 22nd goal of the season was unassisted. Marchand has a four-game point-streak (5 goals, 1 assist) along with 10 points (7 goals, 3 assists) in the last 10 games.

University of Maine product Gustav Nyquist tied it at 7:01 with a wrist shot. His 22nd goal of the season was assisted by Kyle Quincey. Adam McQuaid had a game-high five blocks but he missed that out on that one and screened his own goalie in the process. No worries though, Boston answered with a power-play goal by David Pastrnak less than two minutes later for a 2-1 lead. His snipe from the left face-off circle was a bit of skill that you rarely if ever see from these B's. Pastrnak's eighth goal of the season was assisted by Milan Lucic and Reilly Smith.

Paille's pair of goals in the second period really opened things up for the home team. First, he had a breakaway and nothing went wrong for once. His fourth goal of the season was unassisted at 11:44 and it represented the first time in nearly two years (April 10, 2013 at NJ) that Boston scored two shorthanded goals in the same game. The Bruins are now tied with Toronto, Tampa Bay and Winnipeg for the third-most shorthanded goals in the league (7). After that highlight, Paille one-timed a pass from Max Talbot (game-high 7 hits) from in close for another goal at 18:39. Gregory Campbell had the second assist on Paille's seventh career two-goal game (1st since Dec. 14, 2011).

Jimmy Howard replaced Gustavsson (4 goals allowed, 19 saves) to start the third period and the blowout got interesting for a few seconds as Luke Glendening's routine shot found its way past Svedberg at 1:24. His ninth goal of the season was assisted by the magical Pavel Datsyuk. Boston's second power-play goal, this time from Loui Eriksson at 4:03 gave them back their three-goal cushion (5-2). Patrice Bergeron and Ryan Spooner (5-game point-streak) assisted on Eriksson's 16th goal of the season.

To conclude the special teams explosion, Detroit added their only power play goal of the affair. Newly acquired defenseman Marek Zidlicky scored his second goal in three games as a Red Wing. His shot from the point went top shelf on Svedberg; it was his sixth goal of the season with assists to Tomas Tatar and Datsyuk.

This good stretch (5-1-1 in their last 7 games) couldn't come at a better time for the Bruins with three of their next four games on the road: they are at Ottawa (29-23-11) on Tuesday (7:30, NESN) before hosting Tampa Bay (41-20-6) on Thursday (7, NESN). Then they have a back-to-back next weekend at Pittsburgh (38-18-9) on Saturday (1, NESN) followed by a game in Washington (36-21-10) the following night (7:30, NBCSN). With the Senators hosting the Flames tonight, Boston is currently seven points ahead of Ottawa which means that a win there could really bury them from the playoff discussion.

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