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Thursday, March 9, 2017

These Aren't Your Father's Detroit Red Wings, This Edition is a Complete Gong Show of a Team

Make no mistake, the Red Wings' NHL record streak of 25 straight seasons of reaching the playoffs is remarkable. However, with that vaunted run finally coming to a crashing halt this spring, it's too bad that Detroit (25-29-11) has taken literally any intrigue that was left out of their last month of the regular season. On the second night of a back-to-back on the road, the Wings barely showed up this evening at TD Garden and that's being generous as the Bruins (35-26-6) destroyed them 6-1. Truthfully, it didn't feel that close as Boston could have won by 10 goals or more given the lop-sided nature of the tilt.

After losing 4-2 in Ottawa (37-22-6) on Monday, Boston needed a big bounce back victory and they got it as they pumped in four goals in the first period alone. Detroit backup goaltender Jared Coreau had only appeared in one of the last 13 contests and he was left to make just a cameo appearance on Rivalry Night (thanks NBC Sports) as he allowed three goals on eight total shots on goal. The Bruins exploded for three goals in a span of 2:25 in the first. David Krejci scored on a breakaway at 11:07 after Drew Stafford sprung him behind the Detroit defense. Zdeno Chara had the other assist on Krejci's 17th goal of the season.

Detroit continued to crumble as David Pastrnak flipped the puck ahead to Brad Marchand to beat Coreau for a 2-0 lead at 12:08. Chara once again had the second helper on Marchand's team-leading 31st goal of the season. The wheels fell off some more for the Wings as Stafford corralled a loose puck and roofed it by Coreau at 13:32 for his first goal as a Bruin (remember that he had one taken away in his debut on Saturday vs. New Jersey). Petr Mrazek had played in eight straight games for Detroit so I'm sure he was less than thrilled to have to come on in relief of Coreau, in the first period no less.

Boston had scored three 4-on-4 goals all season before they added two more in this laugher. Krejci scored his second goal of the game with 14.9 seconds left in the first, another unassisted goal as the B's took advantage of a loose puck in a dangerous area that bounced right to the Czech. Marchand bagged his second goal (8th multi-goal game of the season) at 16:55 of the second on a breakaway of his own, assisted by Colin Miller. The Red Wings showed they belonged in an NHL game for about the time it took them to score their lone goal of this blowout. Defenseman Niklas Kronwall showed some semblance of pride with his first goal of the season, assisted by Mike Green and Dylan Larkin at 17:35.

The good times continued in the third period for the black and gold as Pastrnak turned around in the shot to uncoil a missile of a low shot. His 27th goal of the season was assisted by Krejci (his 1st 3-point game of the season) and the best part (besides the awesome shot) was that his stick broke so in his goal celebration he tossed the stick to a fan in the crowd. When's the last time that you ever saw that in an NHL game? I'll wait. The Red Wings looked the part of the worst team in the Eastern Conference with the third fewest points in the league (in front of only Arizona and Colorado). Boston finished the four-game season series with Detroit at 3-0-1 and going back a few years, they are 10-1-1 in their last 12 games against their Original Six rival.

If only because you couldn't find a team put up less of a fight, I'm confident that the Flyers (31-26-8) will provide more resistance on Saturday afternoon (1, NESN) when they come to the Garden. Still, the years go by but in recent memory Boston has completely owned Philadelphia who is currently three points behind the Islanders (31-23-11) for the second Wild Card in the East (and a date with top-seeded Washington). The Flyers are in Toronto (29-22-14) on Thursday so it would actually behoove Bruins fans to cheer for a Philly win in regulation vs. the Leafs (who are 4 points behind the Bruins with 2 games in hand).

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