Detroit — The Red Wings played well, again, in an exhibition, but allowed the Boston Bruins one more goal late in the third period, then an empty-net goal in a 3-1 loss Saturday night.
Ville Leino, a former Wings forward who is hoping to stick with the Bruins after some disappointing seasons, broke a 1-1 tie at 15:20 of the third period, after the Wings had re-established the initiative in the game.
Dougie Hamilton, one of the Bruins' young, talented defensemen, let go of a hard, low shot from the blue line, and Wings goalie Jonas Gustavsson made a strong left pad save. But the rebound went directly to Leino at the bottom of the circle to the left of Gustavsson, and he had a nearly wide-open net.
Gustavsson, who generally played a strong three periods, stopping 20 of 22 shots, said he intended to distribute the puck away from everyone. But Leino, standing well off to Gustavsson's left and quite low with Hamilton's shot, was undefended and apparently undetected.
"I thought it was a pretty good game," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "I didn't like the fact that they got one more than us, I guess two more with the empty-netter.
"I thought we had good opportunity to score, too, and didn't. I thought we had a strong first and second, and they were better than us in the third.
"We turned too many pucks over."
The Red Wings had 10 giveaways for the game, thwarting a point of emphasis for a couple of seasons now with a young team in transition and a franchise "system" that emphasizes puck control.
Gustav Nyquist left the game during the empty-net situation, barely noticed, and was attended to by a doctor in the Red Wings training room.
"It looks like he's going to be OK," general manager Ken Holland said, about 45 minutes after the game. "We'll know more tomorrow."
Nyquist is one of the Wings' chief offensive threats, especially with Pavel Datsyuk out for perhaps four weeks or more with an injured shoulder.
The team, which set a franchise record for injuries last season, and has battled against them in a few recent seasons, already has lost Darren Helm (broken nose, strained groin), Anthony Mantha (broken leg) and Anthony Miele (hernia) from the training camp roster.
Encouraging, however, was that some young players, who mostly toiled in Grand Rapids last season, had good games, especially Landon Ferraro and Mitch Callahan.
Babcock also credited former Michigan standout Kevin Porter — the Northville native and a winner of the Hobey Baker Award — with a solid game, along with Luke Glendening.
Glendening, Ferraro and Callahan were on the same line. They frequently pressed the play, generally harried the Bruins and generated some scoring chances.
After a flurry of penalties, the Red Wings were short-handed in the second period, trailing 1-0, when Brendan Smith sent Ferraro breaking into the Bruins' zone at top speed along the right boards, with Mitch Callahan going to the net.
Ferraro had the choice of passing or shooting. With Callahan as a bit of a decoy, and set for a pass or rebound directly in front of Bruins' goalie Tuukka Rask, the winner of the Vezina Trophy last season, Ferraro let it rip.
He beat Rask to tie the game, 1-1.
"I just kind of tried to move my feet, that's what the coaches are telling me to do, so I'll try to do it as much as I can," Ferraro said.
He also led the team, along with Porter and forward Luis-Marc Aubry, with four hits, against a traditionally physical Bruins team.
"You know, just working hard in the summer, making sure I got stronger," said Ferraro. "I mean, I've always been able to skate and I was doing it last year. But when I'd go to hit someone, I'd either be the one falling or they'd just kind of bounce off.
"This year, I feel a little stronger on my feet and I can get through people a little better."
Callahan was pesky.
At one point, the 6-foot, 195-pound forward threw himself into Zdeno Chara, the 6-9, 255-pound Bruins captain, along the boards. He and Chara tussled briefly before the fans in a three-quarters-full Joe Louis Arena.
Apparently, seeking to avenge the affront, the Bruins took two penalties moments later on the same play.
Although the Red Wings failed to score, Callahan's "sandpaper" was well-used.
"I put a hit on him," said Callahan, who suffered a nearly catastrophic mouth injury six months ago when he was struck by a puck while playing for the Griffins. "I wasn't trying to start a scrum, or anything. But he put me in a headlock, so it just kind of turned into a little shove match.
"But, I think getting under their skin is what they want me to do, and I think with that play, I got them a little fired up."
The Bruins opened the scoring at 3:28 of the second period.
After the Red Wings had carried much of the play — including a 10-3 shot advantage through one period — two consecutive ragged defensive efforts in their own zone ended with Hamilton adroitly splitting the defense of Mattias Backman and Brian Lashoff, and putting it through the five-hole on Gustavsson.
"We just have to get better," Babcock said. "I think we saw a lot of kids play a strong game."