Red Wings open with special victory over Bruins
Detroit — The Red Wings certainly hope there will be plenty more of these in the 81 games left.
There were plenty of things that went right for the Red Wings as they defeated the Boston Bruins — the team that ended the Red Wings' season last April — 2-1 in Thursday's regular season opener.
Two second-period goals, including the tie-breaker on the power play by Gustav Nyquist, proved to be the difference.
Justin Abdelkader opened the Red Wings scoring in the second period.
Jimmy Howard allowed a goal on the first shot he faced this season, then stopped the remaining 16 shots he faced.
"This will be our receipe for success most nights," said Howard, who made several big saves in the third period. "It'll take a lot of hard work for a full 60 minutes. There will be a lot of hard fought games. A lot of games that'll mean something for us.
"It'll be a fun year."
Howard made a sparkling glove save on Brad Marchand near the hashmarks with just under 12 minutes left in the game, preserving the Red Wings lead.
The Red Wings also killed all four Boston power plays as special teams — which have been stressed in the exhibition season — roving to be a major plus in the regular season opener.
"Our team worked real hard," coach Mike Babcock said. "Howie didn't get much work early but made good saves late. They played last night and in a month or two, it won't matter. Right now it does matter. When you start the season and play back to back, that's wear and tear on you for sure."
Boston had a power play with just under three minutes to play after Johan Franzen was whistled for elbowing Patrice Bergeron.
The Bruins hit a crossbar on one attempt, but quickly lost the man advantage when Zdeno Chara was called for interference.
Bergeron scored for the Bruins, who fell to 1-1-0 on the season.
"This is one of the favorites, one of the teams people are talking will be a Stanley Cup contender," Abdelkader said. "It's a good measuring stick for us. We have to follow it up and not be content."
Bergeron, the reigning Selke Trophy (best defensive forward) winner, gave the Bruins a scare early in the second period.
Bergeron slammed into the boards racing to the puck with Jonathan Ericsson and appeared to turn a knee and possibly slam his shoulder in the boards.
Bergeron left the ice and missed most of the second period before returning.
And it was Bergeron's slashing penalty on Johan Franzen that led to Nyquist's power play goal.
On the goal, Darren Helm got a pass between the circle and goal line, turned, and found Nyquist between the hashmarks.
Nyquist snapped a shot past goalie Tuukka Rask at 13:27.
The goal was welcome after two uninspired Red Wings power plays in the first period.
Abdelkader opened the Red Wings' scoring at 3:52 of the secod period.
Danny DeKeyser's shot from the right point glanced off Franzen's stick, then deflected off Abdelkader's body before fluttering past Rask, tying the game.
Bergeron scored on the Bruins' first shot of the game at 12:01 of the first period.
On the goal, Ericsson's pass up ice bounced off a Bruins player and directly onto the stick of Bergeron.
Bergeron wheeled around and had a 3-on-1 break going the other way, but decided to keep the puck and fired from near the dot.
The shot flew past Howard, and gave the Bruins a lead after the Red Wings had out-shot them 6-0 to that juncture.
"Surprise, surprise, first shot goes in and I thought to myself 'Sweet, that's a a good way to start your night off'," Howard said.
But the evening got much better for Howard, and the Red Wings.
"Overall we played a real good game," Nyquist said. "We skated hard and we were a fast team. They played last night and we knew they'd be a little tired, so we wanted to come at them hard and we did that."