Wings can't convert in shootout loss to Bruins

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — That point in the standings that might have been stolen from the Red Wings against Anaheim last weekend?

Consider it stolen back by the Red Wings in Wednesday's 3-2 shootout loss to the Boston Bruins.

You could argue the Red Wings didn't earn a point by the way they played, as the Bruins dominated for long stretches.

But goalie Jimmy Howard was sensational in making 37 saves and stealing a point for the Red Wings (1-1-1).

"Singlehandedly he got us a point," Niklas Kronwall said of the Red Wings' goalie.

Boston (2-3) won the shootout 2-0, with David Krejci and Reilly Smith, who scored in regulation, also scoring shootout goals.

Andrej Nestrasil and Gustav Nyquist came up empty against Boston goalie Tuukka Rask (18 saves).

The Bruins were the more physical, quicker, and more aggressive team over 60 minutes and overtime.

"We never had the puck, we were chasing it," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "We didn't skate. We didn't win any battles. I didn't think we were very good.

"Howie stole us a point. We felt we got ripped off the other night, but Howie stole us one back."

The Red Wings had won eight of the previous nine regular season games against Boston dating to 2009.

But that came to an end, in a game that resembled those four victories (in five games) the Bruins earned over the Red Wings in the playoffs last spring.

Gustav Nyquist (power play) and Tomas Tatar scored for the Red Wings in regulation time.

Howard stopped Bruins forward Simon Gagne's backhanded attempt with just under a minute left in regulation, keeping the score tied.

He then stopped Reilly Smith on a 3-on-1 rush in overtime.

The Red Wings had a power play for the final 40 seconds of overtime, with Patrice Bergeron off for hooking Brendan Smith, but didn't convert.

"They started better and they finished better, too," Henrik Zetterberg said. "We were lucky to get one (point) here. We looked a little tired. They took charge right away. Bits and pieces we played a little better but overall, they had this game.

"Jimmy saved us tonight, big time."

The Red Wings killed all three Boston power plays, stretching their perfect streak to 10-for-10 on the season.

Nyquist tied the score at 2 with his third goal in three games.

Nyquist came in from the half-wall and snapped a shot from the circle far side past Rask at 2:56.

"It's nice to score goals but at the same time we want to win games, that's the most important thing," Nyquist said. "It's a tough loss."

Smith scored at 13 minutes 31 seconds of the second period, breaking a 1-1 tie.

Bergeron made a strong wraparound move, the puck bouncing off Howard's pads to the slot.

Smith was there for the rebound and slammed a shot past Howard for his second goal of the season.

The Bruins opened the scoring with Krejci's first goal of the season.

Chris Kelly sprung Krejci free for a breakaway from the blue line in, Krejci splitting Justin Abdelkader and Jakub Kindl, and beating Howard at 5:12.

But the Red Wings came right back with Tatar scoring his first goal.

Neither team could control the puck during a scramble near the circle. The puck slipped off a couple of sticks before Tatar controlled it, then lifted a shot past Rask at 8:40 of the first period.

But it proved to be, other than Howard's goaltending, one of the few Red Wings bright spots.

"They were playing real good and we were chasing the puck most of the night," Tatar said. "We have to play better, it was not one of our best games. Howie was outstanding and we're happy for the one point."