DETROIT — The Detroit Red Wings have figured out what they need to do to beat the Boston Bruins.
Detroit used its skill to win Game 1 against the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Bruins.
Boston evened its first-round series against the eighth-seeded Red Wings by beating them up physically. The Red Wings want to flip the script in Game 3 on Tuesday night when the series shifts to Joe Louis Arena.
Detroit defenseman Brendan Smith said emotions got the best of him when he stood skate to skate and face to chest with Boston’s 6-foot-9 defenseman, Zdeno Chara, during Sunday’s game. Smith said the Red Wings have to play their fast-paced game and avoid trying to get physical with the bigger, bruising Bruins.
Here are five things to watch when the series resumes in Detroit:
PLAY POOL OR FIGHT?: Detroit does not want to play Boston’s game. Red Wings Coach Mike Babcock explained why in quite a unique way Monday, when he was asked what his message was to Smith about challenging Chara.
“You walk into the bar and there’s this beautiful young gal standing next to this 6-foot-5 monster, who you know makes his living fighting for a living and you’re the best pool player in the bar,” Babcock said.
“Are you going to play pool or are you going to fight?”
LOUI, LOUI!: Bruins forward Loui Eriksson failed to play up to high expectations during the regular season after Boston traded Tyler Seguin, a young, rising star, to the Dallas Stars for him last summer. Eriksson had 10 goals and 37 points in 61 games, a far cry from the 70-plus seasons in each of the three years before the lockout-shortened season, at least in part because of a concussion that kept him out of the lineup. In the playoffs, Eriksson has been healthy and productive. The Swede assisted on the first goal of Sunday’s 4-1 win and is one of just six players on his team with a positive plus-minus rating through two games against Detroit. “Loui has just been good for us ever since he got over those injuries,” Bruins Coach Claude Julien said.
ISN’T THAT SPECIAL: Boston evened the best-of-seven series because it took advantage of power plays and didn’t let Detroit score with an extra skater. The Bruins scored on two of four power plays and held Detroit to 0 of 4 when it had a man advantage in Game 2. “We’re in the box for too many penalties and down the road that can hurt you,” Julien said Monday before his team traveled to Detroit. “So playing within the rules and being physical is part of our strength, so we have to be that team.” The Red Wings have scored only one power-play goal in 19 chances over the last five games overall.
NYQUIST, NILL: Detroit’s Gustav Nyquist does not have one goal in the eight games since he skated around Chara and scored the game-winner in a 3-2 victory over Boston on April 2. With that goal, he had scored 23 times in 28 games after having just 63 NHL games of experience. Alex Ovechkin and Pavel Bure were the only other NHL players who had pulled off that feat since the 1989-90 season. “Suddenly, instead of being a guy nobody ever heard of like last year in the playoffs, you’re a guy they heard of,” Babcock said. “His space is probably a little harder to come by.”
HOLDING SERVE: The Red Wings took home-ice advantage by opening the series with a 1-0 victory on Pavel Datsyuk’s dazzling play and sharp shot, and they hope to keep it by winning Game 3 on Tuesday night and Game 4 on Thursday night. After the first two games were split on the road, Smith insisted where games are played do play a factor. “For sure, it matters,” Smith said. “In any series, home ice matters. … I think coming back home is going to help us quite a lot.”