NHL playoffs: Pavel Datsyuk’s late goal lifts Detroit over Boston
BOSTON — The Boston Bruins worked all season to get home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs.
It vanished with a flick of Pavel Datsyuk’s wrist.
Just like that, on Datsyuk’s goal with 3:01 left, the Detroit Red Wings got the upper hand with a 1-0 win in the opener of the best-of-seven playoff series Friday night.
“We know we’re good enough,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said, “but it’s one thing to know you’re good enough and another thing to show it.”
The Bruins won the Presidents’ Trophy for the best record in the regular season — although they were 1-3 against the Red Wings — but were locked in a tight game in which neither team had many solid scoring opportunities. The eighth-seeded Red Wings made their last one count.
“It’s a good start,” Datsyuk said, “but we know there are many tough games (ahead).”
Game 2 of the first playoff matchup between the Original Six teams in 57 years is set for Sunday in Boston. And Detroit doesn’t have to win there again to advance.
“I’ll take home-ice advantage any time,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said, “but that doesn’t mean you can’t win on the road … which is what we have to do in this series if we plan on winning this.”
Datsyuk, still not fully recovered from a knee injury, wasn’t Detroit’s only late-game star. His goal came moments after a brilliant glove save by Jimmy Howard on Milan Lucic’s deflection in front of the net.
“It was pretty lucky,” said Howard, who had 25 saves in his third career playoff shutout. Lucic “stuck his stick out and got a lot on it and it just sort of spun (off) my glove and I was just able to get enough of it.”
The goal came when Datsyuk carried the puck from the right side to the left in Boston’s zone while teammate Justin Abdelkader skated up the slot between Zdeno Chara and Dougie Hamilton. Both defensemen fell as Datsyuk put a 30-footer past goalie Tuukka Rask’s left glove.
“Abby did a great job, drove the middle, created space for him,” Babcock said.
That may have distracted Rask.
“You just try to get the puck in your eyes and I couldn’t,” Rask said. “Usually, he tries to make a pass.”
Puck handlers had very little space throughout the game.
“We’re going to have to expect that for the rest of the series and find ways to create some offense,” Boston’s Patrice Bergeron said.
The Bruins scored the third-most goals during the regular season and had just two regulation losses in their last 23 games.
Friday’s loss was their first playoff game since they dropped the deciding Game 6 of last season’s Stanley Cup final in Boston. They lost 3-2 to the Chicago Blackhawks after allowing the tying and winning goals in the last 76 seconds.
Datsyuk, who missed 16 games with a knee injury before returning April 4, got his first playoff goal since Game 3 of Detroit’s second-round playoff series against Chicago last year. The Red Wings had a 3-1 lead in that series against the Blackhawks, and then lost three in a row.
Boston had a decent scoring opportunity in the first minute of the third period when Brad Marchand stole the puck in the Detroit zone and fired a 20-footer from Howard’s right. But the goalie stopped the shot with his pad.
The Red Wings had a better chance two minutes later when Rask made a save, and then stuck his right pad out to kick aside Darren Helm’s shot on the rebound.
Boston played without four regulars, including defensemen Matt Bartkowski and Kevan Miller, both sidelined with the flu. Center Chris Kelly sat out with a back injury and left wing Daniel Paille had a head injury suffered in a collision in the next-to-last game of the regular season.
For Detroit, center Henrik Zetterberg has been out since Feb. 8 with a back condition that required surgery and defenseman Jonathan Ericsson hasn’t played since March 14 because of a broken finger.
DUCKS 3, STARS 2
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and an assist while wearing a facemask over his lacerated jaw, Corey Perry scored his first playoff goal in three years, and Anaheim grabbed a 2-0 lead in its first-round series.
Rookie Frederik Andersen made 34 saves in his second postseason start, and Andrew Cogliano scored a short-handed goal in the third period as the Ducks moved halfway to their first series victory since 2009. Anaheim has won just one postseason round since its only Stanley Cup title in 2007.
Kari Lehtonen stopped 16 shots, while Alex Chiasson and Ryan Garbutt scored for the wild-card Stars, who took two one-goal losses to open their first playoff series since 2008.
Game 3 is Monday in Dallas.
CANADIENS 4, LIGHTNING 1
TAMPA, Fla. — Rene Bourque had two goals and David Desharnais and Brendan Gallagher also scored, leading the Canadiens to the victory.
Carey Price stopped 26 shots for Montreal, redeeming himself following a less than stellar performance during a 5-4 overtime win in Game 1.
A second road victory in three nights sends the Canadiens home with a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Game 3 is Sunday.
Bourque and Desharnais scored in the second period after defensive breakdowns left Tampa Bay goaltender Anders Lindback in tough situations. Gallagher made it 3-0 with an unassisted goal in the third period.
Price lost his bid for a shutout when Teddy Purcell scored for Tampa Bay with less than two minutes remaining.
By wire sources