There’s plenty of less than subtle aim at revenge matches as the 2014-2015 NHL season opens. One of them is between the Detroit Red Wings, beating the Boston Bruins 2-1 with goals from Justin Abdelkader and Gustav Nyquist, coming back from behind after an early mistake.
The Red Wings allowed Patrice Bergeron a free pass right in front of their goal in the first period to give the Bruins, who opened the season at home with a win over the Philadelphia Flyers, a 1-0 lead. Maybe it was the difference between the teams down the stretch or simply the fatigue from playing back to back games so early in the season that eventually made the Bruins lose this game, finding it difficult to keep up or create continuous pressure on the goal of Jimmy Howard.
According to the Red Wings’ coach, Mike Babock, the back-to-back thing had a lot to do with the result, as he has plenty of respect for the Bruins, knocking out the Red Wings in last year’s conference quarterfinals needing five games to do it. A month from now, or two months from now, it doesn’t matter. But right now it does matter, when you start and you play back to back, it’s wear and tear on you for sure.
The Red Wings, keeping on their impressive streak of making the postseason every year since 1991 excluding the lockout of the 2004-2005 season, are still without Pavel Daysuk. They had to handle his absence late last season as well. Henrik Zetterberg was on the ice at left wing for the season opener against the Bruins, although like Daysuk, he was missing when the Red Wings made their push for the playoffs six months ago.
The turnaround in the game came quite quickly, as Abdelkader equalized after 3:52 in the second period. Nyquist took advantage of a power play to give the Red Wings the lead, as the Bruins managed to put in one last push in the third period, once hitting the post (Brad Marchand) as they failed to take advantage of the power play that ended with 1:46 remaining in the game. Josh Howard, finishing with 16 saves, made a couple of impressive ones as well in the final minutes of the game.
Any time you have back to backs with a couple of hours flight, you always feel it. We just didn’t play our system very well. We weren’t getting pucks deep and we were turning it over at the blue line. We played a pretty solid defensive game. The second period was real bad, by our standards.