After fighting through the class, experience, and skill of Hockeytown, the Bruins have punched their ticket to the next round of the playoffs, where they'll deal with the frustration, antics and speed of their hated rival.
|Lucic pounds his chest after netting the Bruins' third goal in Game 5 (via ESPN.com)|
The Bruins eliminated the Red Wings with a 4-2 victory in Game 5 at The Garden. Powerplay goals from Loui Eriksson and Zdeno Chara, along with goals from Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla paced the Black and Gold to the win over the Wings. Tuukka Rask turned aside 33 shots in the contest.
Boston now advances to Round 2 where they'll play their longtime rival, the Montreal Canadiens.
After getting steamrolled in the first 20 minutes of Game 4, the Bruins made sure not to repeat the scenario in Game 5. They came out with their legs underneath them and it payed immediate returns, as Milan Lucic drew a hooking call on Wings forward Justin Abdelkader as he built up a head of steam leaving his defensive zone. The Bruins went on their first powerplay of the day, and as they've done so for the entire series, they made the Wings pay for their lazy play.
Loui Eriksson scored his first goal of the series at 3:27 of the period, as he swooped in and put home a loose puck just beyond the crease that beat Jonas Gustavsson along the ice and under the glove. Dougie Hamilton showcased his incredible skating ability yet again as he blew through the neutral zone and across the blueline, passing the entire Wings unit along the way. He wheeled the puck back to the slot where it bounced off Darren Helm and into the path of Eriksson. Tuukka Rask recorded the other assist on the play, his second-career playoff point.
|Hamilton, Soderberg and Eriksson celebrate Loui's powerplay goal in the first (via ESPN.com)|
The Bruins maintained their play through the end of the first and into the second period, with multiple chances coming from the Krejci, Lucic, Iginla line and the Bergeron, Marchand, Smith line. The two lines skated one after another when the period started, with the BMS line getting first crack on Gustavsson. Matt Bartkowski launched a shot from the blueline that died in the crease with Marchand wrestling in front. The next shift saw Johnny Boychuck blasting a shot from the boards and David Krejci wristing a shot in the slot on the Wings' goalie. Boychuck's shot went wide and Krejci's was saved by Gustavsson's right pad and kicked out towards the boards.
A few more chances went by the wayside for the Bruins, and when Milan Lucic went off for a high-stick on Brendan Smith, the Wings had the opportunity they needed to bring the game level.
Pavel Datsyuk and the Wings cashed in on the powerplay, scoring his 3rd goal of the series at 14:41 of the period, putting home a lose puck off to the side of the net to tie the game at 1-1. Henrik Zetterberg's shot from the blueline got lost in the bodies in front of Rask, including the big frame of Johan Franzen. Datsyuk skated in from the slot and put it past Rask.
From that point on, the game took a turn to the bizarre, as four penalties were called in the final three minutes and change. Three were called on the Wings, as Danny DeKeyser, Johan Franzen and Brendan Smith were sent to the box, while Loui Eriksson was the lone Bruin to see the sin bin. After all was said and done, the Bruins had a 5-on-3 in the dying seconds of the period. After winning the faceoff in the zone, the Bruins were able to settle things down and set up a scoring chance that captain Zdeno Chara smashed home with authority.
Working in the corners to free up the puck, it was Patrice Bergeron who maneuvered out of the scrum and wheeled a perfect pass right to Chara's wheelhouse in the slot, and Big Z got everything he had on the shot to blow it by Gustavsson to beat the clock with just three seconds left. It was Chara's second goal of the series and a seriously deflating goal for the Wings to surrender.
The Bruins added another goal just 4:27 into the third period when Torey Krug completed an incredible sequence to feed Milan Lucic on the doorstep, putting the B's up by two. Just before the goal, Jarome Iginla and Lucic entered the zone, and Lucic left a beautiful drop-pass to the trailing Carl Soderberg who fired into the pads of Gustavsson. Johan Frazen's clearing-attempt was caught by Krug at the blueline, who then turned on the jets to skate down the boards with his head up and fired a bullet pass right to the waiting Lucic at the top of the crease to jam home his third goal of the series.
|Lucic puts home his 3rd goal of the series (via ESPN.com)|
The two teams traded chances through the next couple minutes of play, with the best coming from Luke Glendening in the slot when he fired a shot along the ice at point-blank range. Rask made the quick-reflex save and kept the Wings from grabbing another goal.
After Brad Marchand took his second roughing penalty of the period at 12:42, the Wings, although they didn't score on the man-advantage, got a couple of pucks in close to Rask, built up pressure on the Bruins in their own zone and generated some of the best chances they had up until that point in the game. A few shifts after the penalty ended, Henrik Zetterberg got another one back for the Wings.
Zetterberg put home a rebound puck at a pretty impossible angle at 16:08 that beat Rask underneath the arm and under the crossbar. Niklas Kronwall faked a shot from just inside the blueline and passed over to Pavel Datsyuk across the ice. Datsyuk's shot deflected to the front of the net and past Zdeno Chara and Justin Abdelkader to Zetterberg, and with Chara crashing into Rask in the crease, the Wings' captain was able to find the space to wrist the shot home.
With just under four minutes to go in the game and the Wings now only down by one score, Detroit was simply doing what they had done for the entirety of the series up until that point: make the Bruins fight for every last inch of ice. Detroit was not going to go down quietly, and they made their point loud and clear with Zetterberg's goal.
|Zetterberg beats Rask at an impossible angle (via ESPN.com)|
But a too many men on the ice penalty 50 seconds after Zetterberg scored put the Wings down a man for a majority of the time left in the game. By the time the Wings had killed the penalty, pulled their goalie and called a timeout to set up a face-off in the Bruins' zone, there were only 22 seconds on the clock.
David Krejci won the faceoff, and it was Jarome Iginla who rifled home the empty-netter from center-ice to put the game to bed, and the series.
The Bruins had to earn everything the hard way in the five games played vs the Wings. Starting with the suffocating Game 1 loss a week ago, the early forecasts of the series had already proved themselves to be true; the Wings were experienced, they were tough, talented and fast, and they would not allow themselves to be pushed over by the rough and tough Bruins.
But as the series wore on and the teams continued to battle, the Bruins matched the speed and skill of the Wings, and in turn added their own elements of superior depth and far more superior goaltending.
The Bruins flexed their muscle and their total-team concept to overwhelm the Wings in four straight games. Detroit threw everything they had at Boston in the first period of Game 4. They only managed to put one goal on the board. Even after grabbing another goal in the second period, they were unable to hold onto the two-goal lead on their home ice. The loss in overtime was the real end of this series. In Game 5, the Wings could only hold on by their fingernails and keep the scoreline from ballooning into anything more egregious as the Bruins continued their relentless pressure.
|The B's celebrate the win with the Garden fans (via ESPN.com)|
Personified by their injured captain returning from back surgery, the Wings gave all they could in the series, willing themselves to within one goal of tying the Bruins in the third period of Game 5.
In the end, it wasn't enough for Hockeytown. Congratulations to the Red Wings on an incredible season. Simply qualifying for the playoffs after dealing with the multitude of injuries they had throughout their season is an accomplishment in itself. The Wings have nothing to be ashamed of after skating with the Bruins and making them fight for every inch of ice in a hard-fought series.
As for the Bruins, they advance to the second round of the playoffs, where they'll take on the aforementioned Canadiens.
I can already feel my blood boiling.