BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Bruins have been dealing with injuries all season — just not this well.
Humbled on the road two nights before and playing without two of their top forwards, the Bruins pounced quickly on Detroit and never let up during a 5-2 win over the Red Wings on Monday night.
Boston had a season-high 45 shots on goal and countered the offensive outburst with stifling defense, holding Detroit to six shots in the final period.
“It was pretty obvious tonight that there was a bigger determination and commitment to working hard from start to finish,” Boston coach Claude Julien said.
The Bruins were without leading scorer Patrice Bergeron and winger Milan Lucic, both out with undisclosed injuries lingering from Saturday night’s 6-2 loss at Columbus.
Boston responded with one of its strongest performances of the season — short-handed or at full-strength. Carl Soderberg had a goal and two assists and was one of five players to score for Boston.
“That was a great example of how we need to play for pretty much the rest of the season,” Boston captain Zdeno Chara said. “It’s pretty simple. We had the right attitude and right approach right from the first drop of the puck.”
Reilly Smith, Gregory Campbell and Seth Griffin also scored for Boston before Chris Kelly added an empty-net goal with 2:26 left to play. Loui Eriksson had a pair of assists and Tuukka Rask finished with 28 saves for Boston.
“I think everyone was focused on going over the boards and doing their job for the 40 or 50 seconds they were on the ice,” Kelly said. “It was wave after wave. Every line contributed and played really well.”
Boston took a 3-1 lead in the first and was outshooting Detroit 30-24 through two periods.
“They threw in a lot of pucks and created chances off that,” Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “We tried to do that, too, but we’ve got to have the puck. We didn’t win a lot of faceoffs in the first period and it’s tough to start without the puck.”
Jimmy Howard kept the Red Wings close despite the onslaught of pucks coming at him and finished with 40 saves.
Justin Abdelkader and Tomas Tatar scored for Detroit, which had won two straight. Tatar’s power-play goal 15:10 into the second period pulled Detroit to 3-2, but Griffith scored 5:11 into the third to restore the two-goal cushion and Boston’s defense kept much of anything from reaching Rask the rest of the way.
“We recognized after that game on Saturday that the way we’ve played for the most part this season is not going to be good enough to make the playoffs,” Rask said. “It’s time to change that.”
Campbell’s goal 16:12 into the game gave Boston a 2-1 lead. Campbell joined the play after Rask headed to the bench during a delayed penalty call for the extra attacker. Soderberg picked up an assist with a sweeping pass while face-down on the ice. Soderberg then scored 1:13 later.
Tatar, who had a tip-in disallowed because of a high stick late in the first period, pulled Detroit to 3-2 on a power-play goal with 4:50 left in the second.
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