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Lowly Red Wings Continue To Own Bruins, Bernier A Wall In 3-1 Win



It’s rare when the worst team in the league beats the best team in the league, except if it’s the Detroit Red Wings beating the Boston Bruins. Jonathan Bernier made 39 saves and the Red Wings (14-39-4, 32 points), the NHL’s worst team, beat league-leading Bruins (34-11-12, 78 points) for the fifth straight time and the second time this season with a 3-1 win in Detroit Sunday afternoon, snapping the Bruins six-game win streak.

Andreas Athanasiou scored two goals and Brendan Perlini lit the lamp for the first time this season and for the first time with the Red Wings. Torey Krug had the lone goal for the Bruins who were playing again less than 21 hours after they beat the Arizona Coyotes 4-2 on Saturday in Boston.

Just 28 minutes before the game, the Bruins, who had already called up rookie defenseman Urho Vaakanainen on an emergency basis, found out rookie defenseman Jeremy Lauzon had been suspended and then after warmup’s, the Bruins found out goalie Jaro Halak couldn’t go thanks to what was later revealed as an upper-body injury. Halak, who didn’t even sit on the bench during the entire game, would’ve been able to jump in if it was absolutely necessary but thankfully for him and the Bruins, it wasn’t.

Making an emergency start and his second start in less than 24 hours, Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask was solid, making 17 saves for the Bruins and giving them a chance to win. However, and ironically though, Rask was outdueled by Bernier, who had just eleven wins coming into this game as opposed to Rask’s 20 victories. This was Rask’s first loss since January 2, a 2-1 overtime loss against the Blue Jackets, and his first in regulation since December 12 when the Bruins lost 3-2 to the Lightning. 

After killing off two tripping penalties, to Brad Marchand and Sean Kural, respectively in the first 12 minutes of the opening frame, the Bruins found themselves on a 5-on-3. Trevor Daley was sent to the penalty box for holding at 13:15 and Valterri Filppula joined him for tripping at 13:57. Thanks to some superb goaltending by Bernier though, the Bruins could not convert then or on their next powerplay when Justin Abdelkader was called for tripping at 16:10. The two teams headed to the first intermission knotted at zero. Bernier had 12 saves in the first period and was the main reason the game was scoreless.

Playing two games in 21 hours seemed to kick in on the Bruins in the middle frame and just over two minutes into the second period, David Pastrnak turned the puck over as he was going back into the Bruins zone with an errant back-pass that Adam Erne picked off. Erne dished it to a streaking Perlini down the wing and the Red Wings winger sniped one low and far side on a sliding Rask 2:07 into the period. 

The Bruins appeared to have tied the game 12:33 into the second period when Marchand took a beautiful feed from Pastrnak and beat Bernier for what would’ve been his 23rd goal of the season. The Wings challenged the goal though, rightfully arguing that Patrice Bergeron’s foot was still on the ice as he hopped off for David Krejci and the Bruins never touched back and cleared the zone before the puck entered. After a rather extended review, the goal was called off and the Bruins were still down 1-0. Red Wings forward Patrik Nemeth would go off for holding at 17:04 but the suddenly stagnant Bruins powerplay failed to convert again. 

The Bruins seemed revitalized when they came back out for the third period and 33 ticks in they tied the game at one for real and Pastrnak, who was robbed of an assist on the no-goal call in the second, got a beauty as he set up Krug on a 2-on-1 down low after faking the shot and throwing Bernier off. Bergeron, who was the player offsides prior to the called back goal by Marchand, got the secondary assist.

Bernier and the Wings settled down and withstood the Bruins’ surge and after Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk was whistled off for tripping at 6:01 of the final frame, the Red Wings powerplay finally clicked. Athanasiou scored his sixth goal of the season at 7:10 as he was left wide open on the doorstep to take a beautiful feed from Tyler Bertuzzi. Dylan Larkin got the secondary assist.

The Bruins would turn up the heat for the rest of the period but Bernier, two hit posts and a wide-open net missed by Chris Wagner with 4:37 left in regulation preserved the Red Wings lead. Then with two minutes left, Charlie Coyle turned it over at the Bruins blue line and Dylan Larkin broke in on Rask with McAvoy chasing him down and Rask stoned him to keep it at 2-1 Wings. The play went back the other way and Pastrnak found himself with a chance right from his office in the slot but Bernier stoned him

Athanasiou sealed the deal with an empty-netter for his second goal at 19:31. Christoffer Ehn and Filip Hronek got the helpers. 

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