BOSTON — The Detroit Red Wings were without their captain and without much composure.
Thursday night at TD Garden showcased what a difference special teams make. Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron broke out of a slump with four goals as the Bruins defeated the Red Wings, 5-1.
The loss extended the Wings’ winless streak to four games; they’re now 4-5-2 on the season.
Rookie Lucas Raymond contributed his fifth goal of the season and rookie Moritz Seider also earned a point in the loss.
Dylan Larkin missed a second straight game; coach Jeff Blashill said Larkin is away for personal reasons. Teammates describe Larkin as the team’s engine, and they have sputtered without him.
For a team coming off their worst start of the season, two nights earlier, the Wings didn’t offer the Bruins much resistance. They came out of the first period with only three shots on net, while defensive breakdowns forced 10 saves from Thomas Greiss. Final shots went 37-15 to Boston.
The Wings trailed by three goals when they had 1:10 with a two-man advantage in the the third period. Seider sent the puck to Filip Hronek, who fed Raymond for a one-timer. But the Wings gave it right back, with Mike Reilly scoring while the Wings still were on a power play, 24 seconds after Raymond’s goal.
The Wings have been outscored 13-5 on the trip, which concludes Saturday at 7 p.m. in Buffalo.
Power play difference
The Wings got very little out of a power play early in the first period. Tomas Nosek — whom the Wings lost in the Vegas expansion draft — won the draw against Sam Gagner. The best the Wings could generate was a slapshot by Nick Leddy that Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman stopped. When the Bruins went on a power play midway through the period, they scored in five seconds off a tic-tac-toe play. Patrice Bergeron won the draw against Michael Rasmussen and sent the puck to Charlie McAvoy at the blue line. He passed to Brad Marchand, who found Bergeron for the goal. That’s how easy the Bruins made it look.
Bergeron feasts on Wings
Bergeron, the Bruins captain, hadn’t scored over the first eight games of the season. He amended for his slow start against the Wings, scoring his second of the night on another power play midway through the second period. With Tyler Bertuzzi in the penalty box for interference, the Bruins again made converting on a power play look easy. Marchand had the puck and found Bergeron in the right circle. Bergeron completed the hat trick while Seider was in the box for holding, putting the Wings down by three goals late in the second period. Bergeron added his fourth goal with 4:08 to play in the game.
Bertuzzi returned after missing the Toronto-Montreal segment of the trip because of his unvaccinated status. The Wings are 0-3 without Bertuzzi. There’s no mandate that NHL players have to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but the Wings aren’t paying Bertuzzi when they’re in Canada.
“I’ve had lots of conversations with Bert about a lot of things and certainly this is part of the conversations I would have, but I have a great amount of respect for Bert as a person, a great amount of respect for him as a player,” Blashill said. “The NHL allowed players to make a choice with consequences and he’s made that choice and I respect his decision. It’s not something we talk about lots. It’s his decision to make and he’s made it and I’m more worried about when he’s with us how well he plays and when he’s not with us how well everybody else plays.”
Contact Helene St. James at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.