Finally, the Detroit Red Wings decided they wanted to start a game on time. Following a gallant effort on Wednesday night at home, where they smothered the New Jersey Devils, the Red Wings came out roaring in the first period against the league’s best Bruins. With their 5-2 victory Friday, Detroit handed Boston just their second loss in regulation play this season. Both of the Bruins’ regulation losses this season have come at the hands of the Red Wings.
Detroit received goals from J.T. Compher and Alex DeBrincat in the first period. Compher redirected a Shayne Gostisbehere point shot past netminder Jeremy Swayman on the power play. Gostisbehere was elevated on Saturday afternoon to Detroit’s top pairing by head coach Derek Lalonde as Jake Walman was unable to go due to an illness. Gostisbehere performed fairly well paired with Moritz Seider.
Like Walman, Gostisbehere is a mobile, offensive-minded defender. His creativity and offensive capabilities meshed perfectly with Seider’s overall game. Seider is very capable in the offensive zone and is even better in the defensive end. Gostisbehere is not known for his defensive abilities, but he’s better than people give him credit for. Paired with Seider, who has the ability to enhance his partner’s game, he has quickly become the ultimate eraser on Detroit’s backend.
Shayne Gostisbehere performed great despite the increased workload.
Elevating Gostisbehere allowed Lalonde to keep Ben Chiarot and Jeff Petry together, to all of Detroit fans’ dismay. It’s not the best second pairing I could think of, but at least Lalonde realized that elevating Chiarot to the top unit wasn’t the correct choice. Although this pair is usually a punching bag among fans, Chiarot, in particular, isn’t playing as poorly as he had for Detroit last season. Part of the key to that is limiting his exposure and ice time. Gostisbehere finished the day with two points. He led all Red Wings in ice time with 25 minutes, nearly a 10-minute boost from Wednesday against New Jersey.
It reminds me of Dion Phaneuf. Phaneuf had been a solid defender in Calgary. Upon arriving in Toronto, the Maple Leafs tried to play him foolishly like a franchise defender rather than limit his exposure, making him vulnerable, particularly late in hockey games. Chiarot can be an effective role player when he’s used 18 minutes or so per night; when his minutes are over 20 per game, he becomes (even more of) a liability.
The Detroit Red Wings hand Boston their second loss in regulation.
Detroit’s second goal came from sniper Alex DeBrincat. The Red Wings’ forward forced a turnover near the Boston blue line as the Bruins exited their defensive zone. DeBrincat picked Matt Poitras’ pocket and broke in all alone on Swayman.
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Detroit’s third goal came from Robby Fabbri just as Detroit’s power play expired. DeBrincat sent the puck to Daniel Sprong down in the left corner and, as Sprong cycled with the puck from the corner toward the circle and created a shooting lane, found an open Fabbri alone at the right hash. Fabbri sent a rocket to the shelf past Swayman, pushing right to left on the play. The Bruins continued to push back all day, but every time Boston got it within one goal, Detroit had an answer to keep a two-goal lead for the majority of the day. David Perron hit the empty net to seal it at 5-2.
Larkin scored on the power play just before the midway point of the third period from Gosisbehere and Compher. Boston got goals from Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen.
Ville Husso got the nod in goal Friday after not making an appearance for the Red Wings in quite some time. Husso did not play in Sweden; he flew back to North America to be present for the birth of his daughter. Upon returning to Detroit following their trip overseas, the Red Wings turned to Alex Lyon, who made 16 saves on Wednesday to shut out the Devils. Next up for the Detroit Red Wings is another 1 PM start against the Minnesota Wild at home.