BOSTON – Even the appearance and ceremonial puck drop from Massachusetts’ boxing sensation “Irish” Micky Ward wasn’t enough for the Boston Bruins to show up and fight back against the Detroit Red Wings last night.
No, instead of channeling some energy from the presence of such a decorated boxer, the Bruins instead laid an egg in front of the 17,565 faithful inside the TD Garden, dropping a lopsided 6-1 contest to the elite Detroit Red Wings.
“That’s not our team, we know that,” said Bruins future Hall-of-Fame forward Mark Recchi after the loss. “I mean they’re a great team but we weren’t ready at all. For whatever reason we weren’t sharp from the get-go and that hurt us. We know they’re gifted and control the puck, and they did. We didn’t match it.”
It’s hard to fathom that this was the same Black-and-Gold club that beat the bejeezus out of the Montreal Canadiens in the same building just 48 hours prior. That game — in which the Bruins won 8-6, had over 180 PIM and copious amounts of dropped gloves — was one for the ages. The B’s played like the “Big Bad Bruins” were back and the next stop was the Stanley Cup Finals.
But fast-forward to Friday night, and the Bruins got punched on the chin right off the bat. Detroit got on the board first, and before you know it, were up 2-0 on two shots on goal at 3:10 of the first period.
The Bruins, despite being down by a pair and skating uphill the tilted ice, did weather the storm a bit through the majority of the first. But without a doubt, the fat lady had sung before that horn sounded for the first intermission.
“Especially in the first fifteen minutes of that first period it was all them,” said B’s center Patrice Bergeron.
“There’s no excuse not to be ready for who they are, what the personnel is, what their systems are,” said defenseman Andrew Ference. “When we are playing as a whole group and everybody is prepared, it’s a well-run machine. But if there’s a couple of cogs that are off, and today was timing.
“When you have some of those issues and against a very good team, it looks all the worse.”
After being owned all night, and outshot 34-26, every-single player in that Boston locker room post game last night echoed virtually the same thing. Whether it be that their legs weren’t there, the Wings dictated the game, or that the B’s just simply weren’t good enough. And from what we saw this team do in games prior, especially at home — Montreal, Dallas, Atlanta — it’s perplexing why they weren’t ready for what this hungrier, more elite team in the West had in store.
There’s now doubt that the Wings mopped the TD Garden floor with the home team tonight. However, redemption for the B’s is imminent and right around the corner. Sunday at the Joe Louis Arena — in NBC’s Game of the Week — Detroit will host Boston in a home-and-home matinée where the Bruins plan on bringing their A game, and their legs.
“If we play properly, if we play the way the Bruins play and we skate, absolutely we can turn the tables,” Recchi said. “Sunday at twelve-thirty we have to be ready and be a lot different team…show them what the Boston Bruins are really made of and make a good game of it.”