BOSTON — One team was looking to extend their winning streak to 11, while the other was looking to steal a road win and extend a winning streak of their own against an Original Six opponent.
In the end, the Bruins had their chances — especially after Patrice Bergeron’s game-tying goal at 7:52 of the third period to tie it at 2-2 — but the Red Wings’ resiliency prevailed with Todd Bertuzzi’s shootout winner and took home a 3-2 shootout victory.
“It’s a real tough way to lose in the shootout,” said Bruins’ captain Zdeno Chara who was a minus-1 in over 26 minutes of ice time Friday. “I thought that we battled really hard for 60 minutes but obviously they have a great team.
“It was a real close game. That’s what you want to see and that’s the effort that we provided.”
Despite the result, the Bruins, especially Claude Julien, thought his team might have been a bit better.
“Well I don’t think its the end of the world that’s what we have to take out of it,” Julien said. “I thought we were the better team out there but it’s unfortunate. Sometimes the game is decided by individuals and that’s what happened tonight.”
Julien, who kept noting that the Bruins were “the better team”, also stated — for better or for worse — that the final score doesn’t indicate the game being played on the ice even during the 10-game winning streak.
“We won some games lately that maybe we didn’t deserve to and we found ways to win,” he said, “and that’s what they did tonight. They found a way to win.”
The theme might have been set when the Bruins outshot the Wings 13-6 through the opening 20 minutes but found themselves trailing 1-0 Valterri Fippula deflected a nifty feed from Henrik Zetterberg past Tuukka Rask (29 saves).
Then, shortly after the Bruins seemed to gain a little momentum when Daniel Paille took a turnover in the Detroit end past Jimmy Howard (41 saves) to tie the game at 1-1 at 4:05 of the second, Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk scored on a breakaway 35 seconds later.
But even after Bergeron’s tying-goal which completely shifted momentum, the Bruins couldn’t bury their opportunities after the ice shifted in their direction between the midway third period and the end overtime to extend the streak.
“It shows [that we have] great resilience and good bounce back,” head coach Mike Babcock said about his team’s effort. “They’re good [the Bruins]. They’ve got good players. They have good depth right through the lineup. They’re a good team.”
If anything, the Red Wings go into Saturday’s Central Division matchup against the Nashville Predators with a little momentum after knocking off the defending Cup champs and the Bruins go into tomorrow’s game against the Winnipeg Jets knowing they, too, can capitalize on the effort they showed Friday and try to extend its now 11-game unbeaten streak to 12.
“For our team we know that we can play solid on the road and beat a team that’s the defending Stanley Cup champions and a team that you want to want to measure yourself up against,” said 41-year-old Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom.
“Obviously we wanted a victory, but…we had a good effort from everybody today,” said Paille. “We have a game tomorrow against Winnipeg and we’ll go from there.”