This was stifling and humbling, a grizzled team stuffing its young foe back in place. The Bruins clamped down and the Red Wings reacted as if they’d wandered into the wrong rink.

The kid gloves got manhandled, which is what some thought would happen in this series, and what the Wings had to fear. They talked about maintaining poise and unleashing their speed, but this was a collision between a 10-speed bike and a truck. Detroit wanted to flex some hustle but Boston flexed the muscle, and the series suddenly looks ominous for the guys in red.

The Bruins rolled to a 3-0 victory Tuesday night, eliciting boos and emptying Joe Louis Arena early. Boston takes a 2-1 lead into Game 4 Thursday night and the margin seems larger. The Bruins’ defense and goaltender Tuukka Rask aren’t giving up much, and the Wings aren’t showing the discipline and fortitude to take much.

The Wings gave a stunningly scattered effort from the start, and although they pressed in the third period, they couldn’t break through. After being outshot 11-4 in an awful first period, they finally stirred and forced Rask to put down his cup of coffee and start making saves. But the game already was lost, buried under a pile of turnovers and dumb mistakes.

“We’ve been a way better team than that, that’s unacceptable,” coach Mike Babcock said. “And that’s not taking anything away from the Bruins. I thought we looked like kids, for sure.”

Babcock seemed perplexed, as did many of the Wings. It’s not that the Bruins were so dominant, but that the Wings were so haphazard. They have two goals in three games, which means their best chance is to tighten up their own defense and cut down on miscues. That was their plan, and it failed miserably.

The crowd was ready and the octopi were flying during the national anthem, but the Wings appeared to be consumed by jitters. Even Pavel Datsyuk was sloppy, blindly firing a wayward pass that nearly resulted in a quick Boston goal. If you lack discipline against the best team in the league, they’re happy to deliver their own brand of discipline.