Pavel Datsyuk put the Detroit Red Wings up on a horse, and off they rode into the Boston night. The Wings got a huge opening boost in their first-round series against the Presidents’ Trophy champion Bruins, leaving TD Garden Friday with a 1-0 victory that now gives Detroit home-ice advantage. Game 2 is Easter Sunday. Datsyuk scored with three minutes to go in regulation, when he pulled the puck between his legs, settled it unto his stick, eyed Boston’s net and fired between the legs of Milan Lucic. “Pav picked up the puck really well and he did great move,” Tomas Tatar said. “It was beautiful goal. It put us up on a horse.” The play came immediately after Jimmy Howard pulled off an acrobatic save on Lucic, who had a great tip off a Jarome Iginla shot. “I just swung my glove behind and was able to get a piece of it and it went out the other way, and then Pavel went down and scored,” Howard said. “I just saw the red light come on.” Datsyuk said he wasn’t sure the puck went in either, because he used Justin Abdelkader as a screen, but then “my teammates were around me.” Datsyuk made sure to note how Howard, “stop everything to help us.” Howard made 25 saves for his third career playoff shutout. He was helped by a well-rounded team game that saw the defensemen quick to get the puck out of Detroit’s zone and all four lines play hard. “It was a good road game,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “It was tightly played. There weren’t a ton of chances for either team. It was a good start for us. “You want to establish yourself in a series, especially when you’re the lower seed. Sometimes if the upper seed gets the upper hand right away, you start questioning whether you’re good enough. We know we’re good enough, but it’s one thing to know you’re good enough, and another thing to show you’re good enough.” The road team considers the first 10 minutes of a playoff game a storm to weather. The Wings did more than that, challenging the Bruins from the opening shifts. Tatar fired the opening shot, snapping a puck at Rask to announce the Wings’ intent to stand their ground. Howard got warmed up quickly, too, as the Bruins swarmed around him, forcing acrobatic moves. A power play came Detroit’s way late in the period, after big Zdeno Chara smushed Brendan Smith into the boards like a bug on a windshield, helping the Wings finish the first period with an 11-9 edge in shots. The Wings didn’t convert through two power plays, but they also killed off a Boston power play.
Detroit 1, Boston 0: Pavel Datsyuk has highlight goal, Jimmy Howard backstops Game 1 win for Red Wings
Detroit Free Press | Apr 19