GOLD STAR: It was a banner return for Tuukka Rask after missing more than a week of action with a lower body injury. Rask made 24 saves for his first shutout of the season, and completely shut down the leaky defense that had allowed 11 goals in each of the last two losses. Rask was at his best when the Bruins needed him most, and he saved Zdeno Chara’s bacon with a big stop on Justin Abdelkader after the B’s captain turned a lazy outlet pass in front of his own net into a scoring chance for the Detroit forward. Then Rask kicked out a leg on a backhanded attempt from Dylan Larkin later in the same sequence, and then ably protected a slim one-goal lead in the third period as the Red Wings poured nine shots on net.
BLACK EYE: Steve Ott played only 8:58 of ice time, and still managed to show he’s still one of the dirtiest players in the league. The Detroit fourth liner spent his first shift of the game spearing Bruins captain Zdeno Chara between the legs, and then drew Chara into matching penalties when the 6-foot-9 defenseman began cross-checking the Red Wings agitator into oblivion. Aside from slashing Chara in the groin in cheap fashion in the early going, Ott managed a couple of hits and a lost face-off with zero shots or influence in the game in his short minutes for the Wings. It’s almost like he just put on ice to take a run at Chara in the early going, and then did his best grocery stick impersonation for most of the rest of the game.
TURNING POINT: The Bruins finally dominated in the second period, and then won the game. These two things are certainly not a coincidence. The B’s outshot the Red Wings by an 18-8 margin and dominated play for most of the period, but it looked like things were going to be an exercise in frustration when Tim Schaller’s breakaway bid zinged off the knob of Jimmy Howard’s stick in a near miss. Instead Schaller stuck with it, and on a following shift he saw his bad angle shot trickle through Howard’s pads as he couldn’t shut off the near post. That would be Boston’s only goal of the game, and give the Bruins one of their few second period “wins” this season.
HONORABLE MENTION: Tim Schaller has been a pleasant surprise on a fourth line that’s also been a pleasant surprise for the Bruins this season. Schaller has been gritty enough to drop the gloves on one occasion, and has shown a bit of offensive ability while also boasting the kind of skating wheels that the Bruins can always utilize. Schaller finished with the goal, a plus-1 rating, two hits, three shots on net, four shot attempts, a blocked shot and 1-for-1 in the face-off circle in a strong 12:47 of ice time. Schaller also had the two best scoring chances of the game for the Bruins: a breakaway wrist shot that bounced off the knob of Jimmy Howard’s stick in the second period, and then the bad angle goal that proved to be the game-winner for the Black and Gold.
BY THE NUMBERS: 4-0-0 – the record for the Bruins this season when Tuukka Rask is between the pipes. Conversely, the B’s are 0-4-0 when anybody besides Rask has been given a start this season. I'm guessing the "Trade Tuukka" crowd is going to sit out the next few plays.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "You won't see too many pretty goals from the fourth line. But nobody asks how [they’re scored], right?" -- fourth line left wing Tim Schaller on his game-winning goal, which was a bit of a soft goal allowed by Jimmy Howard after a solid decision to shoot from a bad angle.