Here are my talking points from the Bruins' 4-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday afternoon . . .
GOLD STAR: Brad Marchand didn’t get any goals. But his playmaking ability set up two scores for the B’s — including the shorthanded game-winner in the second period. On that play, Marchand sped into the corner, stripped the puck away and then fed Patrice Bergeron all alone in front with all kinds of time to deposit it into the net. In the third, he deked through a pair of Red Wings defenders, then dropped a pass to David Pastrnak for another tap-in goal that gave Boston insurance room. Then for good measure in the third, Marchand tossed Robby Fabbri into the Bruins bench through the door opening during a shoving match. Marchand finished with two assists, a plus-2, two shots on net, three hits and a takeaway in his 19:14 of ice time. He was the game-breaking spark plug that made everything go in a win the B’s really needed.
LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.
BLACK EYE: Andreas Athanasiou had a couple of goals in the win over the Bruins last weekend in Detroit. But it was a totally different story this time around. Athanasiou finished on ice with three of the four Bruins goals, didn’t have a single shot on net in his 14:17 of ice time, and lost all three of his faceoffs. Athanasiou also took three punches to the head from Chris Wagner when the two tangled late in the third period. There were plenty of “meh” players for Detroit on Saturday, but Athanasiou was a little worse than that.
TURNING POINT: The Bruins had outshot the Red Wings 18-6 in the first period, but still found themselves down 1-0 thanks to Detroit goalie Jonathan Bernier, who held extremely well between the pipes while getting peppered. Frustration was clearly brewing. At one point late in the first period, Brad Marchand slammed his stick against the boards at the end of a shift. But to their credit, they didn’t let it get the best of them and just kept on pushing in the second period. They outshot the Red Wings by a 12-8 margin, scored three goals, and seized hold of the game against an inferior team. It's been a frustrating series with Detroit this season, but the Bruins won this game in the second by holding their composure.
HONORABLE MENTION: Charlie McAvoy continues to put together a very strong second half with what was another dominant performance. McAvoy scored the first goal for Boston in the second period when he picked up a loose puck and rifled one top corner past Jonathan Bernier. He then assisted on the insurance marker later in the second, snapping a point shot at the net that Charlie Coyle got a high tip on to make it a 3-1 game. McAvoy finished with the two points, a plus-3 rating for the game, four shots on net, two hits and a blocked shot in his 20:29 of ice time. The extra offense McAvoy is bringing to the table right now is becoming a difference-maker in some of these games the B’s truly have to win down the stretch.
BY THE NUMBERS: 2 – the number of goals this season for Charlie McAvoy after scoring the first goal against the Red Wings on Saturday. It was another big one for McAvoy and the Bruins as it finally broke through Jonathan Bernier, tied the game and opened the floodgates for the B’s.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “We wanted to make sure we got a win today. We had a couple of losses to them this year. We wanted to make sure we took care of business in the right manner. It was a good hockey game in that regard. We didn’t steal anything.” –Bruce Cassidy, on the win over a last-place Red Wings team that had previously beaten them twice this season.