So much ice. But in the playoff opener with the Detroit Red Wings, so little room to skate.
“We thought that the game was actually faster than it was,” Bruins center David Krejci said. “We just have to hold on to the puck and make some confident plays.”
The more physical Bruins are usually the ones crowding opponents. They allowed the second-fewest goals during the regular season.
“We did a fairly good job of boxing out and playing quicker on the defensive side of things,” Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “In our zone when we got the puck we were able to get it out fairly quick. We were able to get the pucks deep and go after their defense instead.”
The top-seeded Bruins won the Presidents’ Cup with the most points in the regular season, 117. The eighth-seeded Red Wings had just 93. But Boston coach Claude Julien knew going into the series that the disparity would not be nearly as great in the playoffs, which usually feature tighter checking and physical play.
“I think we were physical enough” in the opener, Julien said Saturday. “We still had a lot of good hits. They do a good job when it comes to our forecheck. They get there, they like to have bodies in front of us on the forecheckers to kind of slow us down and we have to find ways to get through that.”
Five more things to look for as the Bruins try to gain a split:
PAVEL PRODUCES: Datsyuk averaged 23 goals in his first 11 seasons with Detroit and had 17 this year despite playing in just 45 games. He missed 16 games with a knee injury and played just six more regular-season games after returning April 4. But he came through as he has so many times to score the winning goal.
“I’ve had him for a long time and, obviously, he’s a world-class player and he’s coming back from an injury, which is obvious when you see him out there,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said, “but he can still do some very good things.”
STINGY GOALIES: Boston’s Tuukka Rask had the better numbers during the regular season with an NHL-leading seven shutouts while Detroit’s Jimmy Howard had just two. And both were impressive in the opener despite not facing many challenging shots. Rask did make an outstanding pad save on a rebound shot by Darren Helm early in the third period, and Howard knocked aside a deflection by Milan Lucic less than 30 seconds before Datsyuk scored. Expect more of the same stinginess as the series goes on.
“Tuukka is a great goalie and we are going to have to keep finding ways to go to the net and get screens in front of his eyes because if he sees it, he’s going to stop it,” Howard said.