Final, 4-2 Bruins: That’s it, it’s all over. The Bruins have won the game, and the series. The teams are on the ice for the handshakes now, and it’s on to the second round for the Bruins. They’ll face the Montreal Canadiens, so get ready for a wild one.
Third period, 15.2, 4-2 Bruins: Jarome Iginla, empty net goal. Game. Set. Match.
Third period, 22.7, 3-2 Bruins: Jarome Iginla’s 150-foot backhand lob draws an icing call.
Third period, 1:03, 3-2 Bruins: The B’s didn’t generate anything on the PP, but they kept the puck out of their own zone and drained two big minutes.
Third period, 3:04, 3-2 Bruins: Wow. Yet again, wow.
Needing a goal to stay alive and running out of time to get it, the Red Wings get called for too many men on the ice.
That’s an unfathomable mistake at this point in the hockey game.
Third period, 3:52, 3-2 Bruins: Just after the Bruins killed the penalty, Rask made a truly jaw-dropping save on Abdelkader. However, the rebound bounced to the right of the net, and Zetterberg scored a goal similar to Datsyuk’s.
It’s a one-goal game, and this one just got a whole lot more interesting.
Third period, 7:18, 3-1 Bruins: You’re never going to believe this, but the refs have called another penalty.
This one is Marchand, again for roughing. He hit Henrik Zetterberg in a play that was typical of playoff hockey. But not today. It’s not allowed.
Third period, 9:36, 3-1 Bruins: The B’s killed off that penalty, but for the three seconds that remain. Daniel Alfredsson just walked down the faceoff circle and sent a snapper on net, but it was right into Rask’s gut.
Third period, 11:33, 3-1 Bruins: So much for the dagger goal. Bergeron goes to the box for hooking with 33 seconds left in the power play, and the Wings will be on the advantage shortly.
That was a bad call. But that’s to be expected at this point. Very few of these penalties, both ways, should be called.
Third period, 13:01, 3-1 Bruins: The Bruins are going back on the power play. Daniel Alfredsson goes off for tripping in the neutral zone, and the B’s look to really put the nail in the coffin in these next two minutes.
Third period, 14:12, 3-1 Bruins: Hey, look at that! Kozari is back out there. Like I said, even the refs are tough in this sport.
Third period, 14:12, 3-1 Bruins: Ouch. Referee Steve Kozari just took a puck to the ear, and that does not tickle. He was helped off the ice by his fellow officials, and we may see Francis Charron, the stand-by referee, pressed into action here.
You could tell that the last thing Kozari wanted to do was go down or get helped off the ice. This is hockey, where even the refs are tough guys.
Third period, 15:23, 3-1 Bruins: Oh yeah, this place is feeling it now.
Seconds after Gustavsson stoned Carl Soderberg on a one-time bid in front, Milan Lucic got himself in front of the net, took a pass from Torey Krug, and buried the B’s third goal of the game.
That might do it.
Third period, 15:52, 2-1 Bruins: The Red Wings got a golden chance, a doorstep bid from Sheahan, but Rask extended his left leg to make a nifty toe save. Penalty killed, and it’s finally back to 5-0n-5 after a series of penalties that reached the point of absurdity.
Third period, 18:49, 2-1 Bruins: And the third period begins much the same way the second ended — with a penalty.
Marchand gets called for roughing after he fell with an added oomph on top of Kronwall.
Third period, 20:00, 2-1 Bruins: Third period underway in Boston.
End of second period, 2-1 Bruins: All those penalties, we had to get a power-play goal at some point, right?
Zdeno Chara just absolutely bombed a one-time slap shot from the top of the right faceoff circle, and the B’s now lead 2-1. Chara’s shot was a bullet that sneaked its way past Gustavsson’s glove and into the top corner with 3.8 seconds on the clock. What a beauty of a goal that was.
Patrice Bergeron sent the pass from the opposite corner after Torey Krug had carried the puck through the zone. They both pick up assists on the play.
That’s a heart-breaker for the Red Wings, who just tied the game and would have felt pretty good in the locker room knowing one more goal might win it.
Now they know they’ll need to battle a fired-up Bruins team and a rowdy crowd to score at least twice if they want to come out of here with a win. That won’t be easy.
Second period, 14.7 seconds, 1-1: What do you know — another penalty. Brendan Smith, cross checking. This one sent Iginla flying into Gustavsson. I’m surprised they didn’t call goaltender interference, given how things have been going.
Second period, 36.5 seconds, 1-1: And … another penalty. Johan Franzen to the box for holding. Make-up call.
Second period, 1:20, 1-1: Just after the Bruins got their first real scoring opportunity of the power play, they get called for a penalty. It was a bad call, as Loui Eriksson was shoved from behind into Gustavsson. To minutes for goaltender interference, and that’s a truly terrible call.
Second period, 3:12, 1-1: Wow. The Wings have been holding Bruins sticks all series long, and they’re finally getting called for it. Now I’ve seen it all.
DeKeyser goes to the box here, and the B’s are looking to respond.
Second period, 5:19, 1-1: That didn’t take long, and it’s a tie game.
Rask saved a shot from the point, but the rebound bounced to a dangerous spot, where Pavel Datsyuk pounced and chipped the puck over a sprawled Rask.
Tie hockey game. All that hard work from Boston amounted to very little, and it’s a whole new game with 25 minutes remaining.
Second period, 5:31, 1-0 Bruins: Brendan Smith is afraid of Milan Lucic, as evidenced by the Detroit D-man avoiding contact with Lucic for the second noticeable time this afternoon. This time however, Smith was able to draw a high-sticking penalty on Lucic. The two skated to the corner chasing after the puck, and Smith kindly stepped aside to let Lucic take the puck. Yet in the battle that ensued along the wall, Smith cocked his head back to draw a high-sticking call, and it worked.
We’ll see if that PK can continue its greatness, or if the Detroit PP can get one through.
Second period, 7:38, 1-0 Bruins: It took more than 31 minutes, but the Red Wings finally forced Tuukka Rask to make a difficult save.
It was an Alfredsson redirect in front, and Rask was there for the stop, and seconds later, Iginla was sending a shot toward net, where Lucic tried to tip it home. The tip went well wide, and the game remains tied.
Yet the fact that just now was the first moment where Rask had to really make an extraordinary effort to make a save tells you how things have gone thus far.
Second period, 12:58, 1-0 Bruins: The Wings cooked up a decent scoring chance, with Daniel Alfredsson left alone in front of the net, but his redirect went wide. The Wings do have two shots on net so far, but one was a 50-foot wrister that was traveling maybe 30 mph. The easy afternoon continues for Rask.
Second period, 18:30, 1-0 Bruins: Heavy, heavy pressure from Boston to start this period. I’m getting the impression that it’s only a matter of time before they bury that second goal. The puck hasn’t yet left the Detroit end of the ice.
Second period, 20:00, 1-0 Bruins: The second period has begun.
End of first period, 1-0 Bruins: Brad Marchand really is something else on the penalty kill. He led a 2-on-1 with Bergeron against Kronwall for a quality scoring chance early in the PK, and he later weaved through three Red Wings to create another later on. On that first one, he fired a shot low to the far post, hoping for a pad save and a rebound for Bergeron to bury, but the rebound bounced too wide for Bergeron. On the second, he might have scored if not for DeKeyser tripping him up on his way across the slot.
The refs let it go, but the B’s were able to take the 1-0 lead into the locker room.
As has been the case for much of the series, the Bruins are controlling the game and look to be the far superior team. Yet as has been the case for all except Game 2, this one remains tight. One burst from the Red Wings, and the game starts anew, so the Bruins have to prioritize adding on to this lead and ripping the hearts out of the Wings. The Bruins can’t afford to let them hang around.
For much of that period, though, it looked like the Bruins didn’t even need a goalie. The defense got legs and sticks on so many Detroit shots (eight, according to the stats sheet) that Rask barely had to work for much of the 5-on-5 play. It’s a team-wide effort from the Bruins today, from lines one through four.
Another moment that stood out that period was Justin Florek pinching a puck to the wall deep in the Detroit end during the Wings’ first power play. He held his ground for about 10 seconds, drawing a rousing ovation from the home crowd. I’m not sure how many arenas around the league give such thorough applause for a moment like that, but it certainly happens here in Boston.
First period, 2:53, 1-0 Bruins: The Bruins continue to control the pace of play, with Miller just now putting one on net with Lucic in front for the redirect. Gustavsson made the save, his ninth, but the B’s continue to tilt the ice toward the Detroit end.
However, the Wings will get a power play opportunity here, after Krejci got his stick in Brendan Smith’s skates. Two for tripping.
First period, 8:46, 1-0 Bruins: The Bruins are rolling all four lines with success thus far, and even the fourth line has contributed with a long shift in the Detroit end of the ice that led to two decent chances by Krug. The first saw Krug snap his stick in half, and the second saw him blast a shot into a Red Wings player, but decent opportunities nevertheless.
First period, 12:01, 1-0 Bruins: Another penalty killed by the Bruins, whose PK unit is now 13-for-14 in this series. Not too shabby.
First period, 15:34, 1-0 Bruins:Minor setback for the B’s here, as Shawn Thornton goes off for two minutes for high sticking.
First period, 16:33, 1-0 Bruins:This place is officially going bananas.
Dougie Hamilton carried the puck from end to end and through the Detroit zone, not unlike he did for his Game 3 power-play goal. This time, however, he skated to the bottom of the right faceoff circle and threw the puck in front. Loui Eriksson was there and was able to backhand the puck past a sprawled out Gustavsson for the game’s first goal.
First period, 17:26, 0-0: The Bruins are going to have the first power play opportunity of the day, as Justin Abdelkader goes off for a neutral zone hook.
First period, 20:00: Bergeron wins the opening faceoff, and this game is officially underway.
3:14 p.m.: These games seem to start later and later than their announced start times, eh?
In any case, the pregame pump-up video is nearing its completion here at the Garden, as the giant Bruins flag makes its way around the lower bowl.
We’ll have an anthem shortly, and then puck drop on this Game 5. Here’s who will be starting when the game begins:
Justin Abdelkader-Pavel Datsyuk-Henrik Zetterberg
Niklas Kronwall-Brendan Smith
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Reilly Smith
Zdeno Chara-Dougie Hamilton
2:20 p.m.: Mike Babcock’s team is facing elimination, and the head coach is making some changes to try to stay alive.
He’s inserting Daniel Alfresson, who missed Games 3 and 4, back into the lineup, taking the place of Todd Bertuzzi. Considering it was Bertuzzi’s bully work that helped Detroit score the first goal of Game 4, and considering the 41-year-old Alfredsson was a ghost in the first two games of the series, that’s a suspect decision. But perhaps if this is indeed it for the Wings and for Alfredsson, Babcock doesn’t want the veteran to spend it as a spectator.
Xavier Ouellet will also take the place of Jakub Kindl in the lineup. Kindl was a minus-1 in each of the past two games, and Ouellet played in four games all season. Since early November, he’s played in exactly one NHL game. So that ought to be something.
Jonas Gustavsson will once again be between the pipes, with Jimmy Howard as the backup, according to Babcock. We’ll see if that’s how it indeed turns out.
12 p.m.: For whatever reason, the Bruins have had a whole lot of trouble finishing things off in their first-round series in recent years.
In other rounds, it’s been no problem. The Bruins swept the Flyers in 2011, and they swept the Penguins and beat the Rangers in five games last year, but when it comes to first-round series, it’s been difficult.
The Bruins led the Canadiens 3-2 in 2011 before dropping Game 6 and blowing a Game 7 lead, needing overtime to win.
The Bruins owned a 2-1 series lead over the Capitals in 2012 before losing two straight, winning Game 6 in overtime, and losing Game 7 in overtime.
And last year, they were in the same exact position they’re in right now, winning Game 4 in overtime against Toronto to take a 3-1 series lead. That series looked to be over, but the Leafs won Games 5 and 6 by a 2-1 score and damn near winning Game 7 in Boston. It took a miracle for the Bruins to pull of that win, which they did. Barely.
So obviously, the Bruins and the 17,565 fans in attendance this afternoon would rather they avoid that trouble with a win today at the Garden. And by all reasonable measures, they should.
The Red Wings no doubt have to be feeling deflated after getting the emotional charge of Henrik Zetterberg’s return in Game 4 and giving the Bruins their very best knockout punch, it still wasn’t enough to win the game. That’s a gut punch, and for a team that has been piecing it together amid a flurry of injuries, it stands to reason that they may be thinking about the relief that will come when the season mercifully ends.
That’s not to say the Red Wings are going to come out flat, but if the Bruins can put a puck or two past Jonas Gustavsson early on, and this building starts rocking, that might be all she wrote on the 2013-14 season.
The Bruins, obviously, can’t take anything for granted, so we’ll see if this one resembles Game 1, a nerve-wracking affair, or Game 2, a display of Boston dominance.
The puck drops shortly after 3 p.m., but I’ll have all the updates from warmups here at the Garden leading up to that point as well.