BOSTON -- The Detroit Red Wings' offense has kicked up its production the past two games, and Monday the Red Wings were able to avenge their worst loss of the early season.
Detroit scored eight goals in its first four games of the season. Now the Red Wings have scored eight in their past two, wins against Boston and the Philadelphia Flyers. Detroit, now 4-2-0 on the season, lost 4-1 on its previous trip to Boston, on Oct. 5.
"They embarrassed us last time in here," Cleary said. "We kind of came in making sure we were ready ... the first period wasn't really anything going on and then we had a good second. They [the Bruins] had a lot of good shifts and a lot of good chances to score and we were able to keep it out of the net and it was a big win for us, something to build off."
Goaltender Jimmy Howard led the Red Wings out for warm-ups but was replaced as the starter before the game by Jonas Gustavsson. Howard sustained a bruised hand during the Red Wings' win Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers. However, Red Wings general manager Ken Holland told reporters the injury is not considered serious and Howard could be in net for the Red Wings' next game, Tuesday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. After the game, Howard said he faced about three shots in the warm-up before deciding not to play. He's day-to-day.
In his first start of the season, Gustavsson stopped 28 shots. He was activated from injured reserve Oct. 11 after missing time with a groin injury.
"In the end it was a real good start for us and for [Gustavsson] because he gets confidence and we need to get 20 games, or 20-plus games, out of him," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "If he feels good about [himself] and our team feels good about him, he can play more and it keeps [Howard] fresh."
Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask allowed more than one goal in a game for the first time this season. He finished with 24 saves for the Bruins, who now are 3-2-0. However, the goals could not be blamed on the goaltender as all three were the result of breakdowns in coverage. And the Bruins could have made Rask's job easier by finishing their chances; the Bruins outshot Detroit 30-27.
If you subtract an empty-net goal they scored in Columbus on Saturday, the Bruins have scored four goals in their past three games.
"We're really struggling with our finish lately," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "It looks like we're feeling the pressure of scoring goals and they're not coming easy. And so it's been like that. Even the game in Columbus, it took us a while to get going there. Obviously, Colorado [a 2-0 loss last Thursday]."
Weiss gave the Red Wings a 2-1 lead after he made a backdoor cut to the net and Johan Franzen found him with a cross-ice feed. Weiss beat Rask by stopping the puck and then snapping it over the Boston goaltender's shoulder.
The Red Wings doubled their lead 2:20 later on Cleary's first goal of the season. Daniel Alfredsson was left alone behind the Bruins net and found Cleary cutting to the slot for a re-direct that Rask couldn't stop. Detroit held onto its 3-1 until the second intermission and Gustavsson had all the offensive support he needed to make his first start a victorious one.
"I've been feeling pretty good in the practices so I felt pretty comfortable getting into this game," said Gustavsson, whose last NHL regular-season game came March 31. "You know when you get a few shots on you, you feel like you get into the game and then you just go from there."
Milan Lucic's goal with 1:20 remaining in regulation cut the Detroit lead to 3-2 but the Bruins couldn't score the equalizer. They finished the game 0-for-5 on the power play, including 1:54 of 5-on-3 time early in the third period.
"We didn't score goals," Bruins defenseman Torey Krug said. "That's what we're judged on. They can say we had great puck movement, but that doesn't matter because our job is to score goals and get momentum for our team. They did a good job of blocking shots. I had a few that were blocked myself and I got to do a better job of getting pucks to the net. We got to score goals."
It didn't take long for Detroit to solve Rask. The Red Wings scored first after a neutral-zone steal by Pavel Datsyuk from Patrice Bergeron near the red line. Datsyuk lugged the puck into the Boston zone, made a move to the outside around Zdeno Chara and fed the puck across the slot to Zetterberg. The Detroit captain's one-timer beat Rask high to the short side at 11:33 of the first period.
Boston tied the game at 14:12 on a goal by Loui Eriksson. Johnny Boychuk's wrist shot from the right half-wall skimmed off Eriksson's leg and beat Gustavsson up high. The goal was Eriksson's second of the season and first at home.