BOSTON – The Boston Bruins used a three-goal first period to help bounce back from one of their worst losses of the season.
Bruins center Carl Soderberg had one goal and two assists, and Reilly Smith and Gregory Campbell also scored during the opening period in a 5-2 victory against the Detroit Red Wings at TD Garden on Monday.
The Bruins (19-15-3) lost 6-2 on the road against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday. That defeat caused Bruins coach Claude Julien to publicly question Boston’s commitment and hunger. The Bruins, playing without injured forwards Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic, raised their intensity from the start against the Red Wings.
“You know I thought we were focused entire the game, where there’s been games where that focus seems to have slipped or is not where it needs to be,” Bruins forward Chris Kelly said. “I think everyone was focused on going over the boards and doing their job for the 40 or 50 seconds you’re on the ice, and coming off. It was wave after wave. I thought every line contributed and played really well.”
Smith’s slap shot from the right point went past Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard 2:44 into the first period to put Boston ahead 1-0.
In recent games, goals like that have taken all the wind out of the Bruins’ sails. But against the Red Wings they responded the right way. Boston, which was outshooting Detroit 14-7 at the time of the Red Wings’ goal, continued to carry the play and scored the next two.
“I don’t think it was a real nice goal, and so basically our guys stayed focused,” Julien said. “We went and got those goals back. That’s kind of what you want to see from your team. You want to see a response, and I think we responded well, so that’s one of the things that I enjoyed anyways as a coach and seeing that resiliency and the fact that we went right back after them.”
During a delayed penalty, Campbell jumped on the ice as the extra attacker and wound up scoring from the slot on a rebound of a Torey Krug shot at 16:12 after a scramble in front of the net.
The Bruins went ahead 3-1 on Soderberg’s goal from the left side of the slot after a pass from behind the net by Loui Eriksson, who finished with two assists.
Detroit thought it had a second goal, but it was ruled both on the ice and in the NHL situation room that Tomas Tatar deflected the puck past Rask with a high stick at 18:58.
The Bruins outshot the Red Wings 19-12 through two periods.
Detroit cut Boston’s lead in half during a power play. Tatar’s wrist shot from the top of the right circle went past Rask through a Riley Sheahan screen at 15:10.
The Red Wings split their two-game post-Christmas road trip by defeating the Ottawa Senators on Saturday in overtime.
“Tonight and Ottawa, to me, were the same. They won all the battles, all the races,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “They competed way harder than us. This road trip, if you look since Christmas, [Howard] kept us in the game and gave us a chance in Ottawa, and [Howard] kept us in the game when we were down one goal going into the third tonight. But I thought as a group, as a coaching staff, you pride yourself on preparation and having your team ready; no good. Leadership group; no good. Individually; no good. Not good enough. No way. It’s real simple for me, either you’re going to work in the games or you’re going to work in practice. But we’re going to work. That is unacceptable.”
Seth Griffith scored a power-play goal at 5:11 of the third period to give the Bruins a 4-2 lead.
Kelly, who assisted on Soderberg’s goal, scored an empty-net goal at 17:34.
“Yeah, I think it was pretty obvious tonight that there was a bigger determination and commitment to working hard from start to finish for that matter, so this is one of hopefully many, and we need to understand that this is how we have to play and be successful,” Julien said.