The last time the Red Wings played at home prior to Sunday's NBC "Game of the Week," they were booed off the ice after a lackluster 4-1 loss to the Nashville Predators this past Wednesday.
It was a stinging feeling they carried into this weekend's home-and-home series against the Boston Bruins, which showed during Friday night's 6-1 win at Boston's TD Banknorth Garden. Sunday afternoon in Detroit was Boston's chance to even the score, but instead the Red Wings swept the series with an impressive 4-2 win in front of 20,066 at sold out Joe Louis Arena.
This time, the Wings headed to the home locker room after the final horn to cheers – which was one of their top priorities.
"We took [the booing] to heart," said Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard, who picked up his League-leading 28th win by stopping 23 of 25 shots. "We expect a lot more out of ourselves and the fans deserve it. They pay their hard-earned money to come watch us play and they deserve a better product than what we gave them against Nashville."
They got it on Sunday, thanks to an impressive all-around effort by the Red Wings (34-16-6) – who controlled the final two periods after trailing at the first intermission for the ninth straight time on home ice.
After allowing those two first-period goals, Howard was strong the rest of the way. Meanwhile, the defense in front of him was stingy. Detroit also played stellar with the puck and outshot Boston 36-25 overall and 19-6 in a dominating second period.
Offensively, Todd Bertuzzi led the way for the Red Wings for the second straight game, scoring two more goals against the Bruins after also potting a pair on Friday night.
His first tied the game 1-1 at 6:09 of the first period and his second completed the scoring at 13:35 of the third – tapping home a pass by Johan Franzen to cap off a 2-on-1 rush. Eight other Wings recorded points, with Pavel Datsyuk and Kris Draper also scoring goals.
For Bertuzzi, his trend of scoring goals in bunches continued. Prior to Friday's game, Bertuzzi hadn't scored in seven games and had just one goal in his previous 14. Now, he's riding a streak of four in the last six periods.
"I hadn't scored in a while, so I consider that a wall," Bertuzzi said. "I've always been kind of a streaky scorer, but for some reason the past handful of years it goes the other way a little bit longer than I like. But that's the NHL for you."
Michigan native Tim Thomas, the top goalie in the League statistically, took just his seventh regulation defeat of the season. He also did a great job keeping the Bruins in the game, despite allowing all four Detroit goals.
"We didn't help ourselves out a few times [today]," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "We competed a little harder [than on Friday] and did a better job of back checking and putting pressure on them. We just couldn't sustain that kind of effort for 60 minutes."
Boston got off to a fast start on Seguin's ninth goal, which gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead just 1:29 into the game. Bertuzzi then tied it up on a great individual effort deep in the Boston zone by stealing a blind pass by Marchand and beating Thomas on the backhand after a failed poke check.
Marchand made up for it by scoring on a power play at 12:17 of the first -- tipping in a feed from the right circle by Michael Ryder (2 assists) to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission.
The Red Wings didn't let it last long, though. Detroit took a 3-2 lead in the second on the goals by Datsyuk and Draper, and never let the Bruins fully recover.
First came Datsyuk's tally, which tied it 2-2 just 3:54 into the second.
After a point blast by Brian Rafalski was stopped by Thomas, the puck kicked to Datsyuk near the bottom of the left circle. He wristed it into a wide open net for the goal – giving him three markers in four games since returning from a broken hand that kept him out for 19 games.
That set up Draper's goal at 12:44 of the second, which gave the Wings a 3-2 lead they didn't relinquish. Patrick Eaves fed a perfect pass between defenders at the Boston blue line, which Draper received in the slot.
The Red Wings assistant captain then finished the play by skating through the slot and roofing a stick-side wrister over Thomas' shoulder that found the corner of the net. Draper was excited for more than the obvious reason.
Up in the stands, his son, Kienan, celebrated his ninth birthday with friends.
"It was exciting," said Draper, who has 6 goals and 8 points in 28 games after battling a groin injury to start the season. "I think you could tell by the smile on my face when it went in that I was pretty happy."
Red Wings fans were pleased, as well – a much happier lot than the last time they gathered at Joe Louis Arena for a game. Like Howard, Draper said the boos after losing to Nashville were still fresh in the Red Wings' minds on Sunday.
"We deserved it," he said. "It bothered us … not the boos, but the fact we gave 'em a reason to boo us."