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Howard, Red Wings rally to defeat Bruins

by Paul Harris

DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings opened this season against the team they played in their final game last season. But the result was quite different.

The Red Wings started their 2014-15 schedule with a 2-1 win against the Boston Bruins at Joe Louis Arena on Thursday.

Boston, playing its second game of the season, eliminated Detroit in five games in the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, winning four straight after losing the opener.

The Bruins defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 on Wednesday at home.

"We knew it was big to come out to a big start because they played last night, wear on their [defense] as much as we could," said forward Justin Abdelkader, who scored one of the Red Wings' goals. "I think we did a good job holding on to the pucks and grinding it down low. As the game went on we put some miles on their defensemen."

Boston tried to stave off the effects of two games in two nights but couldn't.

"Any time you have back-to-backs with a couple of hours' flight, you always feel it," Bruins forward Brad Marchand said.

After some early jitters that led to a few turnovers, Detroit pressured Boston and held the Bruins to 17 shots on goal.

"I thought we played real hard," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said.

Goalie Jimmy Howard made a couple of big saves late, bouncing back from allowing a first-period goal on the first shot of the season.

"Surprise, surprise the first one goes in; I was like, 'Sweet way to start your night off,'" Howard said.

He made an outstanding glove save a little more than eight minutes into the third period on Marchand's one-timer from the right circle.

"We had a tough game. At the end we had a few good chances," Marchand said.

Gustav Nyquist's power-play goal with 5:14 left in the second period was the game-winner. Johan Franzen had two assists.

Patrice Bergeron scored for Boston. He missed part of the second period after getting hit in the head and going through the NHL concussion protocol. Tuukka Rask made 22 saves.

"I thought the biggest factor was the second period (when Detroit scored twice)," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "That's when the tide really turned, when [Bergeron] left. They really took it to us."

Bergeron's absence didn't account for everything.

"I think it's part of it but not all of it," Julien said.

Abdelkader scored at 3:52 when defenseman Danny DeKeyser's shot from the point went in off his rear end after being tipped by Franzen.

"I felt it hit me and it redirected," Abdelkader said. "I didn't know if Franzen tipped it too. It was a double deflection."

Nyquist's goal came off a nice setup. Positioned at the bottom of the right circle, he one-timed Darren Helm's pass across the front of the crease into the open short side before Rask could react. The goal came with Bergeron off for slashing.

The Bruins led 1-0 despite being outshot 10-5 in the first period. They didn't get their first shot until 7:59 remained, but Bergeron made it count.

After a giveaway by Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson in his zone in the slot, Bergeron beat Howard with a wrist shot from the top of the left circle, high on the glove side for an unassisted goal.

"[Howard] sits there for 25 minutes, doesn't get any shots, and the first one goes over his shoulder and you're saying to yourself, 'This isn't very good,'" Babcock said. "But I thought [Howard's] been good. He obviously worked very hard in the offseason. You get rewarded for that."

Detroit had seven shots when Bergeron scored.

"It was good. They're one of the favorites. They're one of the teams everyone is talking about to be Stanley Cup favorites, so it's good for us," Abdelkader said. "It's night one. We have to follow that up, can't be content and happy. We have a good team coming in Saturday (the Anaheim Ducks). We need to build off this win. It's a great divisional win. Good win coming off the bitter taste of last year's playoffs."

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