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Red Wings need better effort to even series vs. Bruins

by Matt Kalman


(Boston leads best-of-7 series, 2-1)


Big story: When Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk scored the lone goal in Game 1, it looked like the Red Wings had solved the Boston Bruins' defense and Datsyuk could be in for a big series. Instead, the Red Wings have scored one more goal in the past two games and the Bruins have scored seven, including goals from unlikely sources such as Jordan Caron and Justin Florek. The Bruins have looked every bit the Presidents' Trophy-winning team, while Detroit has appeared a bit overmatched.

"We've been a way better team than that, that's unacceptable," coach Mike Babcock said after Game 3. "And that's not taking anything away from the Bruins. I thought we looked like kids, for sure."

The Red Wings will have to grow up in a hurry to avoid getting pushed to the brink of elimination in Game 4.

Team Scope:

Bruins: Almost everything has been clicking for the Bruins. Both special teams, including their perfect penalty kill (9-for-9), have been efficient and they've gotten offensive contributions from seemingly everyone in the lineup. The defense has been stifling, led by the goaltending of Tuukka Rask. A year ago, the Bruins let Toronto push them to seven games after a 3-1 series lead. The Bruins have played seven games in the first round for three straight years, so they know they can't be complacent with a 2-1 lead.

"It hasn't been easy, let's not kid ourselves," coach Claude Julien said. "We've been fortunate enough in the last two games to get leads. We're not going to talk about a comfortable situation because until you win that fourth game, it never is."

Red Wings: Datsyuk was limited to one shot on net Tuesday for the second straight game. He needs to get going, and that might require Babcock doing more to keep his star away from Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara. It might also help if he has more firepower on his line, and slumping wing Gustav Nyquist might need to continue playing with Datsyuk and Justin Abdelkader like he did in the third period of the past two games. Forward Johan Franzen has also struggled to get chances.

At even strength or on the power play, the Red Wings have to make like harder on Rask.

"They're doing a good job blocking shots and boxing out and pushing guys down the walls," forward David Legwand said. "We've got to counter that with getting to the net and finding ways to get there. We've got to get pucks to the net and create more chances around the net and then get to those pucks."

Who's hot: Rask is coming off a shutout and has stopped 80 of 82 shots for a .976 save percentage. Bruins center Patrice Bergeron has three points in three games. … Red Wings defensemen Niklas Kronwall and Brendan Smith have done well limiting the damage done by the Bruins' line of David Krejci centering Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla.

Injury report: Boston forwards Daniel Paille (head) and Chris Kelly (back) remain out. … Detroit did not have forward Daniel Alfredsson (back) for Game 3 and he is expected to be out again. Forward Henrik Zetterberg (back) took part in the morning skate Thursday and is a game-time decision. Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (hand) is out.

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