HALIFAX - If they're fatigued from the long run to the Stanley Cup and a short summer lugging their prize to hometowns around the world, the Detroit Red Wings didn't show it Thursday night.
Brad Stuart scored the winning goal as the Red Wings defeated the Boston Bruins 4-3 in NHL exhibition play at the Halifax Metro Centre.
"It's good to get started up again," said Detroit goalie Chris Osgood, who played half the game and gave up one goal before making way for Daniel Larsson midway through the second period.
"We felt pretty good tonight. Thought we played well. We're probably a little lose defensively, more than what we're used to just because we have a lot of different guys playing."
Osgood and his teammates arrived in Halifax only about three hours before puck drop.
"It's nice to win but I think we worked real hard tonight and that was the main objective," he said.
Playing without captain Niklas Lidstrom who suffered a broken nose in Wednesday's 3-2 shootout loss to Montreal, Detroit took advantage of shaky Bruins netminder Tim Thomas, burning him twice in the first period and twice more in the third.
Stuart broke a 3-3 tie by scoring the winner at 12:23 of the third period.
Henrik Zetterberg, with a short-handed goal, Brett Lebda and Cory Emmerton also scored for Detroit.
Zetterberg said he thought Lidstrom, who didn't make the trip to Halifax, won't be out for long.
"He wouldn't have played tonight because we've got two teams playing every other game," said the Red Wing centre.
"I guess it's not too bad. He's got a few stitches and he'll be back soon."
For Thomas, who went the distance in net for Boston, the game was his first since getting injured playing for Team USA during the world championship in Halifax last May.
He got burned early when Emmerton's shot sailed past his glove hand and into the net. Lebda's goal from in close flipped off Thomas's stick and floated softly over his left shoulder.
Boston coach Claude Julien acknowledged Thomas struggled.
"You're confidence takes a beating and he was probably second guessing himself throughout the game, but I know what Timmy Thomas can do," he said. "It's just a matter of fine-tuning himself and finding his game again."
The Bruins beat Montreal 8-3 in exhibition play on Monday and lost 3-2 in overtime to the New York Islanders in Moncton, N.B., on Tuesday night before the close loss to Detroit.
Julien said he has high hopes for this year's crew.
"I think we're much further ahead than we were at this time last year. Guys understand what they need to do and it will be pretty interesting to see our team as we get closer to the end of this training camp and put everybody together."
P.J. Axelsson, on the power play, Jeremy Reich and Martin St. Pierre replied for Boston.
Detroit outshot Boston 40-33.