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NHL stars praise Datsyuk's goal on Twitter

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
Niklas Kronwall and Justin Abdelkader celebrate Pavel Datsyuk's Game 1 winner Friday night at TD Garden. (Photo by Getty Images)

BOSTON – Many NHL stars took to social media Friday night to show their adoration for Pavel Datsyuk’s game-winning beauty in Detroit’s 1-0 win in Game 1 of the Atlantic Division semifinals.

Former player Matthew Barnaby tweeted, “I wonder how many coaches and parents will have their kids picking up passes with one hand between legs today. #Datsyuk.”

The Boston Bruins weren’t as outwardly in their praise but some spoke Saturday of their bewilderment in watching replays of Datsyuk’s magician-like act that took center stage at TD Garden.

“It was a great play and I’ve seen a lot of those over the years,” Bruins forward Jarome Iginla said. “Many guys have seen the highlights but I’ve seen them up close. He doesn’t need that many opportunities and he made a great play there. He’s going to make great plays. That’s what top players do and one great chance where he pulled it up and went in 1-on-2 and got a really nice shot, quick shot off. He’s got a great shot and it was a game-changer.”

Datsyuk’s goal with 3:01 left in regulation topped ESPN’s plays of the day for Friday, and, more importantly, stole home-ice advantage from the Presidents’ Trophy winners.

For defenseman Niklas Kronwall grabbing a Game 1 victory in a series on the road is big, especially since it was 15 years since the last time the Red Wings took a series-opener away from Joe Louis Arena.

“I think it’s just as much about how we played,” Kronwall said. “I thought we played a fairly good game but let’s be honest, it was a pretty tight game. It could have gone either way. Howie came up with some huge saves for us. They’re a really good team but we’ve got to keep focused on what we need to do out there.”

Jimmy Howard stopped all 25 shots that he faced in Game 1, but the Red Wings’ goalie knows that Game 2 Sunday afternoon will be a much harder battle against the Bruins.

“They’re going to push hard. They’re going to push hard the whole game,” Howard said. “They’re going to ratchet it up and we’re going to have to answer. It’s just part of the playoffs. As each game goes you just try and get better and better. You just play. Like I said last night, you never know how the game is going to unfold. You go into every game feeling your best but you never know what can happen so you just go out there and play.”

As for Datsyuk who still isn’t near as healthy as he was before in suffered a left knee injury in December, even when he’s not at the top of his game there’s nobody in the world that’s better.

Wings forward Tomas Tatar said he write a post about Datsyuk’s goal on Twitter, but he didn’t troll the social site for other comments.

“I didn’t look but I bet people are talking about it,” Tatar said. “The goal was amazing so I think a lot of people were impressed by the goal. I posted something but I bet lots of people did too.”

Datsyuk’s goal also had some historical value for the Detroit organization. It was the latest ever in regulation by a Red Wings player to snap a scoreless tie in the Stanley Cup playoffs. It also was the latest such goal in any postseason game since Raffi Torres scored with 19 seconds left to lift Vancouver to a 1-0 win over Boston in Game 1 of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals.

For Datsyuk, the goal was his sixth career playoff game-winner, and first since April 27, 2010, in Game 7 of the Western Conference quarterfinals at Phoenix. He now has 37 goals and 104 points in 141 career postseason games, eighth among active players and tied for sixth in Red Wings history with Alex Delvecchio.

FIRST-TIMERS: Seven players made their Stanley Cup playoff debuts in Friday’s Game 1 at TD Garden, including three from Michigan – Red Wings forward Luke Glendening (Grand Rapids), and Bruins defenseman Corey Potter (Lansing) and center Justin Florek (Marquette).

Other playoff first-timers were Bruins forward Reilly Smith, and Red Wings forwards Riley Sheahan, Tomas Jurco and Tatar.

“It was a really tough game for the first playoff game,” said Tatar, who registered a Game 1 high five shots on goal. “I could picture this game coming a little bit later (in the series) than it actually was because it was really tight. It feels to me like the tightest game. I’m glad that I have it behind me and we can refocus on the next game and we don’t have to be so shaky and play with a little more confidence.”

BROTHERLY ENCOUNTERS: Though the play-by-play stats sheet for Game 1 shows just one hit involving the brothers, Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith was convinced there was more contact then that. And there would have been even more if he and Kronwall would have faced the Patrice Bergeron line more.

“We hit each other two or three times,” said Smith, of his younger brother, Reilly. “I felt that we saw (the Milan Lucic) line a little bit more and I think (Danny DeKeyser and Kyle Quincey) saw Bergeron’s line a little bit more than we did. But definitely saw him a little bit for sure.”

Reilly Smith was the only Bruins’ forward who didn’t have a shot in Game 1, though Brendan took some credit for that.

“He actually had a really good chance at the start,” Brendan said. “He had some good speed and he tried to pull up behind and I was lucky enough to get a good stick on him.”

NOTES: Daniel Alfredsson, who played in his first Stanley Cup playoff game with a team other than the Ottawa Senators on Friday, did not participate in the Red Wings practice Saturday afternoon at TD Garden. However, coach Mike Babcock said he plans to stick with the same lineup for Game 2 on Sunday. … Captain Henrik Zetterberg and defenseman Jonathan Ericsson skated Saturday, though there still isn’t a timetable for the duo’s return to the Red Wings’ lineup.

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