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Bruins Fail to Complete Comeback City Hat Trick

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Boston Bruins
Sunday afternoon, the New England Patriots drove 70 yards with a minute left in the fourth quarter to come back against the New Orleans Saints, 30-27.

Sunday night, David Ortiz jacked a grand slam in the bottom of the eighth to tie Game Two of the ALCS at 5-5. Jarrod Saltalamacchia would win the game with a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth.

With two Boston comeback wins in the books, and the Boston Bruins down 3-1 in the third period, could the Boston Bruins pull off the hat trick?

Milan Lucic made things interesting with a goal with 1:20 left in regulation, but the magic had worn off. The Detroit Red Wings held off the Bruins for a 3-2 win on Columbus Day at TD Garden.

The Bruins had chances all game, but simply could not convert. Defensive lapses cost them in an otherwise close game.

Detroit opened up the scoring at 11:33 into the first period. Patrice Bergeron couldn’t settle a bouncing puck at the red line, Pavel Datsyuk stole the puck and drove into the offensive zone. Datsyuk dangled past Chara, before sliding a backhand pass through Johnny Boychuk and Reilly Smith. Henrik Zetterberg received the pass and beat Tuukka Rask blocker-side.  Loui Eriksson would tie the game on a redirected shot minutes later, the first period ended in a 1-1 tie.

The Bruins began to put heavy pressure on Jonas Gustavsson early in the second period, yet the Detroit netminder was able to keep everything out. In one notable sequence, Torey Krug and Lucic started a give-and-go play that forced the Red Wings to scramble. Jarome Iginla fed Krug’s rebound back to him in the slot. Krug’s shot couldn’t beat the three Red Wings players in the crease, and Gustavsson weathered the storm.

Minutes later, the Red Wings would take a 2-1 lead. Johan Franzen brought the puck deep into the offensive zone. From the corner, Franzen connected with Stephen Weiss in the slot. With Brad Marchand trailing late, Weiss had plenty of time to wrist a shot past Rask’s blocker.

With 9:33 left to play in the second, Iginla charged into the Detroit zone. After two leg kicks, he shot low on Gustavsson. His rebound kicked out the faceoff circle, where Daniel Alfredsson turned it into transition. Niklas Kronwall just missed on a one-timer, but Alfredsson retrieved the puck up behind the Boston net. He fed Daniel Cleary on the doorstep, catching four Bruins flat-footed for the dagger.

Detroit would take over from there, nearly stone-walling the Bruins. Boston had chances, including a 5-on-3 powerplay early in the third, but they could not catch a break.

Lucic scored on a rebound with 1:20 left in the game to close the deficit to 3-2,but it was not enough —  Gustavsson and the Wings managed to deter a Boston comeback.

“We’re really struggling with our finish lately,” Head Coach of the Bruins, Claude Julien said after the game. “It looks like we’re feeling the pressure of scoring goals and they’re not coming easy. … We go through that it seems like every year at some point.”

As for his team’s performance, Stephen Weiss, forward for the Red Wings had this to say: “We were able to get some forecheck pressure and hang onto some pucks down low, which we weren’t able to do last time. And even though we were up 3-1, we knew they were going to push hard. They were able to get one late on us, but Monster [Jonas Gustavsson] was huge in that for us. He made some really some big saves for us, and obviously our PK tonight was huge and it made a difference in the game.”

The Boston Bruins slip to (3-2-0) overall, while the Red Wings are now (4-2-0). The Bruins will travel to Florida to play the Panthers Thursday night, while the Wings will head back home to face the Blue Jackets tomorrow night.

Below is a video of Jonas Gustavsson of the Red Wings on the 3-2 victory. 

Notes Shawn Thornton played in his 500th NHL game today, Milan Lucic had his 100th goal as a Bruin. The Bruins are 2/19 on the power play. Brad Marchand was demoted to the third line, while Reilly Smith was moved up to the top line, with Patrice Bergeron and Loui Eriksson. Jimmy Howard, goalie for the Red Wings, took shots during warmups, but felt he was not ready to go, so Gustavsson got the start. Howard is still day-to-day with a bruised hand.

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