Rallying from 3-0 and 4-1 deficits, they used a late goal from Gustav Nyquist and a shootout goal from Frans Nielsen to secure a 6-5 victory over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday evening at Joe Louis Arena.
Dylan Larkin, Xavier Ouellet and Andreas Athanasiou scored to creep within 4-3, and a beauty of a breakaway from Tomas Tatar provided the tie, only for the Bruins to immediately retake the lead, making it 5-4 going into the third period. Petr Mrazek, who replaced Jared Coreau in the first period, had to make several good saves to keep the score that close as the Bruins jumpstarted the period. Danny DeKeyser tried to tie it up with a slap shot from the left point during the second power play.
Nyquist used his seventh goal of the season to make it 5-5 with 4:03 to play in regulation, scoring by going to the net. A third power play materialized with 2:40 to play. Henrik Zetterberg had a good shot denied.
As part of the farewell to the Joe season, Grind Liners Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby and Joe Kocur came out for a ceremonial puck drop. By the time those paragons of grit made it to their seats, the Wings were already down a goal.
For a team with a bit of swagger after victories over Pittsburgh and Montreal, the Wings were completely undermined on the opening shift, with the Bruins running around Detroit’s zone and earning a goal after just 44 seconds, when Frank Vatrano scored on his own rebound as Mike Green didn’t cover him.
It got worse when the Wings got a power play. Green had the puck in his own zone but got outworked by Patrice Bergeron, leading to a short-handed goal from Brandon Carlo when he got a clean shot glove-side. That made the damage two goals 2:27 into the game.
Coreau’s third straight start ended before the period was halfway over. When Vatrano scored again during a Boston power play, that made it three goals on seven shots, and Mrazek took over. He got a bit of puck luck when a goalpost prevented Vatrano from a first-period hat trick.
It took the Wings until the last third of the period to respond. Larkin delivered his 12th goal of the season at 15:32 when he came down the middle and received a perfect pass from Tatar, scoring stick side on Tuukka Rask. The Bruins made it 4-1 in the last minute of the period — still the first — when Bergeron tipped Torey Krug’s shot.
Shots after one 19-7. The Wings held their previous opponent to 18 shots total.
Ouellet got the Wings back within two early in the second period. Tatar fired a pass that bounced off a Bruin, and Ouellet connected on a rising shot through traffic from the top of the left circle. A good shift by Frans Nielsen’s line got the Wings within a goal. Thomas Vanek had the puck headed behind the net when he whipped a pass behind him, straight to Athanasiou.
When Carlo fell along the boards trying to get to the puck, Tatar pounced, racing to the front of the net and slipping a backhand behind Rask. The Bruins scored on their next shift, when Adam McQuaid fired a puck that deflected in off Jonathan Ericsson.