By Tony Lee
PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
BOSTON (Ticker) — Looking for a nice way to finish off an
amazing month, the Boston Bruins found it by taking out the
defending Stanley Cup champion.
David Krejci had a goal and an assist, Phil Kessel scored for
the sixth time in seven games and goaltender Manny Fernandez
remained perfect at home as the Bruins stayed hot with a 4-1
victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.
Rookie Blake Wheeler and Chuck Kobasew also scored for Boston
(16-4-4), which has won nine straight at TD Banknorth Garden and
finished November with an 11-1-1 record. Michael Ryder notched
two assists and Fernandez made 29 saves to improve to 6-0-0 at
The Bruins’ 23 points in November is their most in a month since
they had 24 in December 1978. Finishing it against a powerhouse
like Detroit certainly sends a message.
“We can beat anybody in this league and we can play with anybody
in this league,” said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, who assisted
on Kessel’s goal in the first.
Jiri Hudler scored and Ty Conklin turned aside six shots before
being relieved by Chris Osgood for Detroit, which failed to pick
up a point for the first time in seven road games this month.
Osgood made nine saves for the Red Wings.
“We’ve been pretty successful on the road this year,” Detroit
coach Mike Babcock said. “We hit a speed bump here tonight.”
A lot of teams have hit speed bumps in Boston of late, and it
has nothing to do with the city’s horrendous roads. Since a
loss here to Toronto on October 23, the Bruins have outscored
opponents at home, 46-18. Six of their nine straight home wins
have come by at least three goals and sellouts are becoming
“I know when I first got here I was looking into the stands and
they were half-empty,” Boston coach Claude Julien said. “It’s a
little disheartening to see that. The fact that now every night
you’re coming out and it seems to be more and more people …
(the fans) definitely are a seventh player.”
The crowd was a bit quiet early on as Detroit took the first
eight shots of the game. Julien said his team was “watching”
rather than playing early on.
When the Bruins finally got a shot on net exactly 12 minutes in,
they made it count for a 1-0 lead. Krejci fed Ryder, who split
two defenders to create a 2-on-1 with Wheeler streaking down the
left side. Ryder slid the puck to Wheeler, who one-timed it
past Conklin for his eighth goal of the season and second in as
It was the kind of team effort not lost on the Red Wings.
Babcock himself mentioned nine different players in one long
sentence when asked which Boston players impressed him most.
“They’ve got good players and they’re starting to come of age,”
Babcock said. “They’ve been drafting high for a long time and it
starts to show after a period of time.”
The fifth overall pick in 2006, Kessel scored his team-high 13th
goal of the season four minutes after Wheeler’s goal on Boston’s
third shot of the night. Defenseman Shane Hnidy passed the puck
to Kessel just inside the blue line and the 21-year-old unloaded
a slap shot past Conklin for his sixth goal in seven games.
Kessel has six goals and five assists in a career-high nine-game
The Bruins’ chances were limited again in the second, but again
they made them count. After Patrice Bergeron stripped a Detroit
defender of the puck in the corner, he found Kobasew skating
toward the net in prime position for a one-timer that made it
3-0 with 11:59 left in the second. It was only Boston’s second
shot of the period and prompted Babcock to make a switch in net.
“Well, I let up three goals in nine shots, which is not very
good,” Conklin said when asked about the hook.
Detroit’s vaunted power play, ranked first in the NHL by a wide
margin, struck for a goal with 3:35 left in the second when
Hudler fired the puck into a crowd and had it glance off the
skate of Bruins center Marc Savard for his ninth goal of the
However, Fernandez was able to thwart any further attacks and
Krejci beat Osgood midway through the third to finish the
scoring as Boston improved to 6-1-2 in its last nine meetings
between the “Original Six” rivals.
Calling the Bruins “one of the top teams in the NHL right now,”
Fernandez credited his teammates with keeping the high-scoring
Red Wings in check.
“Tonight we seemed to control the breakouts, controlled
everything out there,” said Fernandez, who made 14 of his saves
in the second.
“Blocking shots at a good time, clearing rebounds.”
Fernandez started two straight for the first time this season as
regular starter Tim Thomas fights an illness, one of the
casualties of a stretch that has seen Boston play 10 games in 18
days. It went 8-1-1 in the span.
“In a way you’re kind of sad it’s over because you got a pretty
good run going and you feel like you got some momentum,” Julien
said. “Hopefully we won’t lose that and we’ll bring it to
Florida (on Thursday).”