(Photo Credit: Steve Babineau. Getty Images)

By Andrew Bluestein | Follow Me On Twitter @adbblue

The Boston Bruins improved to 7-0-1 on Saturday night, defeating the Detroit Red Wings 4-1. It was the first Divisional and Conference opponent for the Bruins this season.

Besides a brief stretch in the third period, Boston controlled the game for most of the night. They played a very strong defensive team game and limited Detroit’s offense.

The Bruins got off to a strong start, putting on a clinic in the offensive zone throughout the first period. They got on the board first with a power-play goal from Pavel Zacha, who jumped on a loose puck in front and buried it for a 1-0 lead. The Bruins would get another chance on the man advantage, generating plenty of looks, but couldn’t beat Wings goalie Ville Husso.

Boston went ahead 2-0 when Charlie McAvoy showed great awareness by taking the puck to the net from the point and jamming it past Husso. Patrick Brown was a key part of the goal by occupying space in front, allowing McAcoy to finish. The goal was McAvoy’s first of the season. Boston registered 13 first-period shots and muffled Detroit’s offense. Jeremy Swayman made eight saves but wasn’t tested all that much.

The Bruins did a good job of keeping things to the perimeter in their own zone. The physicality was front and center as well, pinpointed by a heavy Kevin Shattenkirk hit on Micheal Rasmussen against the penalty bench boards. Overall, it was one of the strongest periods of the season thus far.   

It was more of the same in the second period. Their solid puck movement continued, and although they got a bit too cute at times, plenty of chances were generated. Detroit had a few good looks off the rush, but Boston did a good job of protecting the front of the net, canceling any second chances.

The Bruins had another power-play opportunity, and although they had some good bids, it wasn’t as fluid as in the first period. The penalty kill continued to be lights out, as they gave the wings fits on both their man advantages in the second frame.

The Bruins defenseman also had some strong pinches in the offensive zone, keeping possession alive. Another strong period from the Black and Gold, who outshot the Wings eight to six. Swayman was only challenged a few times, but the Bruins netminder shut the door when needed. 

It was an uneventful start to the third period, as both teams were in a bit of a stalemate. It was the Red Wings who snapped out of it first when Joe Veleno scored a highlight reel goal, undressing Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo. That made it a 2-1 game. Detroit kept their foot on the gas and poured on the pressure.

The Bruins played a lazy stretch of hockey in the middle portion of the final period, but the Wings couldn’t take advantage. Boston regained their two-goal lead after David Pastrnak was awarded his second penalty of the season. He beat Husso on a beautiful fake and roofed it upstairs for a 3-1 lead.

The penalty kill remained shut down, killing off all four penalties they took. Head coach Jim Montgomery credited his assistant Joe Sacco for the success of the PK. “Joe Sacco does a great job. It’s plain and simple.” He added, “I think his game plan, his execution and players understand his game plan at a high level.” Boston then iced it when Pastrnak banked the punk off the boards and went all the way into the empty net for his second of the night.

That made it a 4-1 game. Pastrnak touched on the empty netter postgame. “I was just trying to get it out. It was there for a while, and I wanted to get a change.” It was a lucky bounce for the Bruins sniper.

Jeremy Swayman finished the night with 22 saves in the victory and spoke about the first division win of the season. “We circled this one on the calendar this week, and we wanted to send a statement, you know, in division games, we want to make sure we’re staying dominant, and that’s a big mental piece for us going forward.” 

The Bruins will play two more divisional games to wrap up their four-game homestand. Next, they play the Florida Panthers on Monday night at 7:00 p.m. and then the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.