Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask stops a goal attempt by Red Wings center Gustav Nyquist. ASSOCIATED PRESS
DETROIT — When it came to the prospect of creating offensive chances, the Detroit Red Wings couldn’t produce. The Boston Bruins wouldn’t let them.
Even after a late second-period flurry in front of Boston goalie Tuukka Rask on a power play midway through the period, Detroit’s efforts went for naught in a 3-0 loss to Boston in Game 3 of a first-round Stanley Cup playoff series Tuesday night at Joe Louis Arena.
“We looked like kids tonight, for sure,” said Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, whose team fell behind 2-1 in the best-of-seven series. “No question about it.”
The Red Wings put just four shots on goal in the first period, and even after the late second-period burst in front of Rask, Detroit’s 23 shots for the game weren’t enough to generate anything of scoring substance.
“You want to come out and get the first goal, but I felt we had a good chance,” said Detroit left wing Gustav Nyquist, who is scoreless in three playoff games.
“The goals they got, it was a couple mistakes and that happens but we thought that we were fine,” Nyquist said. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t get to that extra play.”
A questionable decision helped put the Red Wings in a hole before the end of the first period as the Red Wings turned over the puck in front of their bench in the midst of a line change, which ultimately set up Jordan Caron’s goal with less than five minutes left in the opening period.
“Going back, it would be a lot better if I’d stayed out there,” said Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who was skating to the bench as the Red Wings committed the turnover. “It goes fast, but it doesn’t matter. You stay out there until it’s a good time to change.”
Given that the Bruins lead the best-of-seven series 2-1, Game 4 at 8 p.m. Thursday at Joe Louis Arena could be pivotal. But Boston coach Claude Julien didn’t believe his team had taken a commanding lead.
“I would never say that because you can look at the score, but in my mind it’s one game at a time,” Julien said. “It hasn’t been easy, let’s not kid ourselves. We’ve been fortunate enough in the last two games to get leads. We’re not going to talk about a comfortable situation because until you win that fourth game, it never is.”
Five minutes after he hit the post with a slapshot from the right point, Dougie Hamilton’s power-play goal at nine minutes of the first gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead. Hamilton beat Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard (31 saves) on a long wrist shot from almost the same spot on the ice.
Then, Caron gave the Bruins a 2-0 lead with 4:12 left in the first as the Bruins capitalized on Detroit’s neutral-zone turnover and Caron picked up the rebound off Shawn Thornton’s initial shot to beat Howard.
During a scoreless second period, Detroit killed off penalties to Tomas Tatar (holding) and Brendan Smith (tripping) but was unable to convert 35 seconds of 5-on-3 power-play time. Patrice Bergeron scored Boston’s third goal with 1:59 left.
ANDERSSON IN, ALFREDSSON OUT: The Red Wings announced before Game 3 that right wing Daniel Alfredsson would not play Tuesday night because of a back injury. Center Joakim Andersson made his playoff debut Tuesday.
FOOT AND MOUTH: Boston left wing Milan Lucic was back in the lineup two days after sustaining a foot injury in the Bruins’ 4-1 win over the Red Wings.
Lucic told reporters after Game 2 in Boston that he cut his foot with his skate blade in a collision at the boards just before scoring Boston’s go-ahead goal with less than two minutes left in the second.
MARCHAND OK: Brad Marchand told reporters he’d twisted his right knee when he landed following a collision with Smith in the second period, in which Smith caught Marchand’s left leg with his knee.