Win Big, But Win Meaningless? Red Wings Discuss Boston Blowout

Henrik Zetterberg scored two of eight Red Wings goals in an 8-2 blowout of the Bruins on Thursday night (Photo: Mike Ashmore)

Henrik Zetterberg scored one of eight Red Wings goals in an 8-2 blowout of the Bruins on Thursday night (Photo: Mike Ashmore)

BOSTON — After an 8-2 game, it made sense that one player answered the very first question regarding the significance of it with “it’s the preseason.” It made sense that the head coach stopped a similar question about three words in before making the same point.

But did it make sense that those comments were coming out of the winning locker room? It sure did.

Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard and bench boss Mike Babcock not only showed humility in their blowout victory over the Bruins in Boston on Thursday night, they also were dealing in reality. Only for a select few in each team’s lineup do these games truly have any meaning and well…there might have been a few more guys like that in Boston’s dressing room than there were in Detroit’s.

“I don’t think it’s indicative of anything,” Babcock said. “(Bruins head coach) Claude (Julien) chose his lineup tonight, I brought more than he had in his lineup. He had no Bergeron’s line, he had no Kelly’s line…to be honest with you, I’d rather the score be 4-2 and it’s a regular game…we had more players dressed than they did tonight. It’s almost like you should phone the coach in advance and decide who you’re playing. You want it to be a good level for both teams.”

It was evident from the morning skate that the game wasn’t likely to be competitive. 19-year-old goaltender Malcolm Subban, brother of Norris Trophy-winning defenseman P.K. Subban and the Bruins’ first rounder in 2012, was set to get the entire game between the pipes, and he struggled to keep up even in a practice setting, getting beaten to the lower half of the net more often than not.

“They’ve got a young kid in net, right? It didn’t go the way he wanted,” Babcock offered. “Things got away from the young guy. As a young player in this league, you get lessons. It was lesson night tonight.”

Where Subban struggled, Howard excelled, as he should. Now a five-year veteran of the National Hockey League, Howard told The Trentonian after the game that at this point in the preseason the focus is more on…well, his focus than it is the numbers.

“For me, it’s all about movement and finding the puck in traffic,” said Howard, who played the first two periods before giving way to Thomas McCollum.

“You spend all summer training and skating, but you don’t really get that movement of guys flowing in and out in front of you, so it’s easy to get distracted out there and lose sight of the puck. One of my two biggest things is just moving to get into place and keeping my eye on the puck at all times.”

Despite Detroit downplaying the win, there were some positives that they were able to take out of it.

“I thought our back end moved the puck good,” Babcock said. “We scored some nice power play goals, we had good line changes…we caught them a couple times on line changes in the second period.”

Added Howard: “I thought from the drop of the puck tonight, we were really good. There were a couple times there in the second and third where we got a little lackadaisical, but for the most part we played a real solid game.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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