Bruins dispose of overmatched Wings, play Habs next

Milan Lucic of the Boston Bruins celebrates his goal past Jonas Gustavsson of the Detroit Red Wings...

Milan Lucic of the Boston Bruins celebrates his goal past Jonas Gustavsson of the Detroit Red Wings with teammate Jarome Iginla in the third period in Game 5 at TD Garden on April 26, 2014. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images/AFP)

ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:24 PM ET

The Bruins knew they were good enough to breeze by the Detroit Red Wings. Making life easier on themselves was another story.

Too good to allow an inferior opponent loaded with young players stick around for longer then necessary.

And too good to waste an opportunity for an easy kill.

So with the recent memory of last year's close call in the first round, the Bruins took care of business Saturday afternoon at the TD Garden with a series-clinching 4-2 win over the young and overmatched Wings.

The victory finished off a 4-1 series win in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal and confirmed a second-round date with the Montreal Canadiens that won't likely begin until late next week.

Milan Lucic's goal with 15:33 remaining in the third period gave the Bruins a welcome cushion to avoid a return date to the Motor City and stood up as the game winner. Once again, Boston took advantage of a potent power play, scoring two with the extra man on Saturday.

The biggest goal came from the biggest man in the game with just 3.8 seconds remaining in the second period. With the Bruins on a four-on-three power play, Zdeno Chara's blast from the point on a great feed from Patrice Bergeron restored a lead that they would not give up.

The play caused Red Wings coach Mike Babcock to lose it on the Detroit bench, however. Babcock accurately felt that Pavel Datsyuk was hooked by Bergeron after the draw and when the play went uncalled, the Bruins established easy possession.


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One poor non-call, perhaps, but throughout the series the eighth-seeded Wings were little match for the No. 1 Bruins, who were also the league's regular-season champions.

The Red Wings made the conclusion interesting with a late goal from Henrik Zetterberg at 16:08 of the third but it was too little, too late and the Bruins added an empty-netter with 15 seconds left.

There will be plenty of opportunity for drama in the later rounds of these Stanley Cup playoffs, but if the Bruins have learned anything the past three springs it is that a little less stress early on in the tournament can't hurt.

Several Bruins players spent the past couple of days referencing last year's opening-round drama against the Leafs when they needed a miracle comeback from a 4-1 deficit in the third period of Game 7.

The date with the Habs will mark a third consecutive Original Six opponent following a victory over the Wings and a loss last June in the Stanley Cup final.

In part due to the Detroit rookies who had carried them in the regular season disappearing and mostly due to the Bruins' own sound defensive system, the Wings managed just six goals in five games. The only contests they scored more than once was in the Game 4 overtime loss back at Joe Louis Arena and again on Saturday with Zetterberg's desperation score.

In the Bruins net, Tuukka Rask was good when needed to be, including an outstanding second-period save on Daniel Alfredsson, who was back in the lineup after missing the past two games due to a back ailment.

Game 5 wasn't often a thing of beauty, to be sure.

The opening period was choppy, with frequent whistles and, in the second, the Wings seemed to lack urgency when trailing 1-0. They took advantage of a Lucic high sticking penalty at 14:41, however, when Pavel Datsyuk got a rare puck past Vezina Trophy nominee Rask.

That development made Chara's late goal crucial as the Red Wings went to their locker room wondering how they would mount a comeback against a team that hasn't lost three consecutive games all season.

All told, it was a near-perfect series for the Bruins, who seemed to get stronger by the game, the sloppy stretches in Saturday's contest notwithstanding.

The Wings, meanwhile, had a strong opening game and a good first period at home Thursday night but not enough in between.

Now it's off to face their historic rivals from Montreal, a series the Bruins will be favoured to win but not expected to dominate like they did against the Red Wings.


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