Billed as a matchup of two of the league's best teams, the Red Wings and Bruins didn't disappoint, going toe-to-toe for regulation and overtime before Detroit's offensive skill spelled an end to the Bruins' 10-game winning streak.
Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi scored in the shootout to lift the Red Wings to a 3-2 win over Boston on Friday.
After Nathan Horton scored on Boston's third chance, Bertuzzi started wide, cut in and lifted a shot over Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask for the winner.
"You're thinking, `What's he going to come up with next? What's he going to try now?"' Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said of Bertuzzi's move. "Especially when he takes that awkward angle when he gets the puck and he goes way out wide. You don't know what he's going to do and I think the goalie's not sure, either, so it's been a fun thing watching."
Datsyuk and Valtteri Filppula scored in regulation to help the Red Wings win their fourth straight and eighth in 11 games. It was Detroit's first shootout this season, one of just two teams – along with Dallas -- that hadn't been in one entering the day.
Both teams played wide open at times, leaving even Boston coach Claude Julien impressed.
"We had some excellent chances. It was a great game," Julien said. "Unfortunately, the one thing you don't want to do against them is get in a shootout. They've got a lot of talent there. Unfortunately, we got to the point of the game where it was decided by individuals."
Daniel Paille and Patrice Bergeron had Boston's regulation goals. Nathan Horton scored in the shootout for the Bruins, who hadn't lost since a 4-2 setback in Montreal on Oct. 29.
Jimmy Howard stopped 41 shots in regulation for Detroit. Rask had 29 saves, but gave up two goals in three shootout chances.
Boston tried to go to Howard's glove side on all three of its shootout chances. He got a piece of Tyler Seguin's shot just before it sailed wide on the first attempt.
"I've had a lot of special memories here, with playing in the Hockey East triple overtime when we won the Hockey East championship, playing in a national championship game here – so it's been a lot of great memories," said Howard, who played at Maine in college and won MVP honors in the 2004 league tourney finals before losing in the NCAA championship.
Trailing 2-1 in the third period, Boston tied it when Bergeron collected a loose puck in the left circle after Henrik Zetterberg botched a clearing pass. Bergeron skated in and fired a quick wrist shot by Howard 7:52 into the period.
"We've played some good hockey (during the streak) and I think we've had some games where we didn't and found ways to win," Rask said. "Today we played a pretty solid game and lost."
After the Bruins tied it, both the pace and noise in TD Garden picked up for the rest of the game. The Bruins outshot the Red Wings 18-10 in the third and held a 41-30 edge in regulation.
"It's a game you get up for, especially when you're playing the defending Stanley Cup champs," Red Wings defenceman Nicklas Lidstrom said. "It's kind of a measuring stick for our club. I thought our team responded real well. It was a fun game to play in -- two very even teams as well, so we're very happy with a win today."
There were a few scoring chances for each team in overtime, the best coming when Bertuzzi stole a puck at the right circle, broke in free and sent a shot over the net to Rask's glove side.
The Red Wings, who twice had one-goal leads, moved ahead 1-0 on Filppula's goal with 7:17 to go in the opening period. It came just a few minutes after Horton missed one of his three good scoring chances.
Filppula skated down the middle and worked a nice give-and-go play by sending a pass to the right wing to Zetterberg. Filppula then redirected the return pass by Rask.
Boston tied it 1-1 on Paille's goal 4:05 into the second period. Horton stole Howard's clearing pass in the left corner and fed Paille, who cut in front and tucked a backhand shot into the net. But the tie didn't last long with Detroit regaining the lead 35 seconds later on Datsyuk's goal that was set up by a pass from Bertuzzi. He sent a short pass from the faceoff circle to a cutting Datsyuk, who shifted around Rask and slipped the puck into the net.
Horton had another good chance midway through the second, but misfired when he tried to one-time a shot at what appeared to be an open net on Howard's stick side. Later in the period, he mishandled a pass when he was in front of the net.