It’s funny how a 6-1 victory can shift the attitude of a team and its fan base.
On Wednesday, after being booed off of home ice, the locker room chatter was about work ethic, getting off to a better start and playing a full 60 minutes of hockey.
That resonated in Boston, as the Wings picked themselves off the mat and delivered a decisive knockout of a Bruins club playing some of its best hockey of the season.
“Normally I let them solve their own problems and let them take control,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “And they normally do it all.”
Detroit scored two goals over the first 3:10 of play and there was no looking back. Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask was pulled as the third period started and a highly anticipated game ended in front of a half-empty building.
“I thought we did a lot of good things,” Babcock said. “I thought it was one of those games where you get up early and maybe stop playing a little bit. We didn’t tonight.”
Now the challenge shifts to doing it again. These same two teams square off on Sunday afternoon at Joe Louis Arena. (12:30 P.M. on NBC)
“As a team we take a lot of pride with being able to play in this building and in front of these fans,” veteran forward Kris Draper said. “We haven’t played up to that standard lately.”
“We did a lot of good things yesterday, but it was only just one game.”
Someone who has been doing a lot of good things lately has been Jiri Hudler, who after notching just 12 points in his first 36 games has 11 over his last 14.
“I was trying to do too much at the beginning of the season,” Hudler admits. “But you have guys in this room, like Draper and Bertuzzi, who were telling me to just play my game.”
Hudler, who had a goal and two assists against Boston, said that Friday’s effort was one of the best the team has put together this season.
“It was certainly one of them, getting off to a good start like that and being able to keep it going.”
Meet Jeff Hancock, founder of the Brendan Smithsonian Institution blog.
And finally, a gigantic THANK YOU to the approximately 100 fans who attended our pre-game party at The Four’s. It was a pleasure meeting and interacting with all of you in person and hearing your stories of fandom. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, it should be noted that we had one couple that proposed at Joe Louis Arena on New Year’s Eve and another who used a trio of Red Wings jerseys for their ‘Save the Dates.’
Love is always in the air!