Return to play has been more positive for Bruins than Red Wings (so far)

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The Detroit Red Wings returned to action on Friday after four postponements led to a nearly two-week break. The next step is to get their first victory since the extended layoff.

Detroit lost 3-1 to Washington on New Year’s Eve as superstar Alex Ovechkin scored two goals in the final three minutes. The Red Wings will host Boston on Sunday.

“There are definitely some positives to take out of the game — we were right there at 1-1 late and it could have gone either way,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “Unfortunately, they made the big plays at the end.”

The Wings were beset by COVID issues but only defenseman Nick Leddy remained in protocols for Friday’s game. They played well enough defensively but only got one goal — a Pius Suter tally in the second period seconds after a Capitals penalty expired.

“I think it was a matter of getting our legs and timing back after having so much time off and really only having one practice as a team in the last two weeks. But a lot of teams are in the same boat,'” defenseman Marc Staal said. “We executed pretty well, and we gave ourselves a chance — we just have to start winning some of these games.”

Ovechkin’s go-ahead goal came on a power play after Robby Fabbri was whistled for interference.

“I thought we played well enough to win the game — we certainly put ourselves in position to win it,” Blashill said. “It’s disappointing to lose it, especially as well as we had killed penalties all night and then they get one right at the end of a power play.”

The four-game season series is tied 1-1 with the first two meetings in Boston. The Bruins won the first matchup 5-1 and the Red Wings took the second game 2-1 with Staal scoring the game-winner in the second period. The fourth meeting is scheduled for April 5.

Boston will be playing the second game of a back-to-back on Sunday. The Bruins defeated Buffalo 4-3 in overtime on Saturday as Charlie Coyle scored 34 seconds into overtime.

It was their first game since Dec. 16. They had six games postponed before finally returning to action. Charlie McAvoy recorded assists on three goals for Boston, which rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the third.

“Good resiliency in the third to stay with it,” coach Bruce Cassidy said. “Did a good job once we tied the game as well. We took a penalty late and obviously you don’t want to, but other than that I thought we did a lot of things well.”

Coyle was one of the Bruins players who recently exited protocols.

“You can only do so much when you’re off like that and don’t have access to a lot of things,” he said in a TV interview. “I just tried to use yesterday’s practice as kind of a stepping stone to see where I’m at and tried to take short shifts.”

Barring any more postponements, the Bruins are playing five games in eight days.

“It’s nice to start the New Year, first game after a long break, on the right note and get two points, get the snowball rolling in the right direction,” Coyle said.

–Field Level Media

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