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Bruins show marked improvement against Red Wings in Game 2 win

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The Stanley Cup playoffs were unlikely to be easy for the Boston Bruins. But after the Bruins won the Presidents Trophy and cruised to the top of the Eastern Conference, they should have had a better start to the Stanley Cup playoffs than a 1-0 loss to the Detroit Red Wings. Yet Boston greatly improved on that start and got back on track with a 4-1 Game 2 win on April 20.

The Red Wings already cost the Bruins home ice in the series, but a Game 2 victory would have put Boston on the early ropes. However, Detroit went on the ropes first, as Justin Florek opened the scoring with an unassisted goal and Reilly Smith tallied a power play goal over three minutes later.

Tuukka Rask did give up a goal in the second to Luke Glendening, but Milan Lucic secured momentum for the Bruins for good, scoring with under two minutes left in the period. Once Zdeno Chara kept it going with an early third period power play strike, Boston could cruise from there.

This was the kind of play the Bruins were supposed to show throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs. Now that they've put Game 1 behind them, they can still treat the setback and the Red Wings in general as a mere speed bump. But it's the Red Wings who need to show their own resiliency and prove they aren't just a one-game fluke.

Detroit still hasn't done much against Rask, who only yielded two goals in two games. On the other hand, Jimmy Howard's Game 1 dominance didn't carry over for the Red Wings. It didn't help that the Bruins converted two power play chances, although any goals after Game 1 were an improvement.

The Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins towered over the Eastern Conference for much of the season, yet both lost early home games in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Perhaps a second straight Boston-Pittsburgh conference final isn't inevitable, yet Detroit and the Columbus Blue Jackets are still eager to prove their early elimination isn't.

The Red Wings get a chance to bounce back themselves in Detroit, for Game 3 on April 22.

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