Thomas Vanek and Frans Nielsen scored in a shootout, lifting the Detroit Red Wings to a comeback 6-5 win over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night.
The Red Wings rallied from 3-0 and 4-1 deficits in the first period, and with 3:04 remaining in regulation, Gustav Nyquist scored to pull them into a tie. In the shootout, Tuukka Rask and Petr Mrazek stopped the first shots they faced before Vanek scored for the Red Wings and Brad Marchand countered with a goal for the Bruins.
Nielsen, who like Vanek joined the team last summer as a free agent, scored on the team’s third attempt and Vatrano missed the net with a chance to extend the 1-on-1 duels. The Bruins were dominant early before blowing a chance to keep Detroit at a distance in the Atlantic Division standings.
Detroit’s Jared Coreau was pulled 5:13 into the game after giving up three goals on eight shots and was replaced by Mrazek, who played well enough to keep his team in the game. Mrazek finished with 23 saves in a performance that might give him a much-needed boost of confidence. Vatrano scored twice within the first nine minutes as Boston built a three-goal lead. Patrice Bergeron had a goal and two assists in the opening period, helping the Bruins restore their three-goal cushion.
Detroit’s Xavier Ouellet, Tomas Tatar and Andreas Athanasiou scored three straight goals to tie it, but 21 seconds later Adam McQuaid’s go-ahead goal gave Boston the lead again with 5-plus minutes left in the period. Rask made 20 saves for the Bruins, who were coming off a 4-0 loss at home to the New York Islanders in which their top goaltender was benched after giving up three goals over the first two periods.
The Bruins were aggressive early and it paid off with Vatrano’s goal 44 seconds after the first puck dropped. Brandon Carlo scored less than 2 minutes later and Vatrano scored a season-high second goal at the 8:50 mark of the first period.
The lead, though, wasn’t large enough against a team that rallied from a two-goal deficit to rout Pittsburgh 6-3 and shut out Atlantic-leading Montreal 1-0.