Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said his team needs to make a decision: Either play like the Bruins or play like themselves.
As much as Detroit players talked about discipline Saturday, they didn’t exercise very much of it, and it cost them in a 4-1 loss in Game 2 Sunday at TD Garden.
“We took three penalties in the first 10 minutes,’’ said Babcock. “Then, the next thing you know, they get another [goal]. It gave them energy and momentum and they were better and we were worse.’’
In addition to the inopportune penalties, the Red Wings also got into some extracurricular activities after the whistles, which played right into the Bruins’ hands.
The most noticeable was 6-foot-1-inch defenseman Brendan Smith challenging 6-9 Zdeno Chara, which only made Chara crack up.
“I just think you’ve got to decide what you want to do,’’ said Babcock. “Do you want to play like them or play like us? I just looked at the sheet here and we had one, two, three, four roughing calls. We haven’t had four roughing calls this year. So you’ve got to do what you do, not what they do.’’
Babcock acknowledged it wasn’t all about what Detroit did. He said the Bruins did a good job of forcing their game plan on the Red Wings.
“I thought we did a good job in Game 1, I didn’t think we did a good job in Game 2, so the lesson is, when you win Game 1, you’ve got to get ready for Game 2,” said Babcock. “It’s a practice day, but you’ve got to get mentally engaged and ready to play and we weren’t ready to play. I shouldn’t say that. We started fine but we didn’t do what we needed to do.’’
Goaltender Jimmy Howard, whose turnover led to the Bruins’ first goal at 7:28 of the opening period, said they need to refrain from engaging in any unnecessary antics.
“I think we’ve got to stay out of the [nonsense] out there and just play whistle to whistle and not worry about getting into the scrums or anything like that and proving your manhood out there,’’ said Howard. “Just skate, play our hockey, don’t get into their motives and get into their scrap playing real physical. Just get back to playing our game. We knew this was going to be a long series and they played a real solid game today.’’
Defenseman Niklas Kronwall said it was no surprise that the Bruins came out harder and more forcefully than in Game 1. It was expected, but the Red Wings were forced “off-kilter’’ according to their coach.
“We didn’t skate as well as we did in Game 1,’’ said Kronwall. “We’ve got to get back to that.’’
At the start of the series, both teams said they expected a long, hard fight. No one has changed their opinion after two games.
“It’s going to be a heavy series,’’ said Kronwall. “So we’re just going to try to stay patient and get back to the way we play.’’
Veteran forward Daniel Alfredsson said the Bruins enticed his team to play a different game than they wanted.
“There were a few scrums but I think, overall, we handled it pretty good,’’ said Alfredsson. “I don’t think that’s really an issue in this series. Obviously, they get off to the start they want, get two quick goals there and they have always been one of the best teams defending a lead and I thought we did a good job in the second of battling back. That third [goal] for them hurt us a bit.’’
Alfredsson said there are several improvements Detroit can make for Game 3 Tuesday night at Joe Louis Arena.
“I think five-on-five, we can be quicker and move the puck quicker and not be too predictable,’’ he said. “I thought we played real solid in Game 1 and thought we had spurts [in Game 2] where it was OK, but we can do better.’’Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @Elle1027.