The Bruins finally broke their puzzling run of ineffectiveness against the Red Wings, taking a 4-1 win on Saturday afternoon.
Punching through the brick wall named Jonathan Bernier, they scored three times in the second period after the netminder stopped the first 25 shots he saw.
Bernier, who shut down the Bruins last Sunday in Motown (39 saves), couldn’t handle the heat at TD Garden. He had 37 saves, but the Bruins put 41 shots on goal.
Charlie McAvoy, Patrice Bergeron, and Charlie Coyle lit the lamp in a span of 4 minutes, 29 seconds in the middle period. David Pastrnak added his league-best 42nd goal of the season in the third, after Brad Marchand undressed the Detroit defense and set up his gunner.
The Bruins have won eight of nine, and Tuukka Rask (25 saves) has a .940 save percentage in that span.
The Bruins (36-11-12), who lost two road games this season to the lottery-bound Red Wings (14-42-4), play their next four on the road, beginning with a 3:30 p.m. puck drop against the Rangers on Sunday. They depart for Western Canada on Monday, for a three-in-four that runs through Edmonton (Wednesday), Calgary (Friday), and Vancouver (Saturday).
Observations from the ninth floor:
■ It may have taken the Bruins 25 shots to score, but they scored three times on their next six shots to build a 3-1 lead.
■ Effort was not the issue. The Bruins jumped on the visitors in the opening period, outshooting them, 18-6, and drawing two penalties. They were simply dominating the Wings when Danton Heinen forced a holding call 2:26 in.
■ But they allowed the first goal, at 3:16, on the power play. Darren Helm jumped on Torey Krug’s diagonal pass to Pastrnak in the circle and went two on one the other way against Krug. He followed his own rebound and punched it past Rask. It was the fifth shorthanded goal allowed by the Bruins, who tied for the league lead in that category last year (15).
■ Bernier had 10 saves through 10 minutes, including one where the puck found the scrambling netminder as Coyle wrapped one way, then the other, from behind the net. He looked like the same goalie from his 39-save victory over the Bruins last Sunday.
■ His teammates couldn’t do much to help him. Through the first 12 minutes, the Wings iced the puck five times and had four shots, while the Bruins had 14 shots. Bernier kept making saves. Five minutes into the second, a Jake DeBrusk rush set up Karson Kuhlman for a stuff-in and McAvoy had a rebound look from out high, but Bernier turned aside both.
■ The Bruins needed a hero. That hero was McAvoy. The third-year defenseman, snakebit the first four months of the season, scored his second in five games by snapping home a failed Detroit clearing attempt from the slot. It was a relief for him and for Marchand, who moments before was unable to beat Bernier with some stickhandling work in front.
■ Marchand was frustrated early in the game, heated about a no-call after taking a high check from behind, expressing his displeasure by barking at referee Ghislain Hebert and two-handing his stick against the boards.
■ All good, though. Marchand helped give Boston the lead, and get back the shorty. The penalty-killing combination of Marchand and Bergeron teamed up to make it 2-1, Marchand outworking Mike Green in the corner and slipping a pass to Bergeron. He dangled past Bernier at 9:40 for his 25th of the season.
■ Bergeron, who will be 35 in July, has his sixth 25-goal season. Five of them have come in the last seven years, or since he turned 28.
■ Coyle, one of the best players on the ice (five shots, four hits, terrific possession, several scoring chances), was rewarded for his efforts at 12:30. After the referees missed a Heinen high stick on Wings defenseman Filip Hronek, Heinen set up a McAvoy half-slapper at the point. Coyle tipped it home for his 13th of the season.
■ Say this about the Wings: Nearly everyone is playing higher in the lineup than they should be, but they do play hard. When they come to town for the final time March 24, the Bruins hope they’re able to rest a few big names for the playoffs.
■ Marchand made Andreas Athanasiou look silly on the 4-1 goal, slipping past him with a drag move and firing cross-ice for Pastrnak’s finish. He did the same to Montreal’s Jeff Petry on Wednesday. It was Marchand’s second assist of the game and 50th of the season, the third year in a row he has hit that mark (last year: career-high 64).
■ Tempers flared with 3:21 left, when Athanasiou jabbed Chris Wagner in a board battle and the two dropped the gloves.