DETROIT — The Boston Bruins‘ formula looks almost foolproof at the moment: Rask and the rookies.
Tuukka Rask made 26 saves, and rookies Sean Kuraly and Danton Heinen scored for Boston in a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night. David Krejci also scored for the Bruins, who are 17-1-4 in their last 22 games and only three points behind NHL-leading Tampa Bay in the Atlantic Division.
Boston won without forward Brad Marchand, who served the final game of his five-game suspension for elbowing New Jersey’s Marcus Johansson.
"We were joking about it after the game — we’re not sure Marchie is a lock to get back into this lineup," coach Bruce Cassidy said. "Frank (Vetrano) had a lower-body injury, and we’ll have to see how he is tomorrow, but it is tough to break up this group."
The Bruins have an NHL-high 38 goals by rookies this season. Rask, meanwhile, improved to 19-0-2 in his last 21 games. Detroit had only 12 shots through two periods before adding 16 in the third.
"We’re not going to skill our way to wins," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "We have to outwork the other team every night, and we’ve just got to decide that we’re going to be special that way."
Martin Frk scored a power-play goal in the second for Detroit, but the Bruins quickly wiped out that lead later in the period with goals by Kuraly and Krejci. Heinen scored with 11:39 remaining in the third to put Boston up by two.
With their goalie pulled, the Red Wings moved within one when Frans Nielsen scored with 1:24 to play, but Boston held on.
"We’ve known all year that we have a great team if we just focus on what we’re supposed to be doing," Rask said. "We aren’t worried about other teams, and we’re getting off to better starts, but even if we get a goal behind like we did today, we know that we can still win the game if we play our game."
Frk opened the scoring when he beat Rask from the left circle, and Darren Helm whiffed on a rebound later in the second, missing a chance to double Detroit’s lead. Kuraly equalized with 7:49 remaining in the period.
Just more than two minutes later, after a scramble in front, the puck popped out to Krejci in the slot. With goalie Jimmy Howard out of position, Krejci scored his 10th goal of the season.
Heinen beat Howard high to the blocker side for his 12th goal . Nielsen made it 3-2 when he put a rebound past Rask.
Nielsen had another chance in the final minute when the puck bounced to his feet right in front of the net, but he wasn’t able to get his stick on it cleanly.
"I just fanned on it," Nielsen said. "I know it was bouncing right there. I think it went down on the heel or something."
NOTES: Detroit D Nick Jensen played his 100th game. … Boston forward David Pastrnak assisted on Kuraly’s goal, extending his point streak to nine games.
Bruins: Visit the New York Rangers on Wednesday night.
Red Wings: Visit the New York Islanders on Friday night.