By: Drew Johnson | Follow Me On Twitter: @doobshmoob
The Boston Bruins will host the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday at 3:00pm. The contest was originally scheduled for 7:00pm but has since been changed.
Boston will be entering play with a 3-1-0 record. That’s three straight wins after being embarrassed by the Washington Capitals in the season opener. It seems the team has turned things around, but they will still have to get by a hungry Red Wings team who just so happen to be an Atlantic Division rival.
The Red Wings travel to Boston with a disappointing 0-2-2 record. They are starving for their first win of the season after falling to the Columbus Blue Jackets (OT), Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks (shootout), and Toronto Maple Leafs in quick succession.
The Bruins’ first line has shown no signs of slowing down. Patrice Bergeron leads the team with five goals and three assists while Brad Marchand has followed up with one goal and seven assists. That results in both having eight points in four games. David Pastrnak can’t be left out of the equation either. He has registered four goals and two assists so far and is just two goals short of the 100th of his NHL career.
Charlie McAvoy has also seen a solid start to his sophomore season. He is still looking for his first goal of the year, but he has four assists — all at even strength. McAvoy has also played sound defense while soaking up an average of 21:07 per game, which is second only to Zdeno Chara.
Dylan Larkin has been the light at the end of the tunnel for the Red Wings through their first four games. The 22-year-old has potted two goals and two assists thus far and has averaged just shy of 20 minutes per game. He has contributed to Detroit’s offense both at even strength and power play and will look to do more of the same entering play on Saturday.
Tyler Bertuzzi has also been a driving force of Detroit’s offense thus far. He has two goals on four shots along with an assist to total three points in four games. Last season, Bertuzzi potted seven goals and 17 assists in 48 games. The 23-year-old is looking for the 10th goal of his NHL career, and based on this year’s stats, he may only need one or two more shots on net in order to achieve that milestone.
Boston’s depth has yet to make a sizeable impact. Players like Joakim Nordstrom, Chris Wagner, Ryan Donato, and Sean Kuraly have tallied a point each. David Krejci has chimed in with two assists. But the rest of the Bruins’ forwards have yet to show any signs of life.
Jake DeBrusk is a player who was a great source of production during his rookie year. The same can be said about Danton Heinen. The former tallied 16 goals and 27 assists last season while the latter registered 16 goals and 31 assists. Through the first four games of the 2018-19 campaign, however, the Bruins have yet to hear from them.
Even more experienced players like David Backes and Noel Acciari have yet to jump in on the offensive action. Their contributions in other facets of the game can’t be overlooked, but it is important for them to hop on the scoring train if Boston wants to continue their winning ways against some of the best teams in the league.
On the opposition’s side, Detroit’s defensemen and goaltenders haven’t been able to bail the team out yet. The Red Wings have lost a number of close games — two of which required more than three periods — but they have yet to find a way to snag a win. The offense is also responsible for the team’s record, they just haven’t been able to score in crucial situations. Wherever the blame may be placed, the Red Wings need to turn things around quickly before they dig themselves too deep of a hole.
Bruins vs. Red Wings Outlook
The Bruins will need to keep their foot on the gas in order to rack up their fourth consecutive win. The Red Wings are hungry and quite simply desperate for their first victory of the season, so the game will likely be a physical one. It could also be a very close game on the scoreboard — the Red Wings have yet to lose a contest by more than two goals.
Boston has indicated that Tuukka Rask will get the start on Saturday. While Donato may return to the lineup, Nordstrom is expected to get another crack at things on David Krejci’s wing. Having scored a goal on Thursday night, the decision to keep Nordstrom in place isn’t surprising.
As is the key for nearly every team in the NHL, in order to beat the Bruins the Red Wings will need to keep Boston’s first line at bay, which will not be an easy task. The Bruins, on the other hand, could really use some help from their depth — especially from their young studs who have yet to produce this season. The boys in black and gold are considered favorites in this matchup, but they can’t underestimate a desperate Red Wings team.