Bruins Game 26 Preview: Detroit Red Wings

Brad Marchand, Jimmy Howard

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

By: Drew Johnson | Follow Me On Twitter: @doobshmoob

The Boston Bruins will host the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night at TD Garden. It will be the third time the two teams meet this season with the Bruins nabbing three points and Red Wings snagging two points in the two prior matchups.

Detroit, sporting an 11-11-3 record, are fighting to stay out of the last place in the Atlantic Division. On the other hand, Boston is inching closer to the top of the division’s standings with a 14-7-4 record. Still, it should be a heated game for some important points – Detroit is just three points out of wild-card spot, after all.

Who’s Hot?

Tuukka Rask has been stellar after taking his leave of absence. Since returning to action, Rask has gone 2-0-2 with just seven goals against and a very impressive .944 SV%. The netminder will get the start once again when Boston faces Detroit on Saturday. We’ll soon see if his mind has remained clear and he is still capable of snagging a win for the Bruins.

John Moore has also been impressive as of late. With numerous injuries to Boston’s back end, Moore has taken to the spotlight. The blueliner averaged 22:40 in ice time per game during the month of November and should continue to see similar totals in early December. Brandon Carlo will be returning on Saturday and is expected to be playing alongside Torey Krug which would mean Matt Grzelcyk is partnered with Moore. It hasn’t seemed to matter who Moore plays alongside, however. He has been solid defensively and has even made an effort to contribute to Boston’s offensive flow.

Dylan Larkin continues to be Detroit’s biggest threat up front. The young forward has nine goals and 12 assists in 25 games. Across the two games the Red Wings have played against Boston this season, Larkin notched a goal and averaged 18:34 in ice time. In his last five games, the 22-year-old has been held to a goal and an assist, however, but is always a threat to break out at any time.

Tyler Bertuzzi is coming off a strong showing. The winger potted two goals on Wednesday in a 4-3 win over the St. Louis Blues. Despite seeing significantly less ice time than some of his peers, Bertuzzi has still been able to consistently produce. In fact, he is ranked fourth in point production on the Red Wings entering Saturday’s game.

Who’s Not?

Danton Heinen hasn’t been too bad. He has certainly improved his two-way game and has seen his fair share of chances. However, Heinen has lacked execution. The winger hasn’t produced a point in eight games and has only registered 11 shots during that span. Execution is something Boston needs from their depth right now, and simply pitching in with an assist could get Heinen going once again.

Heinen Zetterberg

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

After impressing during his rookie season with 25 points in 68 games, Martin Frk has been suffering from the notorious sophomore slump. The 24-year-old has just one goal and one assist in 13 games thus far, averaging less than nine minutes per contest. Frk’s plus/minus rating has been in the red in five of his last six games while averaging just 8:46 of ice time. He needs to step up his game soon if he is to overcome this slump.

Bruins vs. Red Wings Outlook

The Bruins finally have Carlo back but are still missing some key pieces. However, that hasn’t been too much of a problem for the boys in black and gold. It really makes you wonder how the team could be performing if they were 100-percent healthy.

Detroit has a tough test ahead of them on Saturday, but they have already proven that they are capable of beating the Bruins – they did beat Boston 3-2 in overtime on Nov. 21st after all. In that game, the Red Wings’ young forwards led them past a batter Bruins defense. They could very well do the same on Saturday, though a red-hot Rask may have something to say about that.

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Bruins Game 21 Preview: Detroit Red Wings

Pastrnak Red Wings

(Maddie Meyer, Getty Images)

By: Drew Johnson | Follow Me On Twitter: @doobshmoob

It’s almost time for turkey, but before we can celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States, we have a Boston Bruins game to watch. The B’s will be in Detroit on Wednesday night to take on the Red Wings.

The Bruins enter play with an 11-6-3 record and a plethora of injuries. They recently lost Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron for long stretches of time which will greatly impact how Bruce Cassidy delegates ice time. However, Kevan Miller is expected to return to the lineup on Wednesday which is definitely a shining light amidst a lot of bad news. Meanwhile, the Red Wings are 9-9-2 and are relatively healthy compared to Boston.

Who’s Hot?

Jake DeBrusk scored a goal against the Arizona Coyotes over the weekend, his eighth of the season. Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson also notched a goal – the first of his NHL career. The rookie’s tally was assisted by Noel Acciari, making the winger the last Bruin to register a point this season.

DeBrusk Red Wings

Credit: Associated Press

Matt Grzelcyk has done a solid job in the absence of many of Boston’s defensemen, namely Charlie McAvoy. With McAvoy’s offensive production on hold, Grzelcyk has been able to carry some of the weight. Combined with Torey Krug’s offensive tendencies from the blue line, it seems that Boston’s transition game is in good hands for the time being.

Dylan Larkin leads the Red Wings in scoring and has four points in his last five games. The 22-year-old is already taking on first-line duties and is set to be Detroit’s next great centerman if his upward trend continues. With 24-year-old Mantha on his right wing, who has six goals and three assists in 20 games, Detroit’s top lines can be lethal. They could very well take advantage of a shattered Bruins defense if they bring their A-game.

Gustav Nyquist and Andreas Athanasiou have also come up with some production on the Red Wings’ second line. The two have combined for nine goals and 18 assists (27 points). Centered by Frans Nielsen, who has no goals but 10 assists, Detroit’s top-six have some offensive capabilities.

Who’s Not?

Anders Bjork and Danton Heinen continue to struggle one-fourth of the way through the season. Heinen has only tallied five points while Bjork has just three to his name. Bjork will be getting time on the first line alongside David Krejci and David Pastrnak, however. Perhaps the extra minutes and skilled linemates can give him an offensive boost and the ability to execute.

 

Steven Kampfer has been decent for the Bruins thus far but needs to work on his discipline. The defenseman is only behind Brad Marchand (66) and Torey Krug (19) in penalty minutes, committing nine minors for almost a full period’s worth of time in the box. What he has done well is mentoring young defensemen, specifically Jeremy Lauzon whom he has been playing alongside.

Detroit’s goaltending is certainly a sore spot for the boys in red. Jimmy Howard currently sports a record of 6-6-2 with a .922 SV% and 2.64 GAA. Meanwhile, Jonathan Bernier has a 3-3-0 record accompanied by a .901 SV% and 3.59 GAA. It is projected that the Bruins will be facing Howard tonight as they’ll look to add on to his losing record.

Bruins vs. Red Wings Outlook

The Bruins are certainly dealing with an injury bug. Luckily, the young defensemen that have been called up to fill the void have been up to the challenge. Connor Clifton had a strong presence in his first NHL game against Arizona, receiving his first NHL major penalty for fighting. Lauzon has also done well holding down the fort on the third defensive pair and has failed to become a liability.

The Red Wings will try to put those young defensemen in their place. They may not need too much from their offense tonight in order to net themselves a win. Boston is currently ranked 3rd in goals against with 49 but just 22nd in goals for with 58. However, the Bruins’ offense can be deadly, especially with DeBrusk finding his game to compliment that of Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak.

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The Week Ahead: Black Friday Madness

China Olympics Beijing Water Cube Bird's Nest

photo credit: Joseph Prezioso

By: Mandi Mahoney  |  Check Me Out On Twitter @phoneymahoney

The Bruins have gone 1-1-1 so far on their four-game road trip, but their record doesn’t reflect just how well they’ve held things together despite icing a defensive corps containing two National Hockey League regulars, one seventh defenseman, and three rookies who were called up from the AHL. The Black and Gold have also been missing their best player at both ends of the ice, perennial Selke Trophy winner Patrice Bergeron, for most of the last two games.

Wednesday in Colorado, the Bruins were holding their own in a fun back-and-forth contest until captain Zdeno Chara left the game with a knee injury in the second period. Once Chara left the game, the wheels fell off, and the Bruins lost 6-3 after surrendering five unanswered goals. One plus from this game was that the secondary scoring was alive and well, with Jake DeBrusk potting two goals.

In Dallas on Friday,  John Moore was out of the lineup, on top of Zdeno Chara, Charlie McAvoy, Kevan Miller, Brandon Carlo, and Urho Vaakanainen. The Dallas game was poorly officiated, and on top of that, Patrice Bergeron was injured on an awkward hit by Radek Faksa. Tuukka Rask played a great game, but the Bruins couldn’t put the biscuit in the basket and lost 1-0 in overtime. The Stars got many opportunities to score, but between Rask and the patchwork defense, Dallas was unable to make it happen during regulation.

On Saturday night, the Bruins visited the Coyotes, who were quite fashionable in their 90s-chic Kachina jerseys (where were Keith Tkachuk and Jeremy Roenick, though?).  The B’s were able to net two goals in the first three minutes, most notably Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson’s first NHL goal. Jake DeBrusk scored within two minutes of JFK. It was nice to see someone score other than Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, or David Pastrnak, however, Bergeron being out of the lineup definitely had something to do with that. It was another game where the young defense helped hold it together, and the save of the game went to Jeremy Lauzon. Bruins won, 2-1.

Kevan Miller (hand) could be returning for the Detroit game on Wednesday night. We don’t have any news on John Moore or Patrice Bergeron yet, either.

Now, on to the next week of games…

November 21 @ Detroit:

The Detroit Red Wings are a shell of their former selves. They have a 9-9-2 record and a goal differential of -8. Currently, the Wings are in 7th place in our 8 team Atlantic Division and are 23rd in the National Hockey League, with 20 points on the season. Their special teams are better than their record would have one believing, as their power play is 11th in the league at 22.4%, and they have killed 81.3% of their penalties, good for 10th in the NHL.

Leading the way in scoring for the Red Wings is Dylan Larkin, with 8-11-19 totals in 20 games, followed by former Maine Black Bear Gustav Nyquist, who has scored two goals and assisted on 13, for 15 points on the season. Goaltending has been better than Detroit’s record would lead us to believe; Jimmy Howard has a save percentage of .922, with a GAA of 2.64. The Wings don’t take many shots – they are 27th in the league and are taking an average of 28.8 per game (just behind the Bruins at 26th, and 29.4 shots/game). However, they are allowing the third most shots per game, at 35.5.

The last time the two teams faced each other was October 13 at the Garden. David Pastrnak scored a hat trick, and the Bruins won 8-2. Detroit obviously wants that one back, and if they have any competitive spirit left in them, they will come out flying Wednesday night. Hopefully, all the Bruin cubs on defense will be ready for them.

November 23, vs. Pittsburgh:

The Bruins’ annual tradition of playing a matinee game on Black Friday while we all gorge ourselves on Thanksgiving leftovers has been squashed in favor of a more National TV-friendly schedule. For the second year in a row, they will face the Penguins at home that night.

Imagine having a roster with the likes of Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin, and Phil Kessel, and still being terrible? You don’t have to imagine it, though, because the Penguins have brought your imagination to life! Up to this point, Pittsburgh has been alarmingly bad, and have dropped 8 of their last 9 games. They are off to a 7-8-3 start and are 29th in the league in points. They are last in the Metropolitan Division, as well, but are only one point behind the struggling New Jersey Devils.

The Pens’ power play is converting at 25.7% and is seventh-best in the league. They’ve killed 80% of their penalties, which is 15th. Bruins are 29.8% (third), and 79.1% (18th), respectively. Evgeni Malkin is their scoring leader with 7 goals and 18 assists for 25 points in 18 games, and former Bruin and hot dog enthusiast Phil Kessel has notched 9-14-23 totals in 18 games. Sidney Crosby has missed two outings but still has 19 points in the 16 games he has played. Matt Murray, Pittsburgh’s number one goaltender, has been terrible this season, with a sub-.900 save percentage (.877!), and goals against average of 4.08. Woof. They do have themselves a bit of a goaltending controversy, as many people are calling for backup Casey DeSmith (.903 SV%, 2.25 GAA) to play more games. Sounds familiar. doesn’t it?

November 24th, @ Montreal:

The best rivalry in sports has died down a little bit given roster moves both teams have made, and the difference in their records the last few seasons. Max Pacioretty was traded to Vegas for Tomas Tatar, Alex Galchenyuk was swapped for Max Domi, who is apparently a number one center (who knew?!). Andrei Markov was sent packing a year ago for some reason, and Shea Weber is still injured. Nobody expected the Canadiens to be able to do anything this year.

Surprisingly, though, the Habs’ record is exactly the same as the Bruins: 11-6-3 with 25 points. The Canadiens have won their last two games after dropping one to Edmonton earlier this week. Montreal’s power play is 29th in the league, as is somehow only scoring 13.5% of the time. These are not the same Habs who embellish and roll around on the ice anytime an opposing player skated within ten feet of them, as their power play will get them nowhere. Their PK is 13th in the league at 80.9%. These are not the numbers we are used to seeing with the Habs. This is a whole new team.

Max Domi has scored 10 goals and assisted on 14, good for 24 points in the first 20 games. This is a record for the Canadiens, which seems bizarre given their history. Tom Tatar and Jonathan Drouin are tied for second on the team with 17 points apiece. Defenseman Jeff Petry is having a solid offensive season, having scored 15 points already. – not too shabby.

In continuing with the theme of “Everything In Montreal Is Weird This Season”, the Habs’ goaltending has been terrible – really, really bad. Carey Price’s save percentage is only .904, and his goals-against average is 2.92. That’s pretty bad, but their backup, Antti Niemi, is even worse at .887 SV% and 3.74 GAA. Yikes! Price’s numbers may be on the upswing, though, as he’s stopped 79 of 83 shots in his last two starts, though that’s a lot of shots allowed over two games.

The answer for the Bruins will be to put as many pucks on net as possible and to create traffic in the crease. If the Bruins can do that while holding off Domi, Tatar, and Drouin, they can come out of Montreal on top.

Opponents like Detroit and especially Pittsburgh should not be overlooked, but there is no reason the Bruins can’t take at least four out of a possible six points in the next week. Not losing anyone else to injury, unfortunately, is probably the most important thing the Bruins can do this week.

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Bruins Game 5 Preview: Detroit Red Wings

Pastrnak Red Wings

(PHOTO CREDIT: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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.

Who’s Hot?

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.

Larkin

(PHOTO CREDIT: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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.

Who’s Not?

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.

Heinen Zetterberg

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

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.