Detroit Red Wings vs. Boston Bruins: Pregame Discussion

Jan 18, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; The Detroit Red Wings are playing the Bruins twice in a week. Here, Petr Mrazek makes a stop in a shootout, which won Detroit the game, 6-5. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 18, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; The Detroit Red Wings are playing the Bruins twice in a week. Here, Petr Mrazek makes a stop in a shootout, which won Detroit the game, 6-5. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Tonight, the Detroit Red Wings play the Bruins of Boston for the second time in six days. This is the third meeting of four for these two divisional rivals this season.

The Detroit Red Wings have shown signs of improvement this past week, earning eight points in five games. Still, they have a long way to go if they hope to catch a wild card spot. There is some hope, if only a single shred. Whether the Red Wings would be better off missing the playoffs altogether and starting the rebuild process is a different question. ANYWAY, on to tonight’s game:

The Basics

Detroit Red Wings (20-19-8, 6th in Atlantic) and Boston Bruins (23-21-6, 4th in Atlantic)

TD Garden, Boston, MA | 7:00 pm EST

Projected Goalies: DET-Jared Coreau (5-1-2, 2.79 GAA, .904 save pct.); BOS-Tuukka Rask (22-12-4, 2.11 GAA, .920 save pct.)

Boston Leaders: Points: Brad Marchand, 45; Goals: David Pastrnak, 19; Assists: Brad Marchand, 28.

Detroit Leaders: Points: Henrik Zetterberg and Thomas Vanek (Tie), 31; Goals: Dylan Larkin and Thomas Vanek (Tie),12; Assists: Henrik Zetterberg, 22.

TV: FS-Detroit

Radio: WXYT: check your local listings

Opening Line: Boston -180

Bruins’ Blog: Causeway Crowd

Two games remaining before the All Star Break:

The Past

Although the records may not reflect it, these two teams are competitive and may be neck and neck all season. Being divisional rivals, the Red Wings play the Bruins four times this season. The first two games were very close. The Wings lost a tough one 1-0 at home back in October. Then, merely one week ago, the Red Wings beat the Bruins 6-5 in a shootout game that may go down as one of the most exciting games of the season.

Despite going down 4-1 in the first period, the Wings rallied for three goals in the second against Tuukka Rusk. After exchanging a few more goals, the game went to overtime followed by a shootout. Goals from Thomas Vanek and Frans Nielsen captured a win for the Red Wings, preserving a perfect 6-0 record in shootouts. If tonight’s game is half as exciting, it will not be for the faint of heart.

The Present

The Detroit Red Wings are in the middle of a hot streak. They earned points in five straight games (three wins and two overtime losses). The Bruins, on the other hand, are trending in the opposite direction. Opponents have outscored the Bruins 16-6 in the last four games. In fact, their only point in four games was the aforementioned shootout loss to the Wings. To make matters worse, projected goalie, Tuukka Rusk may not be playing at 100% because of a collision earlier this week. Keep in mind, though, that all of this will make the Bruins that much more desperate for a win.

There are, however, two immense signs of concern for the Red Wings:  neither Dylan Larkin nor Thomas Vanek are expected to be at the game. Both suffered injuries earlier in the week (upper- and lower-body, respectively). The good news is that these rests are temporary, likely just enough to get to the All Star Break. Larkin and Vanek are both day-to-day, and Tomas Jurco will get some time in their stead, appearing in just his twelfth game of the year. Although these two teams met just six nights ago, the players will look somewhat different tonight.

PredictionWhether this is a high or low scoring game remains to be seen, but this will be a one-goal game. Right now, the Wings are hot, and the Bruins are not, but those Red Wing injuries are going to hit hard. So, split the difference and call it a 4-3 Bruins win. Nevertheless, let’s hope the Red Wings can figure out the Bruins and continue this positive wave to the All Star Break.