Preview: Bruins at Red Wings
The Boston Bruins look to rebound from their first loss in 13 contests on home ice when they begin a three-game road trip against the suddenly hot Detroit Red Wings on Sunday night. The Bruins dropped a 4-1 decision against visiting Florida on Saturday for just their second loss in seven games overall but maintained a six-point edge over Toronto for second place in the Atlantic Division along with home ice in the first round of the playoffs.
Boston’s lethal top line of Brad Marchand (10 points, last five games), Patrice Bergeron (six goals, 12 points, last seven) and David Pastrnak (five goals, 11 points, last five) were blanked Saturday, but will be a load to handle for a Detroit defense that ranks 25th in goals against (3.29). The Red Wings, who beat the Bruins two of the first three meetings this season, have been a tough out lately despite sitting 28th in the league in points, winning four straight and six of seven after blanking New Jersey 4-0 on Friday. Leading scorer Dylan Larkin (31 goals, 37 assists) has scored in three straight games (four total) and boasts a four-game point streak while enjoying a positive feeling in the locker room. “There’s been a loose atmosphere in here and it’s helped our team,” Larkin told the Detroit Free Press. “We have a lot of young guys but we are feeling relaxed and we’re clicking. Guys are playing for something and I hope they’re showing management that they want to be here next year.”
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
ABOUT THE BRUINS (47-22-9): Marchand posted a minus-3 rating and three shots Saturday, remaining three points shy of his first season with 100, while Bergeron needs one goal to set a career high of 33. Defenseman Torey Krug boasts three assists in two games since returning from a concussion and forward Marcus Johansson has been kept off the scoresheet in two contests after coming back from a lung contusion. Tuukka Rask turned aside 19 shots Saturday, which will give Jaroslav Halak a chance to extend his winning streak to four in the second of a back-to-back.
ABOUT THE RED WINGS (30-38-10): Larkin has four goals and two assists during his point streak while fellow forward Andreas Athanasiou scored twice and set up two others in the past four contests to reach 50 points for the first time in his career. Anthony Mantha has seven points in his last four contests and Tyler Bertuzzi boasts seven in a three-game span, with both one goal away from 20 for the season. Left wing Thomas Vanek (abdomen) is likely to miss his fourth straight contest and center Frans Nielsen (concussion) could miss his second straight.
1. Red Wings G Jimmy Howard has won four straight starts, allowing eight goals combined in the process.
2. Boston F Chris Wagner (career-high 12 goals) won the club’s 7th Player Award, given to the Bruin who exceeds expectations as voted on by the fans.
3. Detroit D Jake Chelios, the son of Hall of Famer Chris Chelios, had one shot and a plus-1 rating in 17:11 during his NHL debut Friday.
PREDICTION: Bruins 4, Red Wings 2