Game Day Preview: Bruins vs. Red Wings
The Boston Bruins took one step back on Saturday night as the Columbus Blue Jackets dominated the Black and Gold in a 6-2 victory at Nationwide Arena.
Niklas Svedberg was pulled after allowing three goals on 15 shots, but Tuukka Rask wasn’t much better as he allowed three goals on 15 shots as well.
After showing signs of life against the Buffalo Sabres and Nashville Predators, the B’s showed their season long inconsistency yet again. Claude Julien’s team now sits in tenth place in the Eastern Conference, trailing the Washington Capitals by three points for the last wild card spot.
It does not get any easier for the B’s as the Detroit Red Wings roll into town winners of two in a row and ranked fourth in the Eastern Conference.
The Black and Gold will try to get two points without Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic who both will be out of tonight’s game with injuries. Here is your complete Bruins-Red Wings Preview:
Gametime: 7:00 PM
Records: Bruins 18-15-3 (39 points)/ Red Wings 19-8-9 (47 points)
TV/Radio: NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub
Location: TD Garden
Bruins’ projected lines:
Brad Marchand-David Krejci-Reilly Smith
Chris Kelly-Carl Soderberg-Loui Eriksson
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Jordan Caron
Matt Lindblad-Craig Cunningham-Seth Griffith
Zdeno Chara-Dougie Hamilton
Dennis Seidenberg-Matt Bartkowski
Torey Krug-Kevan Miller
Redwings’ projected lines:
Henrik Zetterberg-Pavel Datsyuk-Justin Abdelkader
Tomas Tatar-Riley Sheahan-Tomas Jurco
Johan Franzen-Darren Helm-Gustav Nyquist
Drew Miller-Luke Glendening-Stephen Weiss
Jonathan Ericsson-Niklas Kronwall
Kyle Quincey-Dan DeKeyser
Brendan Smith-Jakub Kindl
Who to watch for Bruins: Brad Marchand
With Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic out of the lineup tonight, someone needs to step up in a big way. Brad Marchand needs to be that man.
Leading the Black and Gold with 10 goals on the season, Marchand will be counted on to bury his chances tonight without the likes of his linemate and the team’s first line winger.
Marchand has some success in his career against the Red Wings. In 10 games played, the 26 year-old has two goals and two assists to go along with eight hits, two blocked shots and 27 shots on net. In his last game against the Red Wings this season, he contributed with an assist, one hit and five shots on net.
The “little ball of hate” needs to play smart tonight. He can’t take dumb penalties. He knows the team is already shorthanded, but you never know what he’s going to do.
Who to watch for Red Wings: Jimmy Howard
Playing in only his second game in the last 10 days, the Bruins need to test Jimmy Howard. In his first game back from injury Saturday night, Howard made 31 saves to lead the Red Wings to a victory.
Howard has done damage in his career versus Boston. He owns a 5-1-1 record with a 1.95 goals against average with a .937 save percentage so it won’t be easy to defeat the 30 year-old net minder.
The 2003 second round pick owns a 14-5-7 record this season with a 2.05 goals against average. He sports a .922 save percentage while earning two shutouts.
Goals have been hard to come by for the Black and Gold and it won’t get any easier tonight without Lucic and Bergeron. They need to find ways to make Howard uncomfortable.
Game Day Edge: Worry about who is playing
The Bruins can’t worry about who isn’t playing tonight against the Red Wings. The team needs to make do of what they have. Of course it’s going to be hard to play without Lucic and Bergeron, but no one is going to feel bad for the Black and Gold.
Players such as Marchand and David Krejci need to step up in their absences, while Rask needs to play like the Vezina Trophy winner that he is and the defense needs to get back to their physical and heavy game of hockey they are lacking.
The lines will be different against the Red Wings with Julien having to fiddle around with players, but they need to make it work. Two points are on the line against a divisional opponent.
Collectively, the Bruins need to show some urgency tonight at TD Garden in front of their home crowd. Otherwise, it is going to be a long night.