Game Day Preview: Bruins at Red Wings
They’ve separated themselves from the fringe playoff-pack, and now they have a chance to get one step closer to the top of the NHL standings.
By the time they close out their second road game in as many nights against the New York Rangers Wednesday night, the Bruins could be just one point behind the Atlantic Division-leading Tampa Bay Lightning. Before that, they’ll have one more game without leading scorer Brad Marchand (serving the final game of his five-game suspension) as they kick off their two-game road trip in Detroit against the Red Wings.
A win for the Red Wings would increase their slim playoff hopes. They sit eight points behind the Islanders and Blue Jackets in the Eastern Conference wild-card picture but have four games in hand on the former and one on the latter.
The Bruins took both previous meetings against the Red Wings back in December and look to make it five wins in a row against their Original Six counterparts.
Gametime: 7:30 p.m.
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins 31-11-8 (70 points), Red Wings 21-22-8 (50 points)
Location: Little Caesars Arena
Bruins projected lines
Danton Heinen-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk-David Krejci-Ryan Spooner
Tim Schaller-Riley Nash-David Backes
Frank Vatrano-Sean Kuraly-Austin Czarnik
Zdeno Chara-Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug-Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk-Adam McQuaid
Red Wings projected lines
Gustav Nyquist-Henrik Zetterberg-Anthony Mantha
Tyler Bertuzzi-Dylan Larkin-Andreas Athanasiou
Tomas Tatar-Frans Nielsen-Darren Helm
Justin Abdelkader-Luke Glendening-Martin Frk
Jonathan Ericsson-Trevor Daley
Niklas Kronwall-Mike Green
Dan DeKeyser-Nick Jensen
Bruins-Red Wings storylines
– With Noel Acciari (lower-body) out again, both Frank Vatrano and Austin Czarnik will handle fourth line duties while Tim Schaller moves up to the third line. Barring injuries or other circumstances, Marchand will return with Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak on the top line while Danton Heinen will likely slot back in to third line duty with Riley Nash and David Backes and Tim Schaller will be back on the fourth line with Sean Kuraly.
– Either Vatrano or Czarnik will be watching from high above ice level by the time the Bruins and Rangers drop the puck at Madison Square Garden. Tuesday likely marks one final chance for Vatrano and Czarnik before Bruce Cassidy is forced to make a decision. Aside from a couple of penalties against the Senators, Vatrano hasn’t performed all the poorly on fourth line duties, but Czarnik provides a little more versatility and gives Cassidy another power play option. A lot can change in the next several hours, but for now give Czarnik the slight edge over Vatrano as the 12th forward for Wednesday’s contest.