For the second time in as many weeks the Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings will meet in an Atlantic Division clash. Last week the Red Wings defeated the Bruins 2-1 and will only be playing their third game this season. Boston is already playing their fifth game and should have a sense of urgency after starting the season 1-3-0. However, since moving to the eastern conference, the Red Wings have four straight regular season victories against the black and gold. Let's look at this match-up from all sides:
Offense: Both teams have struggled offensively with the Red Wings averaging two goals per game and the Bruins averaging just one. I spoke about the Bruins' scoring problems here. For the Red Wings, Gustav Nyquist is off to a hot start with two goals, but Henrik Zetterberg has not buried one yet and Pavel Datsyuk is still injured. I think Zetterberg tickles the twine tonight.
Defense: Both teams' blue-liners are struggling this season thus far. For the Bruins, Dennis Seidenberg is still shaking off the rust and Dougie Hamilton has played poorly. Coach Claude Julien is still tinkering with his groupings. The Red Wings have Niklas Kronwall as their anchor, but depth continues to be a concern. Last year's playoff series against the Bruins showed this as the bottom parings were not able to stop the Bruins' third line. Both defenses will have busy nights as both offenses will push hard for more goals.
Goaltending: Tuukka Rask should get the start for Boston as he sat out the last game to rest. Rask has been average this season with a 2.36 goals-against-average and .892 save percentage, but he certainly is not getting much offensive support. Red Wings' goalie Jimmy Howard would be a Vezina candidate if he played the Bruins every night. The Syracuse native has a career 5-1 record with a 1.97 goals-against-average and .934 save percentage against Boston. Both goalies will be tested tonight.
Prediction: Division games are always important and these teams usually play each other tight. But the Bruins are desperate for a win and will get back on track tonight. Bruins win 3-2.
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