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WGD: GAME 31: RED WINGS VS. BRUINS

The Red Wings played pretty well on Monday but James Reimer played well in the Panthers crease and Andreas Athanasiou caught out on a long shift in overtime, leading to their ninth loss in 10 games (1-5-4).

Tonight they will play in front of a national audience as they host the Boston Bruins for the first meeting between the two this season. While the Red Wings recent struggles have been well documented, the Bruins have quietly won eight of their last 10 on the back of strong goaltending.

Going back three seasons, the Red Wings are an ugly 3-7-3 in their last 13 games against the Bruins. Let’s see how these two squads stack-up coming into tonight’s contest:

RECORD 11-13-6 (6th in ATL) 14-9-4 (3rd in ATL)
GOALS FOR 2.63 GF/PG (28th) 2.85 GF/PG (20th)
GOALS AGAINST 3.26 GA/PG (25th) 2.74 GA/PG (7th)
POWER PLAY 20.00% (11th) 19.76% (12th)
PENALTY KILL 81.90% (13th) 85.54% (3rd)
CORSIFOR% 49.79 CF% (14th) 52.59 CF% (8th)

THE RED WINGS

Detroit Red Wings lines via DailyFaceoff

Jeff Blashill is at it again. As soon as Luke Witkowski’s  suspension ended, Blashill got the pugilist back in the lineup. Witkowski dropped the mitts twice (both with Michael Haley) but he doesn’t bring anything else to the table. With Witkowski set to play again tonight, the Red Wings sent Tyler Bertuzzi back to Grand Rapids (AHL)—during his call-up he got all of 9:13 TOI before deciding to send him back to the AHL.

Dylan Larkin had another good game on Monday but has now gone 10 games without a goal. Thankfully Henrik Zetterberg was able to snap a career-long goalless drought against the Panthers but Anthony Mantha has hit a dry spot of his own. After scoring 10 goals in his first 19 games, Mantha has potted just two goals in his last 11. It hasn’t been for a lack of chances as Mantha is second among Red Wings (Larkin is 1st) in Scoring Chances For/60 (29.1) and High-Danger Scoring Chances for/60 (12.33).

THE BRUINS

Boston Bruins lines via DailyFaceoff

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Zdeno Chara
ZDENO CHARA #33
Charlie McAvoy
CHARLIE MCAVOY #73
Torey Krug
TOREY KRUG #47
Brandon Carlo
BRANDON CARLO #25
Paul Postma
PAUL POSTMA #14
Matt Grzelcyk
MATT GRZELCYK #48

The Bruins have battled injuries throughout the season. Adam McQuaid and Peter Cehlarik have been sidelined for a lengthy period of time and both Ryan Spooner (lower-body) and Kevin Miller (personal) were originally questionable for tonight but won’t play.

The Bruins also got veteran David Backes back in the lineup recently and he has picked up two goals and one assist in five games since returning.

The Bruins have had a lot of young forwards step up this season, but they’re still all about their top line (MarchandBergeronPastrnak). Because of injuries and line shuffling, they’ve only played 14 games together so far this year. During that time they have a ridiculous 64.41 CorsiFor% and have dominated scoring chances, out chancing the opposition 81-43 and have yet to give up a 5v5 goal in 118:30 TOI together.

BETWEEN THE PIPES

Jimmy Howard vs. Tuukka Rask.

After being pulled against St. Louis, Howard bounced back to stop 27 of 29 shots in Monday’s overtime loss. Howard is now 5-6-4 with a 3.08 GAA and .896 SV% in 14 starts and one relief appearance at Little Caesars Arena. Petr Mrazek may never play again.

Rask struggled early in November but after getting a few games to reset, has been great recently. Rask has his last four starts and has a 1.10 GAA, .955 SV% and one shutout in his last five appearances.

HOW TO WATCH

Puck-drop is at 8:00 p.m. ET at Little Caesars Arena. You can watch the game on NBCSN.

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