WGD: GAME 5: Red Wings @ Bruins

The Red Wings are in Boston this afternoon to take on the red-hot Bruins. With a record of 3-1 so far this season, the Bruins are building on a relatively successful previous season.

At the opposite end as the Bruins, the Red Wings are off to their worst start since 1980. Only scoring nine goals in four games does that to a team. Still looking for their first regulation win, it will be a very tough task to do against this Bruins team.

They have outscored their opponents 14-4 in their last three games and the Bruins do not look like they’re about to slow down at all. Especially against this young and inexperienced blueline, some Bruins forwards are going to have a field day with the quality chances they are going to get.

The Red Wings

Detroit Red Wings lines via DailyFaceoff

The only change for these forward lines is Justin Abdelkader moving down to the third line beside Frans Neilsen and Michael Rasmussen. Hopefully boosting all of their offense, neither of them have got off to an impressive start. Last game against the Leafs, Blashill tried to pair Abdelkader with Larkin and Mantha, but that failed – so now Nyquist is back on the top line.

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Tyler Bertuzzi next to Athanasiou and Vanek can make for a very interesting chemistry between them all. Bertuzzi has two goals this year and was almost credited for his third against the Leafs, so he is seeing his “nose to the net” style pay off in this young season. Athanasiou has been making plays and Vanek has been doing what he does best, shoot the puck while standing completely still.

On the blueline, nothing has changed from Thursday’s game against the Leafs. Rookie point-per-game defenceman Dennis Cholowski is still unfortunately out with an upper-body injury, Ericsson and Green have still yet to make their season debuts either. Trevor Daley suffered an injury against the Anaheim Ducks last week, so the young blueline is having to make up for his absence.

The Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins lines via DailyFaceoff

Brad Marchand
Patrice Bergeron
David Pastrnak
Joakim Nordstrom
David Krejci
Jake DeBrusk
Ryan Donato
David Backes
Anders Bjork
Chris Wagner
Sean Kuraly
Noel Acciari
Zdeno Chara
Charlie McAvoy
Matt Grzelcyk
Kevan Miller
John Moore
Brandon Carlo

With the best line in hockey right now, the Bruins are coming in all-guns-blazing against the Red Wings this afternoon. Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak is extremely lethal to even the best defensive team in the world, so against the Red Wings this might get ugly. The Bruins are truly “retooling” on the fly, as the inject more youth into their lineup to surround a very experienced core of players.

They might be old down the middle, but on the wing they are full of U23 players that make their centers feel young again. Donato, DeBrusk, Bjork, and of course Pastrnak, make a group of young and exciting forwards that the Bruins rely on to win their games.

Defensively the Bruins are always heavy and matchup well against any team. With the aging Zdeno Chara leading younger, faster, and more agile defenders, they can play a heavy transistion game. They may have McAvoy and Grezelcyk to breakout of their zone, but with guys like John Moore on the blueline, there is always the possibility of just getting absolutely turnstiled by a speedy forward.

Between the Pipes

Jimmy Howard vs. Tuukka Rask

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Howard has been his old consistent self so far this season for the Red Wings. He never dazzles or absolutely steals the show, but so far he has given the Wings the opportunity to win every game he starts. A .910sv% isn’t the most impressive or chart-topping, but it is enough that if the Wings were able to actually put the puck in the back of the net, they would be winning those one-goal games.

Speaking of consistency, Rask has been one of the top goaltenders in this league for a while now. His eleventh year in the Bruins organization and his sixth as a starter, Rask has never dipped below a .915sv% to finish the season. His Quality Start% is always towards the top of the league, so just like Howard this season, he gives his team a chance to win most games.

This season, Rask has not been very good at all. Having eight goals against in just 87 minutes is not a very good look for him. He has already been pulled mid-game while playing his first of the season against the Washington Capitals – allowing five goals in less than half of the game played. But he bounced back against the Ottawa Senators and earned the win while allowing three goals in 31 shots.

How to Watch

This game will be on Fox Sports-Detroit, as always, and NESN for the New England area. Puck drop is at 3:00pm. So get your afternoon clear to watch some Red Wing hockey.

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