Photo Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

WGD #60: Three things to watch for against Boston

Following a miserable 4-1 loss against New Jersey, Detroit will look to forget about their third-period collapse this afternoon against Boston. Dating back to last season, the Red Wings currently own a five-game winning streak over the Bruins. In order to continue that streak, Detroit will actually need to hold onto their lead throughout the third period.

Despite Detroit’s 14-41-4 record, they’ve somehow performed beyond expectations when facing Boston this season. As a result, the Red Wings have exceeded their goals per game average of just 2.03 goals/game (league-worst) as they have scored at least three goals during each of those two matchups with the Bruins. So, here’s hoping that Detroit can be victorious during the first game of their back-to-back series that’ll conclude in Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon.

Projected Lines

Detroit Red Wings

Filip Hronek
Mike Green
Patrik Nemeth
Gustav Lindstrom
Trevor Daley
Alex Biega

After sitting out Thursday night’s game, forward Brendan Perlini is expected to return to Detroit’s lineup this afternoon. However, coach Jeff Blashill hasn’t announced which skater will be scratched as the corresponding move. Based on who played on Thursday, Perlini is likely to replace either Adam Erne or Christoffer Ehn for today’s matchup against Boston.

Boston Bruins

Zdeno Chara
Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug
Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk
John Moore

Similar to last Sunday, Detroit will need to remain alert every time Boston’s first line steps out onto the ice. While the Red Wings were unable to keep David Pastrnak off the scoresheet during their previous meeting, their team was able to prevent him from finding the back of the net. So, limiting Pastrnak should be one of Detroit’s main goals once again this afternoon.

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Three Thoughts

1.) Continuing Success on PP Against BostonΒ 

Despite the Red Wings’ fourth-worst success rate (14.8%) on the power play this season, their special teams unit has been extremely successful during their two games against the Bruins. In their two showdowns against Boston, Detroit has produced three of their seven goals while on the power play.

The Red Wings should also receive a handful of opportunities to play with the man advantage, as the Bruins have averaged the fifth-most penalty minutes per game (10:10) among all 31 teams in the league since Jan. 1. Based on these metrics, Detroit should have a decent chance at extending their winning streak against Boston to six games later today.

2.) Boxing Out In Front of Detroit’s Net

During Detroit’s meltdown during the final frame of Thursday night’s contest, their defensemen failed to clear out the front of their net for goaltender Jonathan Bernier on three of New Jersey’s four goals. In all three situations, there was a Devils’ forward blocking Bernier’s vision of the incoming puck.

Case #1:

Case #2:

Case #3:Β 

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As seen above, Detroit failed their goaltender on multiple occasions. Based on these inexcusable mistakes, Blashill will undoubtedly make sure they aren’t replicated against the Bruins. If they occur once again, the Red Wings could find themselves losing this game by a lot more than just three goals.

3.) Tough Scoring Chances

While Detroit has been successful on offense during each of their last two meetings against Boston, those same results can’t be expected to continue this afternoon. Since Dec. 1, the Bruins have allowed the third-fewest number of goals per game (2.41) and the fourth-lowest number of shots on net per game (28.9) as well.

The Bruins also feature one of the best goalie duos throughout the entire league. Whether it’s Tuukka Rask (2.11 GAA, .929 SV%) or Jaroslav Halak (2.37 GAA, .914 SV%) starting in net for Boston, neither have been confirmed for today’s game, either of them should make it very tough for Detroit to replicate their offensive success during their third showdown of the year.