NHL Extra: Breaking down Red Wings vs. Bruins

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Looking for the numbers breakdown for how these two teams stack up? Look no further as we’ve got you covered as the Red Wings and Bruins drop the puck at 12:30 p.m. ET.

Team scoring

Boston is sixth in the NHL in goals scored with 170.  They’re also fifth in the NHL at goals per game with 3.07. Patrice Bergeron is their leading scorer with 45 points (19 goals, 26 assists). Milan Lucic is their top goal scorer with 23 goals and the power forward will be looking to make his presence felt today both physically and on the scoreboard. The B’s may not have one player dominating in scoring, but they do have eight players with 10+ goals this season. The most surprising of that bunch might be rookie Brad Marchand with 15 goals and 14 assists. Zdeno Chara is their top defenseman in scoring with 10 goals, 20 assists.

Detroit is second in the NHL in goal scoring with 183 goals and third in goals per game with 3.29. The Wings are led by Henrik Zetterberg in scoring with 60 points. Zetterberg has 17 goals and 43 assists to pace the Wings and considering he’s been one of the handful of forwards to play every game this year, his carrying of the offense is no surprise. Johan Franzen leads the team in goals with 26 and while we’re doubting he’ll pot five goals the way he did against Ottawa earlier this year, he’s a streaky scorer so if he gets hot again, look out. Nicklas Lidstrom’s 11 goals and 33 assists from the blue line are good for second on the team in scoring and for being the top defenseman in points for Detroit. If you’re missing out on names like Pavel Datsyuk and Dan Cleary, it’s because they’ve been injured recently but with the team getting back to health they’re as dangerous as they ever were once again.

Goaltending

Boston’s goaltending has been all the rage this year and it’s thanks to Tim Thomas. Thomas is 26-6-6 this season and sporting a minuscule 1.91 goals against average with an astounding .941 save percentage. Thomas has seven shutouts this season as well helping to boost those incredible numbers and he’ll get the start today against Detroit. His backup Tuukka Rask hasn’t been the same guy we saw in the playoffs last year so far this season and should he see action today, he’ll bring his 2.89 goals against average and .916 save percentage in to play. For that to happen though Thomas will have to have a pretty rough game.

Detroit is led by Jimmy Howard in goal. Howard is 27-10-3 this season with a 2.85 goals against average and a .906 save percentage. The numbers aren’t outstanding in comparison to Thomas but the team has been able to support him with great offense. If things get really out of hand it’ll be Joey MacDonald getting the call off the bench to take over. MacDonald is 1-3-1 this year with a .913 save percentage and a 2.39 goals against average in limited action.

Special Teams

Special teams could decide this game and for Boston their power play checks in as the 17th best in the NHL at 17.4%. Their penalty kill is good for 14th in the league at 82.5% and they’ll get that tested in a big way today with the Red Wings. Detroit has the fifth best power play in the league scoring at a 20.9% rate. Being able to score on one out of every five man-advantages is pretty astounding. As for the Wings PK, they’re average stopping teams at a 81.3% good for 18th in the NHL.

Contrast in styles

While we’re not saying that Detroit isn’t a physical team, they certainly don’t roll over for teams that get rough with them, they’re not in the same league as the Bruins when it comes to getting tough. Detroit’s puck possession brand of hockey doesn’t rely on being physically imposing, it’s a brand of hockey that couldn’t be more different than Boston’s tight defensive, physically imposing style of play. Give a read to our compare and contrast piece on these two teams.

Streaks and standings

The Bruins sit atop the Northeast Division with 69 points and are winners of four of their last six games. The Bruins are looking to bounce back after being humbled at home by the Red Wings 6-1. Boston holds a one point lead over Montreal in the division and sit third in the Eastern Conference.

Detroit is leading the Central Division with 72 points and are second in the Western Conference to the Vancouver Canucks. Detroit has won two of their last three and appear to heading towards better consistency and dropping the streaky act. A win today would certainly prove they’re in a good place. They hold a five point lead over Nashville in the Central and a four point lead on Dallas in the West.

NHL Extra

If you’d like to ask James and I questions and get our thoughts on today’s game, you can join us for NHL Extra online and follow along with the action that way. To join us for NHL Extra click here. We’ll be kicking things off at 12:30 p.m.

Ducks take control of second in Pacific after edging Oilers

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Connor McDavid was fantastic on Wednesday, but the Anaheim Ducks overcame his strong showing for a significant win in the Pacific.

McDavid scored a goal and two assists, yet Ryan Getzlaf was right there with him with three assists, helping the Ducks win 4-3.

With that, Anaheim is clearly ahead of Edmonton for second in the Pacific. The Ducks would hold home-ice over the Oilers if the playoffs began today, and better yet for them, a division title isn’t out of the question:

1. Sharks – 91 points in 73 games played
2. Ducks – 89 points in 73 GP
3. Oilers – 87 points in 73 GP
4. Flames – 86 points in 73 GP

As you can see, the Oilers aren’t exactly far ahead of the Flames for third, either.

Going forward, the Oilers have an interesting schedule: a mix of games against cellar dwellers (two apiece against the Canucks and Avalanche) plus two games apiece versus the Kings and Sharks.

The Ducks’ schedule includes two matches against the Flames, one against the Kings and one more match at Edmonton on April 1.

Long story short, the jockeying for position is far from over, but this was a pretty significant win for the Ducks.

Video: Connor McDavid shows off speed and skill (again)

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Connor McDavid‘s 26th goal of 2016-17 was a lot like many others: an impressive display of skill and speed. He didn’t blaze past the Anaheim Ducks like has against opponents on other occasions, but his rare wheels still came in handy.

Maybe more than sheer speed, this tally is a reminder that McDavid could do impressive things while losing little or no momentum. It’s one thing to have straight-line speed, but he has the hands and hockey IQ to take advantage of his swift skating.

McDavid already has two points in this one, pushing him to 84 points. He also extended his point streak to five games (three goals, six assists if he stays at one of each on Wednesday).

Islanders grab precious points by beating Rangers

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The goal posts might move from time to time – now they’re chasing the Boston Bruins more than the Toronto Maple Leafs – but the bottom line is that the New York Islanders need to get it done to make the playoffs.

They still have some climbing to do, but Wednesday represented a step in the right direction with a tough 3-2 win against the New York Rangers.

The Rangers built 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the second period as John Tavares struggled with a “hat trick” of penalties, but Tavares & Co. wouldn’t give up. They managed two power-play goals in the third (one by Nikolay Kulemin, the winner by Andrew Ladd) to turn things around for a significant win.

Anders Lee was also a big part of the win, grabbing a goal and an assist. The biggest difference-maker may very well have been Thomas Greiss, who stopped 34 of 36 shots (including all 11 in the third) as the Rangers created a lot of offense.

The Islanders now have 80 standings points, placing them two behind the Bruins for the East’s final wild card spot.

The Rangers’ hold over the first wild card seems quite secure, but they do have to worry ever so slightly about their play at home. With this defeat, they’ve now lost seven straight (0-5-2) at Madison Square Garden.

Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style

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Rick Nash has his critics stemming from his playoff struggles in the past, but for those who support him, moments like these are satisfying.

Why? Because you’d be absurd to discredit how hard he tries when Nash scores goals like he did for the New York Rangers against the New York Islanders on Wednesday.

Nash went all-out for his 20th goal of the season, sprawling after scoring against Thomas Greiss. It’s quite a sight, and Getty Images really was on top of that one.

via Getty Images

The Rangers may need more from him tonight, however, as the Islanders just went up 3-2. Watch the remainder of the contest on NBCSN.