Joe Louis Arena

Get your game notes: Bruins at Red Wings

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Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Detroit Red Wings hosting the Boston Bruins starting at 7:30 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

— With one-third of its home schedule in the books, the Red Wings stand 4-4-6 at Joe Louis Arena. The last time a Wings team finished .500 or worse on home ice was in 1985-86, when they were 10-26-4 at home. They finished last in the Norris Division that season.

— Tonight, the Bruins and Red Wings will play their first game in Detroit as divisional foes since Mar. 2, 1974, when they played to a 4-4 tie. That season, Phil Esposito won the Hart Trophy, Bobby Orr won his seventh Norris Trophy and the Bruins advanced to the Stanley Cup Final (lost to Philadelphia).

— On Nov. 21, the Red Wings snapped an eight-game home winless streak (0-2-6) that included three overtime losses and three shootout losses. The Wings have lost 11 straight OT/SO games at Joe Louis Arena (last win: April 1, 2012), the club’s longest winless streak since going 12 straight from Mar. 30, 1997-Dec. 28, 1998. The last NHL team to go winless in as many consecutive home OT/SO games was the N.Y. Rangers (14 games, Dec. 23, 2002-Oct. 19, 2005). (Elias Sports Bureau)

— The Red Wings have had the better of the Bruins during the past four+ seasons. Since the beginning of the 2009-10 season, Detroit has won five of the teams’ six meetings. The lone Boston win came on Oct. 5 of this season, a 4-1 win at TD Garden.

— Since November 18, 2010, Tuukka Rask is 6-0-0 when facing 40+ shots in a game. In those games, the Bruins netminder has allowed only a combined five goals on 248 shots.

— Jonas Gustavsson is expected to start in goal for the Red Wings tonight. This would be his second straight start and fourth in Detroit’s last six games; he is 5-0-1 with a 2.35 GAA and .926 save% this season. No. 1 goalie Jimmy Howard is mired in a career-long seven-game winless streak (0-3-4) and has lost 13 games this season (5-7-6), three of them in a shootout.

— Daniel Alfredsson is slated to suit up in his 1,199th NHL game tonight. His games-played total ranks third all-time among Swedish-born players, behind long-time Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom (1,564) and Mats Sundin (1,346). Lidstrom will have his #5 jersey retired in Detroit on Mar. 6, 2014.

— Michigan native and rookie Torey Krug is tied for the NHL lead in goals by a defenseman, with seven. (Erik Karlsson, Shea Weber, Michael Stone). The last time that a Bruins defenseman led the NHL in goals at his position was 1995-96, when Raymond Bourque scored 20 (tied with Gary Suter).

— Through 24 games, the Bruins have 12 power-play goals (T-6th fewest in the NHL) on an NHL-low 62 opportunities in an NHL-low 100:27 power-play time. The Red Wings have had the man-advantage for 25:25 more than the Bruins (125:52), but even that figure is the 4th-lowest in the league.

— On Sunday, Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg became the ninth player in franchise history to score 700 career points for the historic hockey franchise. He reached the milestone in 739 NHL games, the fifth-fewest among the nine players. (Steve Yzerman – 519 games, Sergei Fedorov – 638, Gordie Howe – 673, Pavel Datsyuk – 706) (Elias Sports Bureau)

Lehtonen only lasts one period in Game 2

Lehtonen
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Kari Lehtonen might have been more hit than miss in the playoffs going into today’s action, but Game 2 against St. Louis was certainly a start he’d like to forget.

Dallas outshot St. Louis 10-5 in the first frame, but the Blues still managed to take a 3-1 lead. Antti Niemi replaced Lehtonen for the second period which means, barring another goalie change, Lehtonen will actually end up with a sub-.500 save percentage this afternoon.

The numbers obviously look bad and it’s hard not to blame Lehtonen in the face of that, but the Blues deserve a lot of the credit for those goals. Patrik Berglund had a great shot on goal for the first marker, Joel Edmundson‘s first career playoff goal came after a nice setup by Troy Brouwer, and when Brouwer collected his own goal it was off of a rebound during a power play.

So to an extent, you could say Lehtonen looked bad due to circumstances that were very unfavorable to him. Nevertheless, the Stars needed to shake things up after what was unquestionably a bad period for them.

Dupuis, Jagr, Zuccarello are Masterton Trophy finalists

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 18:  Pascal Dupuis #9 of the Pittsburgh Penguins in action against the New York Rangers during their game at Madison Square Garden on December 18, 2013 in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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Pittsburgh’s Pascal Dupuis, Florida’s Jaromir Jagr, and the Rangers’ Mats Zuccarello have been selected as the three finalists for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.

The Masterton Trophy recognizes “the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.” In 2015 it went to Devan Dubnyk, who struggled mightily in 2013-14, but dramatically turned his career around the following season and led the Minnesota Wild to the playoffs in the process.

Dupuis attempted to play in the 2015-16 campaign while taking blood thinners, but on Dec. 8 he announced that he would stop playing “because of a medical condition related to blood clots.”

Jagr celebrated his 44th birthday in February, but despite his age he managed to score 27 goals and 66 points in 79 contests this season. With that, he became the oldest player to reach the 60-point mark in a single NHL campaign.

Zuccarello played in 81 games and set career-highs with 26 goals and 61 points this season after suffering a skull fracture and brain contusion during the 2015 playoffs that left him temporarily unable to speak.

Can there be parallels drawn between the 2016 Ducks and 2014 Sharks?

Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Kesler (17) takes the puck up ice on a breakaway with San Jose Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, center, and Ducks center Nate Thompson, right, trailing on the play during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
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The Anaheim Ducks might not have suffered a reverse sweep at the hands of one of their biggest rivals, but they seem to have reached a breaking point when it comes to playoff disappointments.

After firing head coach Bruce Boudreau, GM Bob Murray was highly critical of the team’s core, even noting that at this point he’s not a fan of long-term contracts. That was perhaps a swipe at how he feels Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf‘s eight-year $69 million and $66 million contracts have worked out thus far. Meanwhile Ryan Kesler‘s six-year deal worth roughly $41 million is about to begin.

After San Jose suffered its first round loss to the Los Angeles Kings in 2014, Sharks GM Doug Wilson said they were now becoming a “tomorrow team” and they began a cultural shift that included Joe Thornton losing the captaincy.

There are differences of course between the two situations. One notable one is that the Sharks’ guard was already starting to change hands in 2013-14. Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau were entering their mid-30s, but Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture were on the rise. Anaheim’s core of Getzlaf and Perry is significantly younger, but while Anaheim also has some promising forwards like Jakob Silfverberg, that generation of players doesn’t seem ready to carry the torch for the Ducks.

“We don’t have a lot of young guys in the lineup. … Today’s a much different feeling leaving the rink,” Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano said, per the Los Angeles Times. “In those [previous] years there’s been a sense of hope. Today, there’s zero feeling like that.”

Perhaps the Anaheim Ducks will find hope by watching the rest of the 2016 playoffs. If the San Jose Sharks continue to succeed, they will be an example of a team that once underachieved, hit a critical low, but then managed to fix that in a relatively short time without a massive turnover in terms of on-ice personnel. While we’re at it, you could make a similar argument for the Washington Capitals.

Maybe Murray will look to those franchises for inspiration as he moves forward.

Capitals, Penguins nearly perfect at stopping third period comebacks

Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) and Washington Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen (2) chase down the puck during the first period of Game 2 in an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Eastern Conference semifinals Saturday, April 30, 2016 in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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Pittsburgh only won by a single goal in Game 2 on Saturday and that deciding marker came with 4:28 minutes remaining in the third, but that contest had the potential to be far more one-sided.

The Capitals were outshot 28-10 through 40 minutes and were consequently leaning on goaltender Braden Holtby to keep things close.

“First two periods, I thought they were way better than us,” Washington coach Barry Trotz told CSN Mid-Atlantic. Or has Justin Williams put it, the Capitals “were getting embarrassed out there” during the first 40 minutes.

Washington did rebound in the third period, though it wasn’t enough to prevent the Penguins from evening this series at 1-1. That puts the pressure on Washington to take at least one game in Pittsburgh before the second round’s over.

Starting the game off strong is always going to be important, but that’s particularly true when talking about the Penguins and Capitals. Pittsburgh was 39-0-0 in the regular season when leading after 40 minutes while Washington was 37-0-1. So far in the playoffs, both teams are 4-0-0 when they have the lead after two periods.