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)

Rivalry Night on NBCSN: Red Wings challenge division-leading Bruins

Detroit Red Wings left wing Justin Abdelkader (8) is checked by Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara (33) and goalie Tuukka Rask (40) in front of the crease in the third period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Monday, Oct. 14, 2013. The Red Wings won 3-2. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Throughout the season, NBCSN will feature the NHL’s fiercest rivalries on Wednesday nights. Tonight the Boston Bruins will head to Joe Louis Arena to take on the Detroit Red Wings at 7:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

The Red Wings are back home after a brief detour to Buffalo, but maybe it would have been better if they had stayed on the road.

They have struggled lately and a lot of that has taken place at The Joe. As a result, Detroit now has a 4-4-6 home record despite being 11-7-7 overall.

To make matters worse, Detroit will be without Pavel Datsyuk (head) and Todd Bertuzzi (shoulder) tonight. They also won’t lead with goaltender Jimmy Howard, although that’s for an entirely different reason.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $3,000 Fantasy Hockey league tonight (Wednesday). It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $600. Starts at 7:00 p.m. ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Howard hasn’t won a game since Nov. 1 and has allowed at least three goals in six of his last eight contests.

“Let’s be clear, we’ll go as far as Howie takes us,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock told the Detroit News. “He’s an elite goalie who it hasn’t gone as good as he’d like to lately. We’ll give him a breather to work with Jimmy (Bedard, Red Wings goaltender coach).”

Backup goaltender Jonas Gustavsson has been great lately and he’ll have to keep that up because the Boston Bruins aren’t likely to make many mistakes. The Red Wings rank in the bottom third of the league when it comes to goals per game while the Bruins lead the league with a team 1.83 GAA.

Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask has been stunning and he’ll be backed up by one of the league’s deeper offenses. That’s nothing new for the Bruins, although the cast is different this season, including newcomers Reilly Smith, Loui Eriksson, and Jarome Iginla. All of them have stepped up at various times, along with returning stars Milan Lucic and David Krejci, but this team still has another level if they can all come together.

“Chemistry on the ice develops with time and through adversity, through tough times, through good times,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said, according to CSN New England. He added, “So I think it’s an ongoing thing, and those guys will let that evolve throughout the whole year. You just hope it’s at its best always at the right time of the year.”

As it is, they are certainly a serious contender. With a 16-6-2 record, the Bruins lead the Atlantic Division, but the Red Wings are only five points behind despite their recent slump. Detroit has plenty to overcome, but they can keep the pressure on Boston with a win tonight.

Bruins shake off Crosby’s late goal, beat Pens in OT


Sidney Crosby sent Monday’s game into overtime with a goal in the dying seconds, but it wasn’t enough, as the Boston Bruins beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3.

This was one of those “something has to give” games.

While the Bruins’ 2013 Eastern Conference finals sweep of the Penguins loomed large in the minds of many, Pittsburgh had been dominating the regular season meetings; they came into tonight’s game 9-1 in their last 10 against Boston. The Bruins have been stout at home, lately, moving to 7-0-2 in Beantown after this win.

Torey Krug notched the overtime game-winner while Swedes Loui Eriksson (one goal, two assists) and Carl Soderberg (two helpers) continue to heat up. (One might blame Crosby for losing coverage on Krug’s OT-winner, by the way.)

The Bruins have now won two OT games in a row, improving their overall record to 16-6-2.

The Penguins are on a two-game losing streak, but at least James Neal seems like he’s back to being “The Real Deal.” He now has four consecutive multiple-point games with tonight’s two-goal, one-assist effort.

Pittsburgh continues to look up at Boston among the elite, as they finish the evening at 15-9-1.

Crosby: Pens have ‘turned the page’ after Bruins sweep

Marc-Andre Fleury, Sidney Crosby, Zdeno Chara

The two division leaders in the Eastern Conference meet tonight in Boston when the Bruins (15-6-2) host the Pittsburgh Penguins (15-9-0).

It’s the second meeting of the season between the teams; the first, on Oct. 30, was a 3-2 victory for the Pens.

“We didn’t play to our identity,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said following that defeat. “We didn’t play a heavy game for two periods tonight. We had to play three periods like we did in the third and that wasn’t the case.”

The B’s, of course, swept the Pens in last year’s playoffs, outscoring them 12-2 in the four games combined.

“I think we’ve all turned the page,” Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby said today, per “It’s something that we’ll hopefully learn from. But I think we’re all moving on and making sure that we learn from it.”

Fun fact: If the Pens were in the Western Conference, they wouldn’t be in a playoff position. The Bruins would be, but only barely, based on regulation/overtime wins.


Related: Seidenberg at morning skate; Rask to start (CSN New England)

Blues’ franchise-best start continues with shootout win over Bruins

St Louis Blues v Boston Bruins

Alexander Steen didn’t score in regulation or overtime Thursday, but it didn’t matter. The St. Louis Blues won anyway.

The Blues defeated the Boston Bruins with a 3-2 shootout victory, pushing their franchise-best start to 15-3-3. That temporarily put them ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for top spot in the Central Division, however the Blackhawks won in Winnipeg not long after to jump back ahead of St. Louis.

The win for St. Louis was a milestone victory for both the team and its head coach Ken Hitchcock.

On an individual level, Hitchcock recorded 620th career win, tying Bryan Murray for eighth on the NHL’s all-time list, according to the Blues.

The Blues have also won their last six games at the TD Garden.

Steen was held off the score sheet until the second round of the shootout. His goal helped extend the deciding skills competition into the fourth round, when Derek Roy scored the winner.

“If that’s the level, that’s a pretty high level,” Hitchcock said, as per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“We got the information we needed. It was a playoff game. It was very disciplined. Both teams really respected each other. But it was really a hard game.”

Steen entered the game with 17 goals, tied with Alex Ovechkin at the top of the league.

As you’ll recall, we previewed this game earlier in the day. It was also a match-up of two very strong teams only gaining strength in their respective conferences.

The Bruins had won six of their last seven games, while the Blues have now gone 7-2-1 in their last 10 games.