BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 07:  Kevan Miller #86 of the Boston Bruins is upended by Luke Glendening #41 of the Detroit Red Wings during the second period at TD Garden on April 7, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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Red Wings hope to continue the climb back to playoff contention vs. Bruins

The odds are against them right now, but the Detroit Red Wings hope to continue the climb back into the thick of the East’s playoff bubble against one team already situated in playoff position in the Boston Bruins. It should make for a spirited edition of Wednesday Night Rivalry (8 pm ET on NBCSN, online or the NBC Sports app).

At the moment, the Red Wings are closer to the bottom of the East (two points ahead of the last-place Islanders, one ahead of Buffalo) than the last wild card spot (Ottawa has a six-point edge and five teams rank ahead of Detroit right now).

On the other hand, Detroit won’t let its record-breaking playoff run end without a fight. The Red Wings are currently on a two-game winning streak, so there could be some optimism on their end.

Meanwhile, the Bruins rank second in the Atlantic, but they still need to protect their spot. Ottawa and Toronto aren’t far behind the Bruins, and both of those teams have five games in hand on Boston.

In other words, Detroit’s climb could benefit from Boston’s fall, so we’ll see what happens tonight.

Click here for the livestream link. Tonight’s doubleheader also includes the latest round of the San Jose Sharks – Los Angeles Kings rivalry.

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    NHL on NBCSN Doubleheader: Bruins vs. Red Wings; Sharks vs. Kings

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 07:  Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins looks for a shot against the Detroit Red Wings during the third period at TD Garden on April 7, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins defeat the Red Wings 5-2.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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    We’ll have a full night of hockey on NBCSN, and it starts at 8:00 p.m. ET when the Detroit Red Wings host the Boston Bruins. You can watch the game online by clicking here.

    The Boston Bruins currently sit in the second place in the Atlantic Division, but that doesn’t mean their satisfied with their game right now. Actually, it might be the exact opposite of satisfied.

    On Monday, the Bruins were shelled 4-0 at the Garden by the worst team in the Eastern Conference, the New York Islanders.

    The performance was so bad that head coach Claude Julien decided to cancel Tuesday’s practice so his players could rest and watch film.

    “I still believe in this group; never have not believed in this group,” said Julien, per the Boston Herald. “Having said that, I understand there’s work to be done, and there’s challenges ahead. I said that last week . . . we’re trying to build on certain things here, but it’s a challenge. And we knew that from the get-go. We accept it. We accept the challenges in front of us. It doesn’t mean we accept the things that happened (Monday), but we still have to accept that there’s work to be done and we keep doing our work.”

    If the playoffs started today, sure, the Bruins would have home ice advantage, but the playoffs don’t start today and Toronto and Ottawa are both just one point behind Boston and they each have five (yes, five) games in hand. The Flyers and Hurricanes, who are currently outside of the playoff picture, are just one and two points behind the Bruins.

    Boston can’t afford to take anyone for granted.

    The Red Wings are coming off a 1-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Monday, but they haven’t been very good this season.

    If they don’t turn this thing around quickly, they’ll see their long playoff streak snapped at 25 seasons. Detroit is currently six points back of both the final Wild Card spot in the East and third place in the Atlantic Division.

    Now would be as good a time as ever to go on a long winning streak, which they haven’t done since they won six straight in October.

    “You don’t want to be on that team that doesn’t make (the playoffs),” said Henrik Zetterberg, per MLive.com. “We want to have a chance and we still have a chance, but we have to play the right away. We have good enough players that we can still make it, but we can’t get too carried away. It’s two wins and we haven’t had two wins (in a row) since October and that says a lot.”

    After the Bruins-Red Wings game, NBCSN’s hockey coverage will continue in Los Angeles, where the Sharks will take on the Kings. You can watch that game online by clicking here.

    After getting steamrolled, 4-0, by the Blues on Saturday night, the Sharks responded with a big 5-2 win over the Jets on Monday.

    Finding the back of the net with regularity has been an issue for the Sharks, which is a little surprising when you see the offensive firepower they have on their roster. But if the San Jose makes a move between now and the deadline, it’ll likely be to add a forward that can score goals (they probably aren’t the only ones looking for that).

    Only three teams have allowed less than the 102 goals San Jose has given up this season, but their 117 goals for currently ranks 20th in the NHL.

    One way they’ll likely boost their offensive output is by getting Tomas Hertl back from injury. Hertl’s been out since Nov. 19 because of a knee injury. The 23-year-old scored 21 goals for the Sharks last season.

    Like the Sharks, the Kings also do a good job of keeping the puck out of the net, but they’re struggling to create offense.

    Los Angeles has given up just eight more goals than San Jose in 2016-17, but the issue is that they’ve also scored five less goals than the Sharks, which puts them in 24th place in that category.

    The poster boy for offensive struggles is Kings captain Anze Kopitar, who’s managed to find the back of the net just four times in 38 games this season.

    Kopitar missed Monday’s 2-1 loss to the Lightning because of an illness, but he told LAKingsInsider.com that he was starting to feel good about his offensive game before getting sick.

    “I expect the very highest of myself, so yeah it’s not the best feeling when you look at numbers, just because of my personal expectation,” said Kopitar. Whatever the outside world thinks it’s not weighing on me as much as I do on my own, but like I said, I think things have been going in the right direction now and hopefully I can sustain it.”

    On a positive note, the Kings have been terrific at home this season. They currently own a 14-7-1 record at Staples Center, which bodes well for their chances in tonight’s game.

    The Bruins are finally ‘starting to connect’ on offense

    Boston Bruins' David Krejci (46), of the Czech Republic, celebrates his goal beside Philadelphia Flyers' Wayne Simmonds (17) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
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    The floodgates have opened for the Boston Bruins.

    And it’s about time.

    With Saturday’s 6-3 win over the Flyers, the B’s have scored 22 goals in their last six games. The offense has been a relative juggernaut compared to the first few months of the season. Brad Marchand had five points against Philadelphia, and he likes the progress the team has made.

    “I think early on we had a lot of moving parts and guys in and out of the lineup. [We had] different guys that came in that we all had to get used to one another, and it doesn’t happen overnight,” said Marchand, per CSN New England. “It took half the year, but…I think we all realized that we have to be a desperate team. We’re starting to come together and learn each other and finally get some chemistry on the lines. All of that comes into play and again, I think we’re just starting to connect.”

    The statistics suggested the goals would come. The Bruins have the highest score-adjusted Corsi in the league, but through Christmas, for whatever reason, the pucks weren’t going in.

    To illustrate, Patrice Bergeron had just four goals in his first 31 games, and it wasn’t for a lack of shots. He now has five in his last 12, bringing his season total to a modest nine, as the bounces are finally starting to go his way:

    To be sure, the Bruins are still in a desperate fight for a playoff spot. They’re currently second in the Atlantic Division, but with five more games played than both third-place Toronto and fourth-place Ottawa, winnable games like this afternoon’s against the Islanders need to be won.

    “When you score a couple goals, I guess your confidence goes up a little bit,” said goalie Tuukka Rask. “I think that’s what happened [with us]. So we’ve just got to make sure that we keep it going and don’t take a step back.”

    Chaotic Bruins – Predators game also has this brutal McQuaid fight

    BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 25:  Adam McQuaid #54 of the Boston Bruins and Matt Dumba #24 of the Minnesota Wild fight during the third period at TD Garden on October 25, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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    At this point, coaches of the Boston Bruins and Nashville Predators might as well keep their speeches to “Stay safe.”

    It’s been a pretty wild one so far, with Tuukka Rask possibly being injured by a Roman Josi shot and then Josi being shaken up by a huge, late hit.

    Why not throw a pretty awe-inspiring fight into this motley mix, then?

    Adam McQuaid took down Derek Grant in a truly brutal bout. Just, yikes:

    (Full video of the fight to come.)

    Bruins get a scare as Rask leaves after taking slap shot up high

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    The Boston Bruins are holding their breath on Thursday night after Tuukka Rask took a Roman Josi slap shot up high.

    CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty notes that the shot “shook him up immediately” and that he was being worked on in the Bruins dressing room.

    Watch video of the moment in the clip above. Also, here’s that scare in GIF form SBNation:

    PHT will keep an eye out for updates regarding Rask’s condition. As you can see in places like Hockey Reference, the gap between Rask and the rest of the Bruins’ goalie options has been … large.

    Update – So far, not so good. The Bruins announced that Rask is being evaluated and is unlikely to return against the Predators.

    Rask left the game under his own power and said he’d be OK, according to CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty.