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NHL on NBCSN: Bruins, Red Wings do battle in Atlantic Division clash

NBCSN’s coverage of the 2017-18 season continues on Wednesday night, as the Detroit Red Wings host the Boston Bruins at 8:00 p.m. ET. You can watch the game online by clicking here

There’s only four points separating the Bruins and Red Wings (Boston is ahead), but they seem to heading in opposition directions.

The Bruins, who are currently third in the Atlantic Division standings, have been on a roll of late. They’ve won back-to-back games and eight of their last 10.

Boston will want to take care of business against their division rival, but they’ll also have to leave something in the tank for the Washington Capitals, who are coming to town the next day.

“Detroit’s going to be a tough game. I remember playing there in preseason and it was the first game (in the new Little Caesar’s Arena) so they had lots of fans there and it way pretty loud. We have to be ready for that,” said Jake DeBrusk, per the Boston Herald. “And obviously Washington, they’re coming to town and they’re playing really well right now. We just make sure we save our energy, keep our legs, play the right way and get out front as fast possible.”

Tuukka Rask will be between the pipes for the Bruins. The 30-year-old has won each of his last four decisions. He’s given up two goals or less in each of those outings.

The Red Wings come into tonight’s clash having won just one of their last 10 games (1-5-4). Even though Detroit is four points away from a playoff spot, they’re also just six points away from the basement of the conference.

“One of the hardest things in life to do is to trust the process,” head coach Jeff Blashill told the Detroit News. “When you’re not getting results.

“Mistakes that people make is they get away from the process when they’re not getting (results). They panic too early and they don’t stay with it.”

Sticking with “it” might be hard considering the Red Wings can’t seem to find the win column with any regularity. Their refusal to rebuild is a little concerning at this point. Their roster needs a lot of work and the fact that they’re so close to a playoff spot might be a bad thing considering the team needs to get younger.

They’ve signed veterans like Frans Nielsen and Trevor Daley over the last couple of off-seasons, which hasn’t helped. They missed the playoffs last year and they’re on their way to missing them again if they don’t turn things around soon.

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

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    McAvoy has goal, assist as Bruins top Lightning 3-2

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    Charlie McAvoy had a goal and added a helper as the Boston Bruins knocked off the NHL’s top team in a 3-2 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night on NBCSN.

    The resurgent Bruins have now won five of their past six games after losing their previous four and leapfrogged the Detroit Red Wings into third place in the Atlantic Division.

    Boston welcomed some reinforcements on Wednesday with the return of Brad Marchand, who had missed eight of the past 10 games for Boston, and David Backes, who had been out since Oct. 30 because of colon surgery.

    Marchand chipped in with two assists, one on McAvoy’s opener and a second on Riley Nash’s slick wrist shot to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead after a 19-shot performance in the first period.

    The Bruins continued the shelling in the second, firing 13-more on Andrei Vasilevskiy, who played a stellar game despite the result, finishing with 33 saves.

    After two periods, Boston had outshot the Lightning 32-12, but Andrej Sustr was able to pot his first of the season to cut Boston’s lead to 3-1 after Torey Krug scored what eventually would be the game-winning goal to make it 3-0.

    Tampa Bay played with a little more purpose in the third period and Steven Stamkos retained NHL points lead with his 11th goal of the season on a nice tic-tac-toe play in the third period.

    Stamkos (37 points) leads teammate Kucherov by one point. Kucherov assisted on Stamkos’ marker, giving him at least one point in 20 of 25 games this season.

    Tuukka Rask stood tall, stopping nine third period shots for just his fourth win of the season.

    The Lightning has lost four of their past six games but remains atop of the Eastern Conference with 36 points.


    Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

    WATCH LIVE: Tampa Bay Lightning at Boston Bruins

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    CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

    PROJECTED LINES

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    Starting goalie: Tuukka Rask

    NHL on NBCSN: Lightning visit the battered Bruins of Boston

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    Starting goalie: Andrei Vasilevskiy

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    Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

    NHL on NBCSN: Lightning visit the battered Bruins of Boston

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    NBCSN’s coverage of the 2017-18 NHL season continues on Wednesday night, as the Tampa Bay Lightning visit the Boston Bruins at 7:30 p.m. ET. You can stream the game by clicking here.

    The Bruins will host the Lightning tonight with the possibility of two big names returning to the lineup.

    Brad Marchand, who’s missed eight of Boston’s last 10 games, and David Backes, who underwent colon surgery and has been out since Oct. 30, could be back. It was originally believed Backes would be out until closer to the new year, but this is a sign he’s way ahead of schedule.

    Of course, since this is the battered Bruins we’re talking about, we have to note that while two players are close to full health, two-thirds of their second line will sit. David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk will both miss Wednesday’s game and are considered day-to-day.

    Winners of four of their last five, the Bruins also have a decision to make in goal. While head coach Bruce Cassidy reassured that Tuukka Rask still has No. 1 status, Anton Khudobin has helped the team win his last four starts. Rask was in goal during their 4-2 loss to Edmonton Sunday night and has a .890 even strength save percentage in his last four starts.

    The Lightning, meanwhile, are coming off a 2-0 shutout of the Buffalo Sabres Tuesday, which ended their longest losing streak of the season at a whole two games.

    Tampa had lost three of four games before last night’s win, which for them this season was considered a major slide. But those bumps in the road are sometimes a good thing for a team to experience.

    “Do you want adversity? Probably not,” Cooper said on Tuesday. “But is it a bad thing? Probably not either. You have to learn from these. So many things went right for us that some things came a little bit easy for us. I believe we earned those breaks, but it might be a little time now where things aren’t coming easy for us to reset and figure out why we got those breaks and get back to that.”

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    Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

    Bruins, Khudobin top Penguins for fourth straight win

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    Don’t look now but here come the Boston Bruins.

    Thanks to their 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday afternoon the Bruins were able to continue their climb up the Eastern Conference standings with their fourth consecutive win, all of them coming with backup goaltender Anton Khubodin in net.

    Friday’s win ended up being a little more difficult than it looked after 20 minutes.

    The Bruins stormed out of the gates and dominated the first period, scoring a pair of goals and limiting the Penguins to just four shots on goal. They held a 3-1 lead in the second period until the Penguins were able to strike back with a pair of goals, including a really flukey game-tying goal from Sidney Crosby that needed to go through two different replay reviews, to tie the game.

    But early in the third period David Pastrnak was able to sneak behind the Penguins’ defense on a breakaway and score what would prove to be the game-winning goal.

    With that win the Bruins are for the time being in the third playoff spot in the Atlantic Division.

    The Penguins, meanwhile, continue to look like a lost hockey team. Their loss on Friday was their ninth in their past 13 games and they have still just won just 11 of their first 24 games this season.

    Friday’s game was also the Penguins’ third consecutive loss.

    Defense continues to be an issue, as does depth scoring and 5-on-5 offense.

    Things will not get any easier for the Penguins on Saturday when they have to return home for a game against the NHL’s best team, the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    It will be the third time the Penguins have played the Lightning this season in the second half of a back-to-back situation. They lost the first two games by a combined score of 12-5.