NHL on NBCSN: Big playoff implications for Red Wings, Bruins

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NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign tonight as the Detroit Red Wings host the Boston Bruins at Joe Louis Arena, starting at 7:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game and pre-show online.

It probably still feels weird to some fans of each team, but the bottom line is that neither the Detroit Red Wings nor the Boston Bruins can take anything for granted this deep into the season.

Yes, each team is currently located in a playoff position, yet tonight’s game is significant for both teams.

Detroit holds the Atlantic Division’s third spot with 93 standings points and six games remaining, but Boston isn’t that far behind with 91 points and five games left. The Bruins can’t just look up, either, as they must hold off the Ottawa Senators (88 points, six games remaining) and maybe the Florida Panthers (85 points with five more games).

In the bigger picture, both teams have experienced a mixed bag of results. More recently, it seems like Boston is rising to the occasion, though.

The Red Wings have dropped two in a row, four of five and six of seven. You might as well call March one long struggle; since March 6, they’ve gone 4-8-2.

The Bruins can’t get too cocky considering the fact that they’re only a week removed from a six-game skid, yet things have been looking up lately. Boston is on a three-game winning streak with an especially huge win against the Panthers on Tuesday.

Naturally, Boston cannot totally relax, as the Bruins finish the season with four out of five games on the road.

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One other factor that comes up in the Bruins’ favor is their record against the Red Wings so far this season. After losing their first meeting 2-1, the Bruins have taken the last three games against Detroit. If Boston ends up knocking the Red Wings into the wild card, the two teams’ head-to-head matches may just be the determining factor.

Of course, if we’ve learned anything from watching these two flawed-yet-talented teams, it’s that it is dangerous to assume just about anything.

Then again, here’s one fairly safe claim: there’s plenty on the line on NBCSN tonight.