NHL on NBCSN: Last-place Red Wings look to play spoiler against Bruins

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NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2016-17 campaign tonight when the Boston Bruins host the Detroit Red Wings at 8:00 p.m. ET. If you want to watch the game online, you can do so here.

For the first time in a long time, it looks like the Detroit Red Wings will be on the outside of the playoff picture. Not only will they miss the playoffs this season, but they’ll also enter tonight’s game in last place in the Eastern Conference.

The Wings were down 3-0 to the Maple Leafs early in the second period of last night’s game and although they got two goals from Gustav Nyquist, they weren’t able to get complete the comeback. The defeat at the hands of Toronto was their third in a row and their seventh in their last 10 games.

“This team has shown lots of character all year in terms of staying with it and continuing to grind,” coach Jeff Blashill said after the loss to Toronto, per the Detroit Free Press. “We need more out of more people. We need a little more out of more people, that’s as simple as it comes – production and competitiveness.

“Zetterberg’s line was our best line. We need other lines to step up and be the best line. We need to individually pick up our games a little bit.”

The poor string of results aren’t exactly shocking. Detroit was clearly a seller at last week’s trade deadline, as they shipped veterans Brendan Smith, Thomas Vanek and Steve Ott out of town. So don’t be surprised if the continue to falter down the stretch.

With the way their roster is constructed, don’t be surprised if this turns out to be a multi-year absence from the post-season for the Red Wings.

Speaking of multi-year absences from the playoffs, it looked like the Bruins were headed for a third straight season outside the postseason, but they’ve turned things around in a hurry.

Thanks to a coaching change that saw them go from Claude Julien to Bruce Cassidy, the Bruins have managed to get themselves back in prime playoff position.

Boston’s 7-3-0 in their last 10 contests and it’s that kind of run that has propelled them back into one of the top three spots in the Atlantic Division.

They enter tonight’s game in third place in the division. They trail Ottawa, who they lost to on Monday night, by four points (Sens have two games in hand) and they trail Montreal by 10 points, but they’ve played two games less than their rivals.

After their loss to the Sens, the Bruins were stuck in Ottawa because of a plane delay, so Cassidy decided to ease up on his players by keeping them off the ice yesterday.

“We’ve had a pretty intense schedule lately,” said Cassidy, per the Boston Herald. “We got in late last night and I thought it would be better to get some stretching and some off-ice workouts and get the blood flowing.

“Hopefully we’ll be energized (on Wednesday).”

As meaningless as this game might be for the Red Wings, it’s the exact opposite for the Bruins. Boston needs to keep pace with the teams their chasing and they need to stay ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are two points behind with a game in hand.