The NHL-leading Boston Bruins (49-9-5) will be keen to bounce back from a rare TD Garden defeat versus Edmonton Oilers when they face Detroit Red Wings home and away this weekend.
Boston blew a two-goal lead in the loss to Edmonton which ended a ten-game winning streak and which was just their third defeat in regulation time at TD Garden (26-3-3) this season.
Following six seasons out of the playoffs, Detroit (29-26-9) have got themselves back into contention this season, but a recent six-game losing streak saw them lose ground in the race for a Wild Card spot from the Eastern Conference.
45/4 to reach the playoffs, the Red Wings are seven points from the second Wild Card spot, but also have four teams above them vying for the position as well.
|What||Detroit Red Wings v Boston Bruins|
|Where||Saturday: TD Garden, Boston|
Sunday: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit
|When||17:00, Saturday 11th March|
17:30, Sunday 12th March
|How to watch||bet365 Sports Live Streaming|
The Bruins have already beaten several historical regular season records, including becoming the quickest team to reach 100 points.
Boston have the chance to become the fastest team to reach 50 wins against the Red Wings, with Saturday’s fixture being their 64th game. The record is 66 games, held by the 1995/96 Red Wings and the 2018/19 Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Bruins need 13 wins from their remaining 19 games to beat the Wings' and Lightning’s all-time record of 62 wins in a regular season.
The 1976/77 Montreal Canadiens hold the NHL record for most points (132) and Boston need 29 from the remaining 38 available to surpass them.
While the Red Wings have made hay so far this season, there is still much room for improvement.
Detroit average 2.97 goals per game which ranks 22nd in the league and their average goals against of 3.25 is 20th. Their special teams could also be better with the powerplay currently at 20.2% (20th) and their penalty kill on 77.5% (19th).
The Red Wings are 16-12-4 at home and 13-14-5 on the road.
The same can’t be said for the Bruins, whose key stats are all among the NHL’s best.
Boston average 3.76 goals per game (2nd), concede a league best 2.10 on average per game, have the best penalty kill at 86.6 per cent and their powerplay is a more than respectable 23.0 per cent (9th).
They have the best home record and are second behind New Jersey Devils for wins on the road (23-6-2).
NHL: Patrick Kane's remarkable Chicago Blackhawks career ends as Rangers swoop
NHL Trade Deadline review: Teams land major moves to boost title chances
As part of a record 14-game home winning run to begin the season, Boston beat the Red Wings 5-1 in late October and scored three times on the powerplay.
Detroit were blanked on five powerplay opportunities and so will need to do their best to stay out of the penalty box, and better take their chances if they want to take anything from the back-to-back meetings.
With Taylor Hall placed on long-term injured reserve, the Bruins made a splash in the trade window to acquire 28-year-old Tyler Bertuzzi and he will come face-to-face with his former employers for the first time since the move.
Detroit received Boston's first-round pick in 2024, which is top-10 protected, and a fourth-round pick in 2025 for the popular winger and they also retained 50 per cent of his salary on a contract which runs out at the end of the season.
Bertuzzi was selected in the second round (58th overall) in the 2013 NHL draft and went on to play 305 times for the Red Wings and amass 202 points (88 goals, 114 assists).
On his debut for Boston, Bertuzzi grabbed an assist and brought a physical edge to the side which he is excited to show in the playoffs, something he never had opportunity to do in Detroit.
Bertuzzi was moved to Boston once it became clear that he had no interest in extending his stay with Detroit after this season.
The Red Wings were comfortable to make the move, though, after several younger players seized larger roles this season, which will now become bigger.
These include Michael Rasmussen (10 goals, 19 assists in 56 games), Jonatan Berggren (12 goals, 10 assists in 49 games) and Joe Veleno (seven goals, nine assists in 63 games).
That trio have provided adequate scoring depth to Dylan Larkin, David Perron, Dominik Kubalik and Lucas Raymond, but their threat isn’t yet anything like the Bruins possess.
David Pastrnak leads Boston with 86 points (46 goals, 41 assists in 64 games) which is 26 points more and 22 goals better than Detroit’s best of Larkin (60 points; 24 goals, 36 assists).
The Bruins have enjoyed contribution up and down their line-up all season long, including from defence with Charlie McAvoy (43 points) and Hampus Lindholm (41 points) each among seven Boston players with more than 40 points.
In comparison, the Red Wings have just two in Larkin and Perron and the depth of talent makes the Bruins 7/2 to lift the Stanley Cup, which would be their first time since 2011.