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Boston Caps Off Road Trip With Chance to Jump Detroit in Division

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

DETROIT — The Bruins cap off their two game road trip on Wednesday night in Detroit, looking to pick up their fourth straight win.

Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. ET (NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub).

The Black & Gold began their trip with a 4-3 shootout win over the Maple Leafs in Toronto on Monday. The victory wasn’t necessarily the all-around game they would have liked to see for 60 minutes, but they got the result.

They’ll particularly look for their NHL-leading power play to produce or at least generate momentum, unlike they were able to do in Toronto.

The Bruins have won five straight games against Detroit, and a sixth on Wednesday night would move them into third place in the Atlantic Division standings and one point above the Wings. Boston enters the game at 23 points and a game in hand, with Detroit sitting at 24 points.

“It’s been a goal of ours to be in the playoff picture by Thanksgiving, and right now we’re sitting on the edge there,” said Krug. “It’s always about moving up and this is another team that we can leapfrog by getting a couple of points here tonight and we’re very focused on that.”

Wednesday’s game against the Red Wings marks the second of four meetings on the season for the two clubs. The Bruins earned a 3-1 win over the Wings at TD Garden on Nov. 14.

“We did play really well against them when we did beat them, and there’s no doubt that they’re a pretty good hockey club,” said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien. “They have a lot of experience and a lot of skill, so they’re in their home building and we know the consequences of tonight, what does in the standings, so no doubt I expect a real tough game tonight.”

The Bruins will have to bring the same game plan from that victory back in November.

“I thought we limited their speed through the neutral zone,” Krug said. “They’re a very talented group up front and their defense moved the puck well, so if we limit that speed, then they don’t have the time and space to be able to use their creativity and that’s part of the game plan. We know what they’re going to do — they’re a very skilled team and they’re deep, so it’s about limiting that.”

“I thought it was a close game,” said Detroit Head Coach Jeff Blashill. “There were moments in the game — there’s just those critical moments in games where it goes one way or the other. We had a power play at the end of the second, had an opportunity to score — it didn’t, and [the Bruins] come down and score. That’s the way the NHL is, so I think capitalizing at critical moments.”

Lineup Notes vs. Detroit

The Bruins did not hold a team pregame skate on Wednesday morning. A group of players did hit the ice, however. Joonas Kemppainen and Zach Trotman were both back on the ice after being given maintenance days on Tuesday, and are expected to be available for tonight’s game.

Tyler Randell, Frank Vatrano and Joe Morrow also skated, and could be the healthy scratches come Wednesday night.

Both Tuukka Rask and Jonas Gustavsson were on the ice going through drills. Though the Bruins didn’t hold a full skate, Gustavsson was the first goaltender off the ice, suggesting he may be the starting netminder against his former club.

Gustavsson Reflects

Gustavsson spent three seasons with Detroit prior to signing with the Bruins during training camp. He put up a 21-10-6 record playing for the Wings, with a 2.66 goals-against average and two shutouts.

He’s glad that the opportunity worked out with Boston.

“You’re trying to make the most of the preseason and get a lot of workouts in and take care of your body and all that, so I just tried to do that and obviously I didn’t have a contract until training camp, but I tried not to think about that,” Gustavsson reflected to local Detroit reporters. “I tried to be ready for whatever opportunity I was given and obviously I got the opportunity with Boston and I’m happy with that.”

Gustavsson has proved to be a reliable backup for Rask this season, posting a 4-1-0 record so far with a 2.20 goals-against average.

“That Monster’s been great for us,” smiled Krug, referencing the netminder’s nicknname. “It’s important to have a guy that you can go to in net and play with confidence in front of and he’s made some very timely saves for us and he’s won us a couple hockey games. The confidence is huge, especially for the D corps to be able to front of him and it’s nice to have him.”

High Marks for Ferraro

Landon Ferraro made his Bruins debut in Toronto, after being claimed off waivers from Detroit on Sunday (Nov. 22). He notched his first career NHL assist in his 18th NHL game. He played in a fourth line role with Max Talbot and Zac Rinaldo, and will likely be integrated more into the penalty kill.

“It’s a little weird — going out to play soccer and seeing people walking by and giving me their best wishes,” Ferraro smiled from the visiting team ocker room at Joe Louis Arena. “It’s weird, but it’s exciting. I’m happy to be on a team where I have a bit more of a chance and I can play a bit more and contribute.”

Ferraro was drafted by Detroit in the second round in 2009. He skated in 17 NHL games with Detroit, including 10 at the start of the 2015-16 season and played in 270 games with the AHL’s Grand Rapid Griffins, where he was coached by Blashill.

Landon Ferraro did tons for me as a coach,” said Blashill. “He came and worked hard for three and a half years — committed to everything we asked him to commit to, helped us win a championship in the American League. We knew the risk involved when we put him on waivers and certainly from an organization standpoint, you want to keep as many good players as you can and Landon’s a real good player and a real good person.”

“From a personal standpoint, I was happy for him to have the opportunity. I watched him play there the other night and I thought it was great for him.”

Krug Thankful

Michigan native Torey Krug was thankful to be back in Detroit around Thanksgiving and spend time with his family.  Following Tuesday's practice at The Joe, he was able to take his young nephew onto the ice.

“It’s perfect. You know, before Thanksgiving you always think about being with family and sharing what you’re thankful for,” said Krug. “And I’m very thankful for the time that I’m able to spend with them and go out to dinner the night before.”

He’s also thankful for the coach now behind the Wings’ bench, for giving him an opportunity years ago. Krug played for Blashill in the United States Hockey League, helping lead the team to a Clark Cup Championship in 2009.

“I owe a lot to Blash. He’s the one who kind of opened the door for me and took a chance on me and he fought for me to be on his team,” said Krug.

“Now with us both being at the level we’re at, we’re able to share a little bit more and I’m very grateful for that.”

Projected Lineup vs. Detroit 11/25

Matt Beleskey—David Krejci—Loui Eriksson
Brad Marchand—Patrice Bergeron—Jimmy Hayes
Ryan Spooner—Joonas Kemppainen—Brett Connolly
Zac Rinaldo—Max Talbot—Landon Ferraro

Zdeno Chara—Zach Trotman
Dennis Seidenberg—Colin Miller
Torey Krug—Adam McQuaid

Starter: Jonas Gustavsson //  Backup: Tuukka Rask

Projected Scratches: Frank Vatrano, Tyler Randell, Joe Morrow

Injured: David Pastrnak (foot, IR), Kevan Miller (upper body, IR)
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