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Boston Looks to Kick-Start Offense in Detroit

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

DETROIT - The Bruins hit the ice for a pregame skate on Wednesday morning at Joe Louis Arena, prior to facing the Red Wings for the second time in the past week.

Game time is set for 8:00 p.m. ET in Detroit (NBCSN, 98.5 The Sports Hub).

The Bruins come in looking to build off a strong showing against Colorado despite the last second loss. They hope to kick-start their three game road trip with a much needed two points against Detroit in Game No. 5 on the season.

"It's more of a 'need' thing now. We got better last game and we need to build on it," said Dougie Hamilton.

The Wings, meanwhile, sit at 1-1-0 with their only win coming over the Bruins last Wednesday in their home opener. They lost 3-2 to Anaheim in the final 24 seconds on Saturday.

"You don't get any moral victories in this league, obviously," said Detroit Head Coach Mike Babcock. "Both Boston and us have both lost right in the last second there recently. Both teams really need wins. Should be fun."

Boston is in desperate need of goals, having only scored four through their first five games. As a result, Tuesday's practice heavily emphasized crashing the net and finding seams to get more pucks on goal. The talk around the locker room has been centered around scoring goals from the "dirty" areas.

"We've got to start scoring ugly goals," said Reilly Smith, who has one of Boston's goals this season. "What we've been doing hasn't been working so we've got to switch it up a bit - you're not going to win scoring one goal a game, so that's probably the biggest aspect we've got to focus on right now."

"Well, we've got to find a way right?" Head Coach Claude Julien said. "And in the past, we've been a team that's capable of scoring with the same players, so right now, I think it's a matter of getting our confidence, getting our nose a little more dirty and the confidence of scoring goals will follow after that."

"But you've got to start somewhere and that's a good place to start."

The Bruins' lineup looks to be the same as Monday's game against the Avs, with one exception: the addition of recently signed forward Simon Gagne.

After signing a one-year deal, Gagne is expected to play in his 800th NHL game in Detroit, and his first game since April 27, 2013.

"I'll try to keep it simple, short the first couple of shifts, and we'll go from there," said Gagne. "I feel pretty good. A little different this morning, that's for sure, maybe a little more nervous coming to the game, but it's something that I was expecting and that's something you want to feel before your first game."

"It's the first game in a long time, but at the same time, it's No. 800, so it's special."

Gagne also plans to honor the time-honored tradition of writing an amount on the board that he'll pay if the Bruins get a win. Players often do it when playing against former teams, in their hometowns, prior to milestones, or sometimes, just because.

"Definitely I'll put something on the board for the boys to get them going tonight, that's for sure," Gagne smiled.

"But it's special, you know. Not having a chance to play last year, sitting at home, watching games on TV was difficult and now to be back after almost a year and a half, it will mean a lot to me and my family, and it was a big challenge in front of me when I decided to get back at it in April, working out back home.

"It was a long road, but now it's finally here and I'm looking forward to that special game tonight."

Playing With Urgency

It may only be the fifth game in a young season, but the Bruins aren't taking it lightly.

"I think you have to be desperate. If not, you're just going to keep on rolling over in the wrong direction," said Smith. "So we've got to turn it around now, because points at the start of the year, they're pretty crucial."

Playing with desperation, the Bruins are hoping they can start the road trip through Detroit, Montreal and Buffalo on a strong note.

"I think there's always urgency. There should always be urgency in your team, whether you're winning or losing," Julien stressed. "I think the parody that we always talk about in the League creates that."

"That's what this League is like now - everybody wants to get off to a good start, everybody wants to position themselves into a playoff spot and those 82 games that seem like lots of games are all important games."

"So the urgency is there tonight, just like it should be every other night, but obviously a little added incentive in knowing that we want to get ourselves in the winning column."

"All you have to do is look at the standings," said Babcock, mirroring Julien's approach. "As soon as you're below the [playoffs] line, you're not in a good spot, and we're below the line."

Below is the Bruins' projected lineup for Wednesday night in Detroit, based on the first line rushes and defensive pairings during pregame skate.

Projected Lineup vs. Detroit 10/15

Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Seth Griffith
Brad Marchand
- Patrice Bergeron - Reilly Smith
Chris Kelly
- Carl Soderberg - Loui Eriksson
Simon Gagne
- Ryan Spooner - Daniel Paille*

Zdeno Chara - Dougie Hamilton
Dennis Seidenberg
- Adam McQuaid
Torey Krug
- Kevan Miller

Starting Goalie: Tuukka Rask // Backup: Niklas Svedberg

Scratches: Matt Bartkowski, Matt Fraser, Gregory Campbell** (core, on Non-Roster IR)

*Paille skated on his off wing during line rushes, with Gagne on the left. Both are left shots. Paille said they swapped wings in morning skate just to get a different feel. I wouldn't be surprised to see Gagne back on the right come Wednesday night.

**Campbell continues to skate with the group, and hopped into a few line rushes in Spooner's spot during pregame skate, though he's not yet ready to play.

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