And as the B's blueline gets healthier, Adam McQuaid could be making his return.
"[Dennis] Seidenberg is not ready yet but [Adam McQuaid] we’ll make a decision on after warm-up," Head Coach Claude Julien said following the team's morning skate.
McQuaid has missed eight straight games with a lower-body injury. It's the first time he's ever experienced this type of injury, so he's been taking a day-by-day approach, being cautious with his recovery.
Seidenberg, meanwhile, has now skated for three straight days. He kept in controlled during the team's practice back in Boston before traveling to Detroit, measuring his progress, and has been happy with his improvement.
"It’s always a tough call when your team is winning and playing fairly well," Julien has said, of the decisions on defense, once healthy. "So it’s going to be a tough decision when the time comes, no doubt."
It may sound like a broken record by now, but we've seen the depth on the back end prove steady with both of the blueliners out, though McQuaid and Seidenberg each bring their own unique elements to the Spoked-B.
"There’s no doubt it makes a coach feel a lot more confident and comfortable when it comes to [depth]," said Julien. "As you can see, we called up [Kevan] Miller and he’s been just as good as you can ask from a player like that."
"As a coach, you feel that comfort level that if something happened, it’s not, ‘Oh God, now I have to start cutting down my lines or I have to start playing players more.’ It’s just about filling that hole with some players that are very capable of taking over those spots."
One could argue that the institutional depth of the Black & Gold right now is the deepest Julien has had as head coach.
"You want to establish an organization that’s going to be competitive every year and in order to do that, you have to have some depth," he said, before speaking about the approach from General Manager Peter Chiarelli and the B's brass to make that happen.
"They’ve done a great job of keeping the cupboard full in that way; in making sure that we have some players that can come in."
While the Bruins' blueline is on the mend, the Red Wings have faced injury troubles, especially up front.
On Wednesday night, they'll be without Pavel Datsyuk (head), Todd Bertuzzi (upper-body) and defenseman Danny DeKeyser.
"Obviously injuries are tough. I think the biggest thing about injuries is that they’re going to happen; everybody knows that," said Detroit blueliner Brendan Smith, older brother of B's winger Reilly.
"It opens the door for a young guy, a rookie guy to jump in and show what they’ve got and I think we have a great organization to do that," he added, unconsciously making a parallel to what has made Boston and Detroit two of the elite teams in the league.
"You just have to keep battling through them."
Detroit has had an up-and-down November, going through a stretch of seven straight losses from Nov. 4-19, with five of them coming in overtime or a shootout.
"We have gone through this little situation here where we’ve been tying games and not being able to pull them out in shootouts or in overtime, I guess the biggest thing we can take out of that is we’re still getting a point," said Smith.
"That’s big, but at the same time we want to be winning. I think we just have to stay with the system, and the system will take care of us."
"I don’t think you ever take those guys lightly," said Julien. "They’ve always been a good competitive team and it’s just a matter of time before they start winning their fair share of games. They always play us well."
"They’ve got enough of a reputation that we know better than to go out there and assume that because they’ve got some injuries, that it’s going to be an easy night for us."
Homecoming for Torey
Torey Krug played in the Spoked-B in 'The Joe' during the preseason (and even hitched a ride on the Zamboni), but Wednesday night will be his first time in regular season action.
"It’s great, it’s a lot of fun," said the former Michigan State Spartan. "We came in preseason a little bit different. Coming in now with our full squad playing their full team, it’s going to be a lot of fun. Especially coming in on Thanksgiving, it’s a good time to play in front of friends and family.
"And hopefully, the right team comes out on top."
Krug played many games in the confines of Joe Louis Arena, whether playing for Belle Tire as a young player in the minors, or as a Spartan.
"As a minor hockey player, you play some games in here and at Michigan State I probably played close to 10 games here. So it helps, it’s a lot of fun playing in this building and it’s going to be cool to look up in the stands and see my family."
"At Michigan State we always had a good weekend against Minnesota and Wisconsin; it was always a fun crowd, a family crowd, a family atmosphere. Just a lot of fun; go home for the day and have dinner and then you get right back to the rink and go to work."
The young blueliner could be slated for another big night in front of a hometown crowd, coming off of his overtime heroics in the Bruins 4-3 win on Monday at TD Garden.
"Well, he didn’t learn to score [like that] from me, I can tell you that much," Julien joked, when asked about Krug's seven goals to start the season. "But he does have a natural knack of jumping into holes. He’s an offensive defenseman that seems to know when to jump into plays and when to go into and how to find those holes and those gaps, like he did last game on that winning goal."
Projected Boston Lineup
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Jarome Iginla
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Loui Eriksson
Carl Soderberg-Chris Kelly-Reilly Smith
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
*Chara-Hamilton, Bartkowski-Boychuk, Krug-Miller were the pairings during pregame skate rushes, along with Seidenberg-McQuaid. McQuaid is a game-time decision.
Starter: Tuukka Rask
Backup: Chad Johnson
Projected Detroit Lineup
Johan Franzen-Henrik Zetterberg-Gustav Nyquist
Justin Abdelkader-Darren Helm-Daniel Aldfredsson
Daniel Cleary-Stephen Weiss-Mikael Samuelsson
Drew Miller-Joakim Andersson-Tomas Tartar
Niklas Kronwall-Jonathan Ericsson
Kyle Quincey-Brendan Smith
Brian Lashoff-Jakub Kindl
Starter: Jonas Gustavsson
Backup: Jimmy Howard