DETROIT -- The Boston Bruins are playing the second game of a back-to-back Thursday, while the Detroit Red Wings are beginning their season.
Boston is coming off a 2-1 win against the Philadelphia Flyers in Boston on Wednesday, when Chris Kelly scored with 1:51 left to break a 1-1 tie.
The Bruins held an optional morning skate on Thursday. Most players didn't skate and were not available to the media.
Boston coach Claude Julien isn't concerned about the effects of two games in two nights on his team.
"We don't make excuses. It's the reality of the schedule," Julien said. "Just find a way to go out and play. Our guys are in great shape."
The Bruins eliminated the Red Wings in five games in the Eastern Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season.
"They haven't changed much of their team, so we know what they're all about," Detroit defenseman Jonathan Ericsson said. "We should know what we'll get from them."
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock went more in depth.
"I think the Bruins play right," Babcock said. "I watch them play, I like how they play. They're organized. They got good players, they play hard. Philly is playing [Wednesday] night what they probably think is a pretty good game. Good teams always find a way to way to win the game, they win it 2-1 and don't even think anything about it. That's what they do every night. That's what good teams do, find a way to win games."
Boston defenseman Torey Krug is from the Detroit suburb of Livonia and played college hockey at Michigan State. He grew up watching the Red Wings play at Joe Louis Arena and played a few games there himself as a youth player and with Michigan State.
Krug is still thrilled to play at the arena, even after playing a few NHL games there.
"Very excited. I love this building. It brings back great memories," he said. "… again, I'm just excited."
Krug also observed how Detroit, which has made the playoffs 23 consecutive seasons, has changed with an infusion of young players in the past couple of years.
"It's different from when I was going to games and they were winning a lot and had a real experienced team," he said. "But now they've got a lot of young players and they've got a lot of speed."
Another young Red Wings player will make his NHL debut Thursday night. Forward Andrej Nestrasil got a roster spot because Pavel Datsyuk is on the injured list with a separated right shoulder and is expected to miss the first two weeks of the regular season.
"I'm glad I found myself in the lineup [Thursday] morning," Nestrasil said. "It's exciting. I'm looking forward to it. We'll see how it goes."
"It's exciting for him would be the first thing, anytime you get to play in the National Hockey League … I thought [Nestrasil] played well [in preseason games]," Babcock said. "We're in a situation without Pavel that we need another body. He played well and he earned his right to start [Thursday]."
Here are the projected lineups:
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Reilly Smith
Chris Kelly - Carl Soderberg - Loui Eriksson
Milan Lucic - Ryan Spooner - Matt Fraser
Daniel Paille - Craig Cunningham - Bobby Robins
Zdeno Chara - Dougie Hamilton
Dennis Seidenberg - Adam McQuaid
Torey Krug - Kevan Miller
Scratches: Matt Bartkowski, Brian Ferlin
Injured: David Krejci (undisclosed), Gregory Campbell (core)
Justin Abdelkader - Henrik Zetterberg - Johan Franzen
Tomas Tatar - Riley Sheahan - Tomas Jurco
Gustav Nyquist - Darren Helm - Andrej Nestrasil
Joakim Andersson - Luke Glendening - Drew Miller
Niklas Kronwall - Jonathan Ericsson
Danny DeKeyser - Brendan Smith
Kyle Quincey - Jakub Kindl
Scratched: Stephen Weiss, Daniel Cleary, Brian Lashoff
Injured: Pavel Datsyuk (shoulder)
Status report: Boston right wing Reilly Smith and Detroit defenseman Brendan Smith are brothers. … Bruins coach Claude Julien played junior with the Windsor Spitfires for three seasons from 1978-79 to 1980-81. Windsor is across the Detroit River from Detroit.
Who's hot: Bruins center Carl Soderberg had two assists in the win against Philadelphia on Wednesday.