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Bruins host Red Wings in battle of new division rivals

by Mike Battaglino /

RED WINGS (2-0-0) at BRUINS (1-0-0)


Season series: The Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins did not play each other last season. Detroit has won four in a row dating to 2009-10, with the most recent a 3-2 shootout victory on Nov. 25, 2011.

Big story: These Original Six teams are now division rivals in the new Atlantic. Detroit won the Central eight straight seasons from 2001-09; it hasn't gone three consecutive seasons without a division title since 1985-87. Boston won the Northeast two seasons in a row, and three out of four, before finishing second behind the Montreal Canadiens by one point last season.

Team Scope:

Red Wings: Detroit will play its third game in four nights after a 3-2 overtime win at the Carolina Hurricanes, which they trailed 2-1 with 17 seconds left. Henrik Zetterberg tied it before Stephen Weiss scored his first with the Red Wings in OT.

"This gives us a big boost of energy going into Boston tomorrow night against a good hockey club," Weiss told Fox Sports Detroit. "We're going to have to be ready for them."

Detroit was 7-2-2 in the second of back-to-backs last season playing only in the Western Conference.

"Just get started on time," coach Mike Babcock said. "Any time you're playing back to back that first 10 minutes is always tough."

Babcock, coach of the Canadian Olympic team for which Bruins coach Claude Julien is an assistant, knows what's waiting for the Red Wings.

"They'll be excited, they're a good team," Babcock said. "They don't give you much space there, and they're well-coached, good depth. So it'll be a lot of fun for us."

Bruins: Julien realizes the test Detroit presents as a division rival.

"I think they're an elite team, they always have been," he told the team's website. "... They're an experienced team, they're a smart team, they play a good, smart game, and that will certainly bring an element of an even bigger challenge for all of the teams in our conference right now."

Boston has seven NHL-quality defensemen competing for six spots. Matt Bartkowski was the odd man out as a scratch in the season-opening 3-1 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday. He is expected to rotate with Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug.

"We all help each other out, it's not like we're trying to stab each other in the back here," Bartkowski told Bruins Beat. "We like to see each other do well. So once you're in, play well, help the team out. And if you're not in, just be a good teammate."

Who's hot: Red Wings forward Johan Franzen had two assists Friday. Defenseman Niklas Kronwall has an assist in each game. … The Bruins' penalty kill had two shorthanded goals in Boston's season-opening 3-1 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning (Chris Kelly, Patrice Bergeron).

Injury report: Red Wings forwards Patrick Eaves (ankle), Darren Helm (groin) and Jordin Tootoo (shoulder) are out. ... Bruins forward Carl Soderberg (ankle) has been out since Sept. 27 but is on track to skate soon.

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