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Bruins, Wings conclude series in Detroit

by Corey Masisak
BRUINS (31-17-7) at RED WINGS (33-16-6)


Last 10: Boston 6-4-0; Detroit 5-5-0.

Season series: The Red Wings won the first meeting 6-1 on Friday night. Detroit won the meeting between the two teams at Joe Louis Arena last season 2-0. Chris Osgood made 29 saves for the shutout.

Big story: How will the Bruins respond to getting blown out at home two nights ago when they travel to Joe Louis Arena for the return match in a home-and-home?

Team scope:

Bruins -- Boston had won four of five games, including a fight-filled 8-6 victory over rival Montreal, and the Bruins were feeling pretty good about things. Then they welcomed a smarting Detroit club to town and got run out of their own building. Offense hasn't been a problem of late, but the typically tight defense and sharp goaltending has gone missing.

The team's best line of late has included center Patrice Bergeron between veteran wing Mark Recchi and rookie Brad Marchand. That trio was a combined minus-9 against the Red Wings.

"They played their game," Bergeron told reporters after the loss to Detroit. "We weren't even close to playing half of what we can play."

Red Wings -- As the forward corps gets closer to be being back at full strength, the offense was eventually going to come around. The trip to Boston proved to be the spark the Red Wings needed. Pavel Datsyuk, Dan Cleary and Tomas Holmstrom -- all guys who missed time with injuries recently -- combined for 2 goals and 4 assists against the Bruins. Detroit had been held to 1 goal or fewer in 3 of the previous 4 games.

Who's hot -- Bruins rookie Brad Marchand is creeping into the fringes of the Calder Trophy discussion. He has 9 goals since Jan. 10 and is seventh among rookies with 29 points. Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg has averaged less than a point per game the past two seasons, but has 60 in 55 contests this year. His career high is 92 in 2007-08 and Zetterberg is on pace for 89 this campaign.

Injury report -- Boston will be without center Marc Savard, who is out for the season with a concussion. Detroit has been without center Mike Modano (wrist), defenseman Brad Stuart (broken jaw) and goalie Chris Osgood (hernia) for some time. Forward Valtteri Filppula joined the injury list with a sprained knee this week and is also out.

Stat pack -- Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom is the first player in League history at his position to score at least 10 goals in a season at the age of 40. He needs 15 points to match Ray Bourque's 59 in 2000-01 as the most in that category.

Lidstrom isn't the only old guy having a great season playing in this game. Recchi is the oldest player in the League at 42, and he has 10 goals and 37 points for the Bruins. Recchi is also one of only four players in NHL history to reach those totals at 42 or older. The others are Gordie Howe (twice), Mark Messier (twice) and Igor Larionov.

Puck drop -- Boston has been one of the top teams in the League at preventing goals, which makes the past two games pretty alarming. The Bruins have allowed 6 goals in each after they hadn't yielded more than 3 goals in two consecutive contests all season. Vezina Trophy favorite Tim Thomas should be in net for Boston. He's allowed 2 goals or less in 9 of his past 11 appearances. The other two games he yieded 5 and 6 goals, but won both anyway. How Boston's defense and Thomas rally after two suspect performances will be huge against a Detroit offense that might be primed for sustained success.

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