The Boston Bruins are trying to hold onto a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Detroit Red Wings are trying to get to the playoffs for the 26th consecutive season. One team will come two points closer to its objective when the Original Six rivals play in the Wednesday Night Rivalry game (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports, NHL.TV).
The Bruins (23-19-5) enter the game second in the Atlantic Division, though they've alternated wins and losses in their past six games and are coming off a 4-0 home loss to the New York Islanders on Monday. The Red Wings (19-19-6) are four points out of a playoff spot but are coming off back-to-back home wins against the Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens.
With a lot on the line for each team, here are 5 reasons to tune in:
Rebound for Rask
Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask is headed for the 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Game but not because of his play Monday. He was lifted after allowing three second-period goals on 12 shots. Despite that, Rask is 22-10-3 with a 2.03 goals-against average, .923 save percentage and five shutouts, including a 1-0 victory at Joe Louis Arena on Oct. 29. Rask hasn't lost more than two games in a row all season. There's no reason to think he won't bounce back with a Grade-A performance.
Video: BOS@DET: Rask kicks out pad to stone Tatar
Fast start for Coreau
Red Wings goalie Jared Coreau got the call to the NHL after Jimmy Howard sustained a knee injury and the 25-year-old has more than held his own. He's won his past three decisions and is coming of his second NHL shutout, a 1-0 victory against the Canadiens on Monday. Coreau has all five of the Red Wings' victories since Dec. 17. He's earned the confidence of his teammates and coach Jeff Blashill by staying calm and being technically sound; he's also coming off back-to-back wins against two of the League's best teams, the Penguins and the Canadiens. He's started seven of the Red Wings' past 11 games and there's no reason to believe he won't start against Boston.
Video: MTL@DET: Coreau shuts his pads to deny Galchenyuk
Boston's top line is tops
The line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak are the League's best at driving possession while playing 5-on-5. Marchand is second in the NHL and first among forwards at plus-276 shot attempts (Boston defenseman Torey Krug is No. 1 at plus-290). Bergeron is third in the League at plus-259, followed by Pastrnak (plus-211). No one else in the League is better than plus-181. Expect the puck to be in the Detroit zone a lot when this unit is on the ice.
Keeping the streak alive
The Red Wings' run of 25 consecutive playoff appearances is the longest active streak in the NHL (the Penguins are next with 10). It's also tied with the St. Louis Blues for the third-longest in NHL history. Though the Red Wings are near the bottom of the Eastern Conference, they are close enough to second and third place in the Atlantic Division that getting hot for a couple of weeks could enable them to jump most, if not all, of the teams ahead of them. Defeating the Bruins, one of those teams, would be a good start.
Last trip to The Joe
The Bruins are playing their final game at Joe Louis Arena before the Red Wings move into Little Caesars Arena next season. Though the longtime rivals have been playing since 1926, the past few seasons have belonged to the Bruins. They have won eight of their past nine games against the Red Wings, including four of the past five at Joe Louis Arena. In all the Bruins are 20-16-3-1 in Detroit since the Red Wings moved from Olympia Stadium during the 1979-80 season.