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Red Wings continue playoff push against Bruins

by Brian Hedger

BRUINS (52-17-6) AT RED WINGS (35-26-14)


Last 10: Boston 9-0-1; Detroit 6-3-1

Season series: The Detroit Red Wings have won two of the first three games against the Boston Bruins, most recently a 6-1 victory Nov. 27 at Joe Louis Arena. The Red Wings also won 3-2 on Oct. 14 at TD Garden, nine days after losing 4-1 in Boston.

Big story: The Red Wings (84 points) swept both ends of a back-to-back set this past weekend to move into the first Stanley Cup Playoffs wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Prior to those wins, they'd lost three in a row and were on the verge of being bumped from the second wild-card position by either the Washington Capitals or Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Bruins (110 points) are leading for the Presidents' Trophy after going 15-0-1 since a 4-2 loss to the Capitals on March.

Team Scope:

Bruins: After their season-high 12-game winning streak ended with a shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens, the Bruins have won three straight games, meaning they have points in their past 16 games. Boston has won nine straight road games and earned points in 16 straight contests away from TD Garden, both of which are franchise records.

Talk is turning toward resting some lineup regulars for the playoffs. Forwards Jarome Iginla, Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Loui Eriksson, and defenseman Zdeno Chara did not participate on an optional practice Tuesday and are candidates to get some time off soon. The Bruins also recalled forward Ryan Spooner on an emergency basis from Providence of the American Hockey League.

"It’s hard to watch games, and I just really enjoy playing the games," Iginla, who was named the NHL's First Star for March, told Jess Isner of "With the standings and where we’re at right now, I think it’s pretty cool, too, that we’re being able to play these games that mean stuff down the road or currently, whereas some teams that clinch, you can’t move up or whatever in the standings. It’s like all of our games may be meaningful, and I think that’s a good thing going into the playoffs."

Red Wings: They might have put a little distance between themselves and those chasing a wild-card spot, but the Red Wings can't afford to breathe easily if they want to secure their 23rd straight playoff appearance.

Helping the cause of late has been the return of injured regulars back into the lineup. Top-line center Pavel Datsyuk (knee) might return against Boston. After practicing Tuesday, he hopes to be a game-time decision.

"It’s great to see him out on the ice skating and being part of practices,” forward Daniel Alfredsson said, according to Bill Roose of “We feel that we’re playing pretty consistent hockey right now and getting a guy with his experience and his offensive abilities, among other things, will be a big boost for this team."

Who's hot: Bruins center Patrice Bergeron, the NHL's Second Star of the Week, extended his career-high goal streak to seven games by scoring during a 4-3 shootout victory Sunday against the Philadelphia Flyers. … Detroit forward Gustav Nyquist has scored a goal in eight of the past nine games and continues to carry the bulk of offensive load for the injury-strapped Red Wings.

Injury report: Bruins center Krejci is battling a sore throat. Boston is also without defensemen Dennis Seidenberg (knee) and Adam McQuaid (leg). ... Detroit will be without captain Henrik Zetterberg (back), center Stephen Weiss (hernia), defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (finger fracture), forward Daniel Cleary (knee) and forward Mikael Samuelsson (shoulder). Datsyuk (knee) could be a game-time decision, though coach Mike Babcock said a more likely return date is Friday night against the Buffalo Sabres.

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