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Ferraro back in black

by Dana Wakiji / Detroit Red Wings
Wings coach Jeff Blashill likes the pairing of Jonathan Ericsson with Danny DeKeyser. (Photo by Getty Images)

DETROIT -- Landon Ferraro was back at Joe Louis Arena Tuesday, only this time he was skating in black and gold as a member of the Boston Bruins.

The Bruins claimed Ferraro on waivers Sunday and one of the first people Ferraro heard from was Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill.

"I talked to Blash before and he called me probably 35 minutes after I got picked up," Ferraro said. "Obviously he would have rather me stayed here but at the same time, he was real happy for me. He told me that. I've had three and half good years with him and I just thanked him as well. He's helped me come a long way and get my career going the right way whereas before he came, I didn't really know what I was going to be and how I was going to make it. He was a guy that really helped me figure out what I needed to do."

Ferraro played with the Bruins in their shootout win Monday night in Toronto and had an assist for his first point of the season.

"That was a quick turnaround," Niklas Kronwall said. "I’m happy for him that he gets a chance to play in the NHL. Saw he got an assist in the last game, so I was happy for him."

Ray Ferraro, Landon's father, was there when his son sprained his knee Nov. 6 in Toronto, and he was there again for the Bruins' game in Toronto.

"Can't get away from him," Ferraro joked.

Ray Ferraro got to interview his own son during the game.

"At the time, it was just trying not to think about it too much and just give normal answers and kind of get out of there as quick as I could," Ferraro said. "But looking back on it and watching the video, seeing a couple pictures that were taken, that's something that's pretty cool for our family. To be able to keep that, that will be something that I'll cherish for a long time for sure."

Ferraro said since the Wings had a tough lineup to crack and the Bruins have had a few injuries, he appreciated the opportunity.

"The Wings are so deep right now," Ferraro said. "It was between me or Andy (Joakim Andersson) or Jurcs (Tomas Jurco), whatever they were going to do. They thought that was the best move. At the same time, you look and they've got Double-A (Andreas Athanasiou), (Anthony) Mantha who's coming back, they have (Tyler) Bertuzzi, they have a ton of guys who are ready to go. It's so deep. I think this is a good fit for me, I'm excited and last night was a lot of fun to get into a game again and get moving."

But it is going to be odd playing against the team whose sweater he was wearing as recently as last Saturday morning.

"I think it's going to be weird regardless," Ferraro said. "I've known some of these guys for 5-6 years, so it was going to be weird. But two or three days after is a little quicker than I thought it was probably going to happen, but at the same time, it's a big game for us and we have to make sure we have these points to try and move ahead and get our season rolling here."

WINGS AND BRUINS PRETTY EVEN SO FAR: The Wings and Bruins are pretty similar these days.

The Wings are third in the Atlantic Division with 24 points, just one point ahead of the Bruins, who have played one less game.

Both teams have played better on the road so far.

The Wings are 5-5-1 at home and 6-3-1 on the road while the Bruins are 4-6-1 at home and 7-2-0 on the road.

The Wings have won two in a row while the Bruins are on a three-game winning streak.

On Nov. 14, the Wings lost in Boston, 3-1, one night after losing to the San Jose Sharks at home.

"We went in there and lost a game that there were times when I thought we could have made it a different game, but we didn’t," Blashill said. "They’re a good hockey team. I watch games every night, every night it seems like teams are extraordinarily close. The difference is so minimal ever where records are separated there isn’t much separation in each particular game.

"They‘re a really good team and we’re trying to become a really good team, should be a good matchup. They’re well coached, they make it hard to get to their net, they’ve been a stretch here where they’ve played pretty good hockey."

One area where the Bruins have been better is scoring. They have 65 goals in 20 games while the Wings have scored just 49 in 21 games.

DeKEYSER OK: Danny DeKeyser is fighting the puck in a different way these days.

In the third period of Friday night's win over the Los Angeles Kings, DeKeyser took a puck to the face when Dustin Brown's shot was deflected.

DeKeyser was able to return to the game.

Towards the end of Tuesday's practice at Joe Louis Arena, a similar thing happened.

During a 2-on-1 drill, the puck deflected up and hit DeKeyser in the face. He immediately left the ice.

"I think he just got a cut. I think he’s going to get stitches, so he should be fine," Blashill said.

Aside from annoying deflections, DeKeyser is handling the puck just fine.

He's third after Kronwall and Mike Green in ice time at 20:40 and there's good reason for that.

Blashill singled DeKeyser out for his play Saturday in the overtime win in St. Louis.

"I thought he did an exceptional job of breaking the puck out of our zone," Blashill said. "I think there were three or four times where he wheeled the net with the puck, shook a forechecker off, made a pass. That is what really has separated himself. When he does that he’s an elite defenseman in the league. He’s always, I think, consistent as a pretty good defender. I think he always has good gaps, he’s got a good defensive stick.

"The thing that I saw from the time that he was at Western to the time in the National Hockey League is his ability to skate the puck out of the zone and then make outlet passes is exceptional at times. I thought it was the best he’s been all year on Saturday."

Blashill likes the pairing of DeKeyser with Jonathan Ericsson.

"I think Johnnie has played very well in that role with him as well," Blashill said. "They’re both real, real big long guys who skate really well. So when they’re gapped up and they’re skating well they’re a hard group to play against, and they can play against anybody. They can play against fast players, they can play against big, strong guys, so I think it’s a real good matchup pair."

PLAN FOR JURCO: Tomas Jurco, currently with the Grand Rapids (AHL) Griffins on a conditioning stint, will likely remain there for a few more games.

"I spoke to him yesterday and just said it's obviously day to day but right now, the plan is for him to remain for the three games and then come back," Blashill said. "Injuries can play a role in that, things like that, but that's the plan right now."

Jurco, the AHL Player of the Week for last week, has three goals and four assists in three games and is plus-7.

WHO'S IN NET: Blashill said Petr Mrazek will start Wednesday night against Boston.

Mrazek is 6-4-1 with a 2.15 goals-against average and .935 save percentage.

Blashill said he did not anticipate any other lineup changes.

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