The Boston Bruins are climbing up the Atlantic Division standings and can match their season-long winning streak when they host the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday afternoon in a matchup of Original Six rivals. Boston won its third in a row with a 2-1 shootout victory over visiting Winnipeg on Thursday to improve to 12-3-1 in its last 16.
The flu is sweeping through the Bruins’ locker room, but coach Bruce Cassidy lauded the ability of his players to persevere despite a short-handed lineup. “I think, clearly, experience is the best teacher. We went through it,“ Cassidy said after Thursday’s win. ”A lot of different things came up, so the adversity is second nature now. No one feels sorry for you. You have got to plod along.” The Red Wings posted impressive victories over Toronto and at the New York Islanders in the opener of a four-game road trip, but were denied a season-high third straight win with a 4-3 setback at Philadelphia on Wednesday. Detroit has lost six straight in Boston and dropped its third overall in the series with a 3-2 overtime defeat on Dec. 13.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, Sportsnet, FSN Detroit, NESN (Boston)
ABOUT THE RED WINGS (13-14-7): Despite his team’s inability to string together more than two straight wins, coach Jeff Blashill insists that Detroit is playing better than last season’s squad that barely avoided finishing in the division basement. “I know we’re poised to be able to go on a much better run than we did coming out of late December and January last year,” Blashill said. “I know that for a fact.” Luke Glendening was hurt in Wednesday’s loss, prompting the recall of forward Tyler Bertuzzi.
ABOUT THE BRUINS (18-10-5): Goaltender Tuukka Rask was among the players feeling under the weather Thursday, but it certainly didn’t look it as he turned aside 37 shots to improve to a healthy 7-0-1 over his last eight starts. Rask, who is 4-0-1 with in his last five starts, also turned aside three of four attempts in the shootout to earn his first victory in that format since November 2016. Defenseman Torey Krug scored the lone goal in regulation and had two assists against Detroit last week.
1. Bruins F David Pastrnak is scoreless in five games since netting his team-high 15th goal at Detroit.
2. Detroit’s power play is 5-for-11 over the past four games.
3. Boston D Charlie McAvoy, who scored the winner in Thursday’s shootout, is plus-11 in the past eight games.
PREDICTION: Bruins 3, Red Wings 2