Boston Bruins Gameday 64: Don’t Let The Wings Take flight

BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 23: Niklas Kronwall
BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 23: Niklas Kronwall /

The wounded Boston Bruins aim to extend their home win streak to five games by taking the air out of the Detroit Red Wings.

The Bruins were dealt another devastating blow this morning when it was determined that Charlie McAvoy will miss at least 4 weeks with a sprained MCL. McAvoy has been their best defenseman this season and a work horse averaging 22:07 time on ice, which is second on the team to his defense partner, Zdeno Chara. McAvoy has also notched 32 points this season in 59 games (7 goals, 25 assists). He should still receive strong consideration for the Calder Trophy awarded to the best rookie in the NHL.

This is the second blow to the Bruins in as many weeks. Last week the team learned that their most important player and leading goal scorer, Patrice Bergeron, would be sidelined for at least two weeks with a fractured foot. However, the Bruins dug deep to pull out three wins without Bergeron. As encouraging as the past three games have been, a team can only take so much bending before it breaks. Get well soon, Bergy.

Just in case the Bruins don’t have enough adversity to overcome, Tuukka Rask suffered a lower body injury and was a late scratch for Saturday’s game against Montreal. Rask skated today, but won’t be starting in net tonight against the Red Wings. Fingers crossed Rask will be back in the pipes against Philly on Thursday.

Hopefully Bruce Cassidy can keep pulling the right strings to navigate these rough waters and the new faces will continue their inspired play to help the Bs weather the storm of injuries.

Match-up with Wings

Although the Bruins have dominated the season series, the Wings will surely be seeking consolation for their fading playoff hopes by playing spoiler to their divisional and Original 6 rival. Henrik Zetterberg still captains a team that can compete with any opponent on a nightly basis. The Wings boast a budding offensive star, Dylan Larkin and an established elite pucker mover on the blue line, Mike Green. Their 5-7-2 record since the last time the Wings saw the Bs doesn’t reflect their compete level. 10 of the Wings’ last 14 games have been decided by one goal, including their last meeting with the Bruins.  Expect another close game.

Keys for the Bs

The Bruins offense will need to establish possession and put pressure on the Wings early to allow the Bruins new defensive pairs time to build chemistry. It will be a battle of backup goaltenders, so going on the attack and getting an early goal will also help prevent Jared Coreau from finding a rhythm.

Can Brandon Carlo and Nick Holden step into their increased roles with success? Carlo has received some scrutiny in his sophomore year, but he has the chance to silence the haters, if he can shut down the oppositions best offense while McAvoy is out. Nick Holden has impressed in his first two games with the Bs. Holden is no slouch on offense with 109 points in 358 NHL games, but he will need to be the defensive ying to Torey Krug’s offensive yang on the second pair, which can be difficult for even a good shutdown defenseman, just ask Carlo.

Where & When

When: 7:00 PM

Where: TD Garden, Boston