Detroit — There’s a lot to be thankful for when you’re the Red Wings, but the opponent on Thanksgiving Eve might be another matter.
Few teams have given the Red Wings as much difficulty in recent times as the Boston Bruins, who’ll visit Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday.
The Bruins have owned this series lately, winning five consecutive games in the regular season. If you count the 2014 playoffs, they’ve won nine of the last 10.
Boston won the only game thus far this season, Nov. 14, 3-1.
Rebuilding was supposed to be part of the equation for the Bruins, who made some big changes in the off-season.
But considering the Bruins are only one point from the Red Wings in the standings, and on a three-game winning streak, it looks mainly like the same old Bruins.
“Everything comes down to good leadership and the structure they have,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “They have a coach (Claude Julien) who wants them to play a certain way and they know if they play that way, they’ll be successful with it.
“And they have players like (Patrice) Bergeron, (David) Krejci, and (Brad) Marchand, and big (Zdeno) Chara, and (Tuukka) Rask, it’s not like they’ve lost all their pieces.”
For coach Jeff Blashill, the past history against the Bruins is in the past. Blashill is concentrating on the present, and attempting to match-up with a good Bruins team.
“It’s a much different team,” said Blashill, noting only 11 Bruins players were on the roster opening night 2014-15 compared to now. “We went in there (early November) and lost a game that at times we could have made it a little different game but we didn’t.
“They’re a good hockey team. I watch teams every night, teams are extremely close. The difference is so minimal. They’re a real good hockey team, we’re trying to become a real good hockey team, they’re well coached, they make it hard to get to their net.”
While earning impressive victories over physical and quality opponents in Los Angeles and St. Louis last weekend, the Red Wings found their offense.
They scored seven goals, but maybe even more satisfying was the fact six different players scored those goals.
Balanced scoring was something the Red Wings didn’t have much of during the first quarter of the season.
Blashill felt the depth of scoring could be a strength.
“It didn’t play out that way the first 18 games but I still think it can be a strength,” Blashill said. “We can have depth of scoring throughout the lineup.”
What could potentially be a huge help is the continued success of the second line centered by Pavel Datsyuk, with Brad Richards and Teemu Pulkkinen.
Datsyuk and Pulkkinen scored Saturday in St. Louis, with Richards assisting on both.
“They seem to play well together,” Blashill said. “It gave us another real powerful line.”
Danny DeKeyser left Tuesday’s practice early after catching a deflected puck off the side of his face.
Blashill said DeKeyser was getting stitches for a cut, but wasn’t in jeopardy of missing Wednesday’s game.
… Blashill said goaltender Petr Mrazek would get the start against Boston.
… Former teammates were glad to see forward Landon Ferraro get an assist in his Bruins debut Monday in Toronto.
Ferraro was waived Saturday by the Red Wings and claimed off waivers by the Bruins.
Still, it’ll be strange to see Ferraro in an opposing jersey.
“I’m happy he gets a chance to play in the NHL,” Kronwall said. “It’s part of the business but he was just here (a few) days ago. It goes quick sometimes.”
…Wednesday’s game will mark the 200th consecutive sellout at Joe Louis Arena.
Bruins at Red Wings
Faceoff: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Joe Louis Arena, Detroit.
TV/radio: Fox Sports Detroit; 97.1 The Ticket, 1270-AM.
Outlook: The Bruins (11-8-1, 23 points) have won three consecutive games and are 7-2-0 on the road…The Bruins rank first in the NHL on the power play (32.3 percent) but a lowly 28th on the penalty kill (74.7 percent)…D Torey Krug (Livonia/Michigan State) is developing into a solid NHL player (11 assists, 12 points).