For the first time since 1957, the Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings will meet in the postseason.
If the four regular season meetings between the two Original Six franchises are any indication, then the B's might have some trouble with the team from "Hockeytown." On the other hand, the B's and the Red Wings did trend in opposite directions for most of the 2013-14 campaign.
The Black and Gold did not have much luck with the Wings losing three times to their Atlantic Division rivals. But with Detroit being hit hard with the injury bug the Bruins can take advantage of some holes left by some key absences, most notably star forward Henrik Zetterberg.
Let's look back at each of the four matchups.
With the Red Wings starting the season with a three-game in four-night stretch, the Bruins set the tempo early and took advantage of a tired Detroit squad. The Black and Gold scored twice on the power play with goals coming from Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara for the 4-1 victory, improving to 2-0 on the season.
Yes, the rosters might have changed since the start of the season, but if there's anything to take away from this game for the first round series, it's the quick start and the power play. Those two factors could very well be pivotal keys for the Bruins in the Atlantic Division semifinals.
Milan Lucic tallied his 100th carrer NHL goal, but it was not enough when the two teams met again, 11 days later for a Columbus Day matinee. The B's were haunted by sloppy defense in the second period, and the Red Wings took advantage with goals by Stephen Weiss and Daniel Cleary. Detroit also blocked 22 shots and Jonas Gustavsson made 28 saves in the winning effort.
Although the Red Wings' defense finished 16th in the league in goals against (allowing 2.70 goals per game), their blue-line looked very solid. This is an area the Bruins should not underestimate in the first round.
Nov. 27th, 2013: Red Wings 6-Bruins 1
In a game where top liners Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi were out due to injury, the Red Wings roster stepped up in a big way. Gustav Nyquist (one goal, one assist), Tomas Tatar (one goal, one assist) and Joakim Andersson (two assists) each tallied two points and Mike Babcock's team cruised to a 6-1 victory.
It was one of the worst games of the season for the Black and Gold, who were lacking in all facets of the game. But it was a sign of things to come for Nyquist and Tatar, who became mainstays after starting the season in Grand Rapids (AHL).
April 2, 2014: Red Wings 3-Bruins 2
The Bruins had not lost in regulation in over a month and it seemed like they were well on their way to extending their unbeaten streak to 17 after leading 2-1 midway through the third period. Once again, though, the Wings youngsters responded in a big way.
After a Bruins turnover in their own end, Tomas Jurco tied the game at 2-2 after Tatar kicked the puck to him in a scramble in front of Tuukka Rask. Nearly two minutes later, Nyquist snuck behind the flat-footed Zdeno Chara and beat Rask on a breakaway to give the Wings the 3-2 win at the Joe.
Getting layers in front of Rask will be critical for the Black and Gold when they start their series Friday night. Otherwise, the Red Wings, like they did in the last three meetings, could be flying high with an upset over the top seeded Bruins.
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