As good as Tuukka Rask was in Game 1, he and the rest of the Boston Bruins will need to step up if they want to even the series on Easter Sunday against the Detroit Red Wings. Photo by Joe Makarski, Bruins Daily.
Despite the disparity in the standings, many hockey pundits predicted a close series between the Presidents’ Trophy winning Boston Bruins and the Detroit Red Wings. Well, so far, they were right.
If Game 1 was any indication, we are in for a doozy of a series. But the Bruins, who lost three of four to the Red Wings during the regular season, are the ones who have to bounce back after falling 1-0 Friday night at the TD Garden.
Will the B's even the series on Causeway Street on Easter Sunday? Or will they have an uphill battle and trail 2-0 before the series shifts to the Joe Louis Arena in two days?
Series details: Red Wings up, 1-0
Game 2 puck drop: 3 p.m.
Networks: NBC, 98.5 The Sports Hub
Location: TD Garden
Bruins projected lines:
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Jarome Iginla
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Reilly Smith
Justin Florek-Carl Soderberg-Loui Eriksson
Jordan Caron-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Dougie Hamilton
Andrej Meszaros-Johnny Boychuk
Torey Krug-Kevan Miller
Red Wings projected lines:
Johan Franzen-Pavel Datsyuk-Justin Abdelkader
Gustav Nyquist-Reily Sheahan-Tomas Tatar
Tomas Jurco-Darren Helm-Daniel Alfredsson
Drew Miller-Luke Glendening-David Legwand
Niklas Kronwall-Brendan Smith
Kyle Quincey-Danny DeKeyser
Jakub Kindl-Brian Lashoff
After missing Game 1 due to the “flu bug” Matt Bartkowski and Kevan Miller returned to practice on Saturday. Head coach Claude Julien wouldn’t comment about the status of Miller or Bartkowski heading into Game 2, but assuming they are feeling better, expect both of them to at least be out there for warmups.
Meanwhile, Daniel Paille (concussion) and Chris Kelly (back) skated again with team trainer John Whitesides. Both will be out for Game 2, however.
Who to watch for in Game 2: Justin Abdelkader and Loui Eriksson
There’s no denying that the league will have a close eye on Milan Lucic after being fined $5,000 for spearing Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser in the, well, you know. But rather than recycle this matchup, lets take a slightly different route.
Pavel Datsyuk pulled another trick up his sleeve in Game 1 when he beat Tuukka Rask to give the Red Wings their only goal. His fellow linemate, Justin Abdlekader, set up a perfect screen drawing Zdeno Chara and Dougie Hamilton with him to set up space for Datsyuk’s heroics. The former Michigan State Spartan may not be as skilled as Datsyuk and Johan Franzen, but his big body and physicality is a good compliment to the duo on the top line.
Offensively, there wasn’t much to write home about, but Loui Eriksson once again had a sollid performance in Game 1. He even got a promotion for a shift when he joined Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand on the second line toward the middle of the third period. The ex-Dallas Star had a strong second half of the season, and it looks like that momentum has carried over into the playoffs, which is a welcome sight to The Hub of Hockey.
Gameday edge: Goaltending
As tight as things were defensively in Game 1, Rask and Jimmy Howard made their share of good saves when they needed to. In the end, Datsyuk’s nifty wrister found its way past Tuukka. Meanwhile, Howard, who made a key stop on Lucic to set up Datsyuk’s heroics, celebrated his third career postseason shutout with his teammates.
The Bruins nor Red Wings gave each other much space to work with on Friday night, but that can all change as the Wings look to go up 2-0 before the series shifts to Detroit. They will look to open the ice a little more, which means Tuukka will need to be at his best.
On the flip side, the Bruins might go the dump and chase route and set up their grinding game. If they can get a cycle going and get their big bodies in front of the net, then Howard is going to need all the help he can get.
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