The Boston Bruins have been one the hottest teams in recent weeks. They have been dominating the Detroit Red Wings for much longer.
Boston goes for its third straight victory and fifth in six games overall when it meets Detroit on Wednesday night for the first time this season at Little Caesar’s Arena.
The Bruins are 10-1-1 in their last 12 against the Red Wings, including four wins in Detroit. Boston (14-9-4) went 3-0-1 in last season’s series, and killed off all 12 short-handed situations.
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The Bruins dropped a season-high four in a row from Nov. 8-15, but have since turned things around by winning eight of 10 to move into the middle of the pack in the Atlantic Division.
Six players have scored at least three goals during that stretch. David Pastrnak, who will play in his 200th career game Wednesday, has been nearly unstoppable for the last three weeks. The Czech-born forward has four goals and six assists in an eight-game point streak.
Pastrnak assisted on goals by rookies Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen, and Tuukka Rask made 30 saves in 3-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Saturday.
The goaltending duo of Rask and Anton Khudobin have limited opponents to three goals or fewer in Boston’s last eight victories.
Rask, who’s been especially sharp recently, will get the nod Wednesday according to the Bruins’ official website.
Rask is 7-8-2 with a 2.43 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage, but since giving up 13 goals in four losses between Nov. 8 and Nov. 26, Rask is 4-0-0 with a 1.10 GAA in five games (four starts). He’s also logged a .955 save percentage and stopped all 28 shots in a 3-0 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Dec. 2 for his only shutout of the season.
“I’ve had good rhythm to my game,” Rask said. “Guys are doing a good job of eliminating the second chances and obviously if you don’t get rebounds all the time it helps too.”
Rask is 8-1-1 with a 2.36 GAA in his last 10 games versus the Red Wings.
Detroit (11-13-6) is 1-5-4 in its last 10 games after falling 2-1 in overtime to the Florida Panthers on Monday. Henrik Zetterberg scored for the first time since Oct. 18 to end a 22-game drought.
“It was nice to see the puck go in,” said Zetterberg, who has seven goals and 12 assists in 25 games against Boston. “All we can do is keep creating chances and make sure we’re a little more determined maybe when we get the chances.”
Tomas Tatar also has seven career goals against the Bruins.
Frans Nielsen had similar sentiments on Tuesday.
“We have to keep believing in what we are doing,” he told the Detroit Free Press. “We are playing good enough to get a win, so we just have to keep digging in and playing the same way. We can’t get frustrated about it. We can’t start cheating or playing a different way.”
The Danish center has eight goals but only four assists after recording 24 helpers last season.
Jimmy Howard, who made 27 saves Monday, is 9-9-5 with a 2.90 GAA and a .906 save percentage. However, over the last 10 games (eight starts), he’s 1-5-4 with a 4.10 GAA and .857 save percentage.
Howard has not defeated Boston since Oct. 9, 2014, going 0-3-1 with a 3.23 GAA.
Petr Mrazek hasn’t been a better option recently. In his last five games (three starts), he’s 0-2-0 with a 5.50 GAA and .835 save percentage. He’s 2-2-1 with a 3.15 GAA in seven games (four starts) against Boston.