Wounded Bruins aim to keep clawing vs. Red Wings

BOSTON — Despite injury and illness, the Boston Bruins have had a strong week, part of what has become a very good month.

After home losses to the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers, the latter in overtime, the Bruins reeled off three wins in four nights — and try to make it four in a row when the Detroit Red Wings visit in a Saturday matinee.

David Krejci (injured reserve) remains out with a recurring back problem and two players, Ryan Spooner and Riley Nash, missed Thursday’s game because of illness. Tuukka Rask and Brad Marchand played despite being sick — the Bruins taking a 2-1 shootout victory over the Winnipeg Jets.

“We’re hoping these guys are healed … they feel better today,” coach Bruce Cassidy said Friday.

In a sign people are returning, Boston returned Colby Cave to the minors after his NHL debut Thursday.

The Bruins are 7-2-1 in December, extending their current run to 12-3-1 over their last 16.

“Clearly, experience is the best teacher,” Cassidy said after Thursday’s game. “We went through it. A lot of different things came up, so the adversity is second nature now. No one feels sorry for you. You have got to plod along … if we were 10-18, we would look at it as, well, injuries, but give the guys credit for not using it as a crutch.”

One of the December wins for the Bruins came at Detroit Dec. 13, and that was the kind of win a team can build on. Down 2-1, David Pastrnak tied the game with Rask pulled and Marchand scored 35 seconds into overtime to lift the Bruins to their 11th win in their last 13 games against the Red Wings.

On Thursday night, Rask moved to 7-0-1 in his last eight starts and even ended a four-shootout losing streak, improving to just 22-29 lifetime in the competition.

Rask has turned around his early struggles.

“When Tuukka came around,” said Cassidy, “I thought we were playing very well in front of him, and on a night like tonight (Thursday) when he had to be a little bit better, he was. It is almost like the guys are looking out for each other on the nights when they need to, and that is the sign of a good team.

“Those are the teams that end up getting the points and winning. We are in that mode right now, and we want to stay in it.”

The Bruins may get defenseman Adam McQuaid (broken leg) back for this game. He has been out over two months and is a game-time decision.

“I’m itching to get back in,” McQuaid said Friday. “Probably beyond eager … hopefully soon.”

The Red Wings lost 4-3 at Philadelphia on Wednesday night, which shouldn’t come as a shock — they haven’t won a game in regulation in Philly since 1997.

After losing 10 of their previous 11 games, the Wings had won twice before losing to the Flyers. They are 7-8-1 on the road.

“I know we’re playing better. I know that,” coach Jeff Blashill said after the Thursday loss. “I know we’re poised to be able to go on a much better run than we did coming out of late December and early January last year. I know that for a fact.”

Detroit lost key penalty killer Luke Glendening to an upper-body injury in the first period Thursday and he will miss at least four weeks. Tyler Bertuzzi was summoned to replace him.

The Wings haven’t won at TD Garden since April 18, 2014, the opening game of a playoff series — and their last regular-season win there was Oct. 14, 2013.

Rask is 10-5-2 with a 2.70 goals-against average and an .898 save percentage lifetime against the Red Wings, while Jimmy Howard, expected to start for Detroit, in 5-4-2 with 2.52/.924 marks.