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Rivalry Night on NBCSN: Red Wings challenge division-leading Bruins

Nov 27, 2013, 8:46 AM EDT

Detroit Red Wings left wing Justin Abdelkader (8) is checked by Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara (33) and goalie Tuukka Rask (40) in front of the crease in the third period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Monday, Oct. 14, 2013. The Red Wings won 3-2. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) AP

Throughout the season, NBCSN will feature the NHL’s fiercest rivalries on Wednesday nights. Tonight the Boston Bruins will head to Joe Louis Arena to take on the Detroit Red Wings at 7:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

The Red Wings are back home after a brief detour to Buffalo, but maybe it would have been better if they had stayed on the road.

They have struggled lately and a lot of that has taken place at The Joe. As a result, Detroit now has a 4-4-6 home record despite being 11-7-7 overall.

To make matters worse, Detroit will be without Pavel Datsyuk (head) and Todd Bertuzzi (shoulder) tonight. They also won’t lead with goaltender Jimmy Howard, although that’s for an entirely different reason.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $3,000 Fantasy Hockey league tonight (Wednesday). It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $600. Starts at 7:00 p.m. ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Howard hasn’t won a game since Nov. 1 and has allowed at least three goals in six of his last eight contests.

“Let’s be clear, we’ll go as far as Howie takes us,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock told the Detroit News. “He’s an elite goalie who it hasn’t gone as good as he’d like to lately. We’ll give him a breather to work with Jimmy (Bedard, Red Wings goaltender coach).”

Backup goaltender Jonas Gustavsson has been great lately and he’ll have to keep that up because the Boston Bruins aren’t likely to make many mistakes. The Red Wings rank in the bottom third of the league when it comes to goals per game while the Bruins lead the league with a team 1.83 GAA.

Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask has been stunning and he’ll be backed up by one of the league’s deeper offenses. That’s nothing new for the Bruins, although the cast is different this season, including newcomers Reilly Smith, Loui Eriksson, and Jarome Iginla. All of them have stepped up at various times, along with returning stars Milan Lucic and David Krejci, but this team still has another level if they can all come together.

“Chemistry on the ice develops with time and through adversity, through tough times, through good times,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said, according to CSN New England. He added, “So I think it’s an ongoing thing, and those guys will let that evolve throughout the whole year. You just hope it’s at its best always at the right time of the year.”

As it is, they are certainly a serious contender. With a 16-6-2 record, the Bruins lead the Atlantic Division, but the Red Wings are only five points behind despite their recent slump. Detroit has plenty to overcome, but they can keep the pressure on Boston with a win tonight.

  1. ironyisadeadscene - Nov 27, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    The term “rivalry” is being used loosely here. Give it some time to develop

    • jcmeyer10 - Nov 27, 2013 at 10:23 AM

      I don’t care what it’s called, I love good hockey on hump day to get me through the week.

    • ibieiniid - Nov 27, 2013 at 10:27 AM

      Chivalry Night on NBCSN.

    • jpelle82 - Nov 27, 2013 at 10:32 AM

      wouldve loved to see sharks/kings instead tonight, especially since its in san jose. they couldve moved it up to 8:30 pm est and made it work. redwings/bruins arent too far off, original 6 teams in the same division now, but really not quite what you would think of as a relevant rivalry…yet.

    • pastabelly - Nov 27, 2013 at 11:02 AM

      It’s two Original Six teams. I’m good with the term rivalry and, as a Bruins fan, I’m glad Detroit is in the Atlantic. I thought it would unfairly make the division tougher for Boston, but that’s not as important as seeing better games at the Garden. Hockey is the only sport that doesn’t have a Boston – New York rivalry, but this certainly helps. The only real division rivalry Bruins fans really cared about was Montreal. This is a big improvement.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Nov 27, 2013 at 4:09 PM

      Hey, Boston vs Detroit is a pretty fresh rivalry, for those whose memories include World War II. They actually met in the 1941 and 1943 Finals. Split them. Bruins swept it in ’41, and Wings swept the rematch. The Cup winning goal for the Wings was scored by Joe Carveth. He’s the answer to this timely question: What shallst thou doeth with thine turkey?

  2. amityvillefun - Nov 27, 2013 at 10:27 AM

    Let’s list the “true” rivalries from the fans perspective. Here are the first few I can think of:

    Colorado/Detroit (used to be anyway)

    Feel free to add what you think is a “legit” rivalry.

    • ibieiniid - Nov 27, 2013 at 10:28 AM

      i think Caps/Rangers is well on its way too.

    • jpelle82 - Nov 27, 2013 at 10:36 AM

      maybe vancouver/chicago? edmonton/calgary and montreal/toronto for sure though

      • joey4id - Nov 27, 2013 at 11:10 AM

        Good that you mentioned edm/cal though the battle of Alberta is not what it used to be. Ducks/Kings could be another one considering their close proximity in So Cal. St. Louis/Chicago also comes to mind. Buffalo/Toronto, Ottawa/Toronto, Wings/Leafs, Devils/Flyers and Rangers, Pens/Capitals, Canucks/Flames

    • jcmeyer10 - Nov 27, 2013 at 10:37 AM

      Sounds about right. We gotta tighten up what we call rivalries.

    • ibieiniid - Nov 27, 2013 at 10:39 AM

      wait, Kings/Oilers? that hasn’t been a rivalry since the 90s.

    • dearyxd - Nov 27, 2013 at 10:45 AM

      i think those are good match-ups but not rivalires today, maybe the new playoff system will help a bit.

    • elrock7 - Nov 27, 2013 at 10:08 PM

      Toronto/Montreal is probably the longest standing rivalry. Every game is playoff-like atmosphere

  3. amityvillefun - Nov 27, 2013 at 10:46 AM

    For my money, the Philly/Pittsburgh rivalry is currently the best. Those two teams really don’t like one another at all.

    • ibieiniid - Nov 27, 2013 at 10:50 AM

      lol somebody on PHT the other day called that rivalry “dumb.”

      • jpelle82 - Nov 27, 2013 at 11:06 AM

        probably a caps fan who needs a caps/penguins rivalry in their life to feel validated as a new hockey viewer.

      • ibieiniid - Nov 27, 2013 at 11:11 AM

        idk, I think it was that jackass crazemastercraze or w/e it is.

      • ibieiniid - Nov 27, 2013 at 11:15 AM

        mp1131211 – Nov 24, 2013 at 2:18 AM

        No one gives two sh**** about the pens fans. I clicked this article because of the ridiculous title still claiming the flyers are “surging.” Truth is the flyers are involved in one of THE DUMBEST rivalries to ever be had in the NHL. Give it up already

        mp1131211 – Nov 24, 2013 at 3:25 PM

        Not sure where you were going with that… Seemed, kind of… dumb? Anyway I didn’t say anything about other nhl rivalries being dumb. Its the philly vs pitt one that is lame. On one side, you have a franchise who can’t get anything going in almost 40 years and their fans who are largely blood thirsty pugilists. On the other side you have an over rated franchise that has one super star and a smatter of other bits and pieces of talent and their arrogant and conceded fans who seem to dedicate their whole lives to climbing on top of the pile by pulling down their neighbors in Philly.

        It shows the sad condition of your state I guess.
        I guess he was just hatin on PA.

      • jpelle82 - Nov 27, 2013 at 11:32 AM

        lol…yeah dont know where to go with that now, wish i had seen it when it was posted originally

    • jcmeyer10 - Nov 27, 2013 at 10:59 AM

      I think part of it is personal. I love the Habs/Bruins rivalry because I love the Bruins and thus hate the Habs. They bounced the B’s out the playoffs a couple years ago which has done nothing to diminish the intensity to the fans.

    • jpelle82 - Nov 27, 2013 at 11:00 AM

      i wish mtl and boston would turn it up a notch again…that stuff reminded me of colorado/redwings for a while

      • amityvillefun - Nov 27, 2013 at 11:37 AM

        I’m sure there is still no love for Chara up in Hab-country. Thousands of phones have 9-1-1 on speed-dial every time he sets foot in the city. I’m surprised they don’t come out with torches and chase him down like in a Frankenstein movie.

        On the Boston end, Subban is about as annoying as a Hab can be with his antics. However, he obviously is a skilled player besides that.

        It doesn’t take a heck of a lot to stoke the fire between those two teams. I’m sure by the end of the season, they’ll be at each other’s throats again.

  4. pastabelly - Nov 27, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    Great rivalries withstand the test of time. That’s Boston-Montreal, Chicago-Detroit, Philadelphia-Pittsburgh, and Montreal-Toronto. I would bet that Kings-Ducks is getting there. Boston-NY Rangers was a great rivalry before they were split up.

  5. steelers88 - Nov 27, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    How is this a rivalry?

  6. steelers88 - Nov 27, 2013 at 11:13 AM

    Pittsburgh/Washington, Pittsburgh/Boston, Philly/NYR, Philly/NJ, Philly/WSH, CHI/ST, LA/ANA(maybe), and NYR/NYI.

    • ibieiniid - Nov 27, 2013 at 11:41 AM

      i think you need to get out of Pennsylvania from time to time.

  7. steelers88 - Nov 27, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    What are you a Panthers fan? Only a idiot would say the Pens/Flyers rivalry. So I guess your an idiot. I find it funny when people rip the Penguins organization. It means that they wish they had the great players the Penguins have. Jagr, Lemiux, Crosby, and Malkin.

    • amityvillefun - Nov 27, 2013 at 12:12 PM

      Right…. It’s kind of tough to call someone an idiot when you can’t even spell “Lemieux” correctly.

      It’s not like you don’t see that name on a gazillion shirts down there.

      And dude, hate to break it to you, not everyone is jealous of Pittsburgh and your “whining stars” as John Tortorella so eloquently put it. And Jagr hasn’t dressed for Pittsburgh in how long? Even he dissed the Pens to play elsewhere.

    • pastabelly - Nov 27, 2013 at 12:16 PM

      All of your “great rivalries” are based on teams from Pennsylvania. That’s why someone made that comment about your need to get out of the state. You didn’t even have Bruins-Montreal or Chicago-Detroit on your list. Do you really follow the league or just watch games involving teams from Pennsylvania?

    • ibieiniid - Nov 27, 2013 at 12:46 PM

      “your an idiot.”
      possibly the most ironic thing one can type.

      and I think you were replying to my copy/paste of mp23904782897315413. you know I was quoting him from a week or so back right?

    • ironyisadeadscene - Nov 27, 2013 at 1:30 PM

      See if your Mom will let you stay up late one night….hockey doesn’t end after the 7 o’clock games end

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