Today it's personal.
This is the game I've had circled on my calendar since the schedule was released months ago. For those who don't know, I work for NESN (New England Sports Network). Eighty percent of the network is owned by the Red Sox and the other twenty percent is owned by the Bruins. We broadcast every single Bruins game (outside of the few VS and NBC exclusive games...like today). Last season, I was just a regular old production assistant working on the studio shows. The Wings swept a home-and-home series with Boston and I was living on top of the world. My team was better than my coworkers' team. Of course, the Bruins went on the win the Stanley Cup and everyone at work ultimately had the last laugh.
Fast forward to this year. I'm now the production assistant for the Bruins telecasts. I work at the Garden for all the home games that we air. I'm inside the production truck. I'm inside the building, press row, the dressing room, everywhere. I've seen every B's home game. My producer, A.P., director...they all give me crap for being a Wings fan and they'd love nothing more than to rub it in my face when I'm back working on Saturday. In fact, there is probably 50 people at NESN just waiting to rub it in my face.
This Bruins team is on fire right now. They've won 10-in-a-row. That's pretty damn impressive. Before this streak they were dead last in the Leastern Conference sitting at 3-7-0. They're now 13-7-0 and leading the Northleast Division. They're top two lines (Lucic/Krejci/Horton and Marchand/Seguin/Bergeron) are clicking. Tyler Seguin finished with 11 goals and 11 assists last season. He already has 12 goals and 11 assists so far. Bottom line, they're deep and they currently have the best goalie in the world, Tim Thomas, between the pipes.
But you know what?
Who gives a crap if they won the Cup. Who gives a crap if they've won 10-in-a-row. Screw them.
We root for the Detroit Red Wings. The greatest organ-i-zation in all of sports. The Red Wings don't back down from teams like the Bruins. Sorry Boston, your "Big Bad Bruins" gimmick won't work on this team. You can chip and chirp, but the boys in Winged Wheel sweaters won't take your bait.
You have Timmy? We'll take Jimmy. You think Krejci can dangle and set up his linemates? He couldn't carry Datsyuk's jock. You think Bergeron is the best two-way center in the game? Datsyuk's got you beat there too (and even Zetterberg). Chara for Norris? HA. Lidstrom is perfect. And by the way, Lidstrom is better than Orr too.
Hope you enjoyed your winning streak of beating up on the Buffalos, Ottawas, and New Jerseys while it lasted. The Red Wings are about the go into the Garden and make a very loud statement.
Suck it, Boston.
Stanley Cup of Chowder is your SBNation Bruins' blog.
Puck drop is a little after 1p ET.
The Expected Lineup
Johan Franzen -- Pavel Datsyuk -- Todd Bertuzzi
Danny Cleary -- Henrik Zetterberg -- Valtteri Filppula
Jiri Hudler -- Darren Helm -- Justin Abdelkader
Drew Miller -- Cory Emmerton -- Tomas Holmstrom
Nicklas Lidstrom -- Ian White
Niklas Kronwall -- Jonathan Ericsson
Brad Stuart -- Jakub Kindl
Jimmy Howard (starting)
Scratches: Mike Commodore and Patrick Eaves
Injured: Jan Mursak (ankle)
There's no way Commie plays this game and Eaves is either banged up or in the doghouse because he can't seem to get any ice time. Doubt there is much of a change in the lineup for one of the biggest games of the year (in my world).
|RED WINGS||HOW THEY MATCH UP||BRUINS|
|2.90 (T-8th)||Goals Per Game||3.30 (2nd)|
|2.30 (6th)||Goals Against Per Game||2.10 (2nd)|
|19.3 (9th)||Power Play %||18.1% (14th)|
|79.2% (22nd)||Penalty Kill %||84.6% (10th)|
|Johan Franzen (10 goals)||Goal Leader||Tyler Seguin (12 goals)|
|Johan Franzen (21 points)||Points Leader||Tyler Seguin (23 points)|
- The Red Wings are 248-234-95-1 (W-L-T-OTL) all-time against the Bruins.
- Boston is first in 5-on-5 goal differential (1.82) and Detroit is fourth (1.42). That's a sign of two very good teams in all three zones.
- The Bruins are second in both goals for and goals against. The Wings are top ten in both categories. Once again, a sign of two very good teams in both zones.
- Tim Thomas 10-4-0 with a 1.85 GAA and a .936 SV%. Jimmy Howard 11-5-1 with a 1.92 GAA and a .927 SV%. Two Vezina worthy goalies at the moment.
The third and fourth lines are a wash. Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley are good role players and might have more offensive touch than Helm and Abby, but Helm wins the speed battle against anyone on the Bruins, even Seguin. Benoit Pouliot or Jordan Caron will be the other winger on this line. Meh. Neither has shown much of anything. The Bruins fourth line of Paille/Thornton/Campbell is your checking line. They won't play a ton other than on the PK and will have the occasional good cycling shift. Emmerton is faster than any of them and Miller plays a similar game. Homer will just do what Homer does best out there and be strong on the puck down low.
As far as the defense goes, Chara/Boychuk, Seidenberg/Corvo, and Ference/McQuaid are your pairings. Bruins run three solid pairings. Chara can be burned by speed and Datsyuk has the ability to make him look silly. Boychuk is best when not noticed, but can have stretches of just awfulness. At one point last year during the postseason he was on the ice for like 13 straight goals given up by Boston. Seidenberg is very physical...think Brad Stuart type. I actually like his game a lot. He's a real, nice solid second pair defenseman. Corvo is still adjusting to the Bruins system and can be caught out of place a lot not knowing if the team is playing zone coverage of man-to-man. McQuiad is big, but nothing special. Ference has a little mean streak in him and wears really deep neck V shirts.
Prediction: This game will go one of two ways. It will either be a low scoring goalie street fight between the two best American goaltenders on the planet (sorry Ryan Miller). Or it will be a high scoring slug fest between two teams with offense that can put the puck in the net. One extreme or the other...bottom line is that it will be close. I'm going with the high scoring affair. Wings win 4-3 and Pavel Datsyuk reminds the world on national TV why he is the best player all-around player in the world.
LET'S GO RED WINGS.