With time winding down on the 2013/14 NHL regular season, it’s time to look at the potential Playoff opponents for our Boston Bruins. The standings are very tight, so there are no clear teams to definitively say will be facing the B’s in the first round. With that, I will pull a few teams out of the pile and dissect how they match up against our Bruins. For this article the team of interest will be the Detroit Red Wings.
At this time the Red Wings sit in seventh place (86 Pts) and would not face the Bruins. They only have a slim lead over Columbus, with games yet to be played, so they cannot be eliminated as a potential Playoff opponent.
Unlike the Bruins, Detroit’s strengths do not come from the middle. Their Center iceman aren’t their top point getters and don’t control the offense as a whole. To help in this area Detroit acquired David Legwand at the trade deadline. Though he has been good at the faceoff circle (50.5%) and has 10 points in 15 games, he has been dreadful defensively.
The Center that poses the biggest threat offensively is Pavel Datsyuk, with 15 Goals, 18 Assists for 33 Points in 39 games played. Datsyuk is also his team’s best Faceoff man with 52.7% success rate. In comparison, Bruins Patrice Bergeron has a 58.7% success rate.
Also in comparison the Bruins are 7th in the NHL at the Faceoff circle (52%) vs Detroit’s 50.6%, placing them in 14th place. In a series against the Red Wings line matchups would be key.
Detroit’s leading point getter is Left wing Henrik Zetterberg with 16 Goals and 32 Assists. Daniel Alfredsson is 2nd with 17 Goals and 28 Assists. Their top scoring Defenseman is Niklas Kronwall, with 7 Goals and 39 Assists. He is the Quarterback of their Power Play unit.
The player the Bruins must keep an eye on at all times and is Detroit’s biggest “sniper” is Right wing Gustav Nyquist, who leads his team in goals with 28.
The Bruins possess the better Power Play system, 3rd in the NHL at 21%. Detroit is 17th with a 17.8% success rate.
The Penalty Killing comparison is much closer with the Bruins coming in 7th in the NHL with a 84.3% kill rate vs Detroit’s 83.5% good for 9th in the league. The Bruins are also dangerous while Short-handed (Marchand 5 Goals), Detroit is not.
If the Bruins had to face Detroit, I like their chances as long as they can control the Red Wings speed and limit chances to players like Nyquist. Go B’s!