Red Wings to face Boston Bruins in first round of playoffs

DETROIT, Mich. (Detroit Free Press) -- Boston Bruins it is.

The Bruins emerged as the first-round opponent of the Detroit Red Wings Saturday night, after Columbus won at Florida.

Here's a debriefing on the Bruins, who claimed the Presidents' Trophy Saturday afternoon after topping Buffalo.

How the regular-season series fared: The Wings lost at Boston, 4-1, on Oct. 5, on the second night of a back-to-back. A week later, on Oct. 14, the Wings beat the Bruins, 3-2. The Wings won again, 6-1, when they hosted the Bruins on Thanksgiving eve - and won for a third straight time, 3-2, when they hosted the Bruins again earlier this month.

Who's who up front for Bruins: Patrice Bergeron is a front-runner for the 2014 Selke Trophy, he's that good of an all-around forward. He's 30 goals and 62 points in 80 games, along with a plus-38 rating. Veteran Jarome Iginla is playing like a 20-something, and is another 30-goal scorer. Other dangerous offensive players are Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand and David Krejci, along with Reilly Smith, brother of Detroit's Brendan Smith. They also have Loui Eriksson, another exceptional two-way player.

Who's who on the back end: Zdeno Chara is a Goliath on skates, and skilled to boot. Opposing goaltenders can't look over or around him, and opposing forwards can't move him. Best strategy is to stealthily make sure he can't lift his stick. Chara is guaranteed to be a Norris Trophy finalist, with 40 points and a plus-25 rating. The Bruins defense on the whole is elite, with former Spartan Torey Krug another 40-point player, as well as Dougie Hamilton and Johnny Boychuk and Matt Bartkowski.

Who's who in goal: The Bruins could feast at the NHL Awards show this summer, because Olympic bronze medalist Tuukka Rask is a slam-dunk Vezina finalist after going 36-15-6 with a 2.04 goals-against average and .930 save percentage.

What's the key for the Wings: They are the only team to have beaten the Bruins three times this season in regulation. The last time two times they did it, the Wings didn't even have Pavel Datsyuk in the lineup. If the Wings stick to what works for them - structure and hard work - they'll be fine.


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