The Detroit Red Wings will make the move to the Eastern Conference for the 2013-14 season, which will have them facing off against some less familiar foes. Due to the lockout, they didn’t face any of the Eastern Conference teams last season, but they could do well in an Atlantic Division that features three teams that finished at or near the bottom of the conference last season. One team that will match up well with them over the course of the season is the defending Eastern Conference champion Boston Bruins, a team whose goaltending, defense and offensive depth rivals and possibly surpasses that of the Red Wings.
The Red Wings travel to Boston twice in October, while the Bruins will visit Detroit in November and in April. The Red Wings got a shootout win (3-2) in the last meeting between the two Original Six franchises (November 2011), with Todd Bertuzzi putting the winner past Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask.
The Red Wings added Stephen Weiss and Daniel Alfredsson to their offensive attack, and the familiarity both players have in playing against Rask should help. Few pucks got past the young netminder last season as he posted a 2.00 goals-against average, and the Wings will be challenged by a Bruins penalty kill that was the fourth best in the league last season. On the other end, the Bruins struggled on the penalty kill and were in the middle of the pack in goals per game. The Red Wings will find their defense tested, and the Bruins play a chippy, physical game that Detroit may have a hard time finding an answer for. With these two teams meeting four times during the season, there’s a good chance tensions may be running high come April.
The Bruins weren’t as active in free agency, but did manage to bring veteran forward Jarome Iginla into the fold. Iginla has thrived against the Red Wings throughout his career, and will look to continue that success in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins also locked up Rask and Patrice Bergeron for the long-term, which will keep them dangerous for years to come. Brad Marchand, Milan Lucic and David Krejci are among the other offensive weapons for Boston, and summer acquisition Loui Eriksson is very familiar with the Red Wings. On defense, the Bruins are led by Zdeno Chara, but youngsters Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug showed they belonged last season. The Red Wings will need to take advantage of every scoring opportunity against the Bruins, and special teams play will be a big factor in all four contests. The Bruins will be one of the tougher opponents in the Atlantic Division, and a 2-2 split or better would be a great outcome from the season series.