- Joe McDonald, ESPN Staff Writer
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DETROIT -- Joe Louis Arena has not been kind to the Boston Bruins. When the puck drops for Game 3 of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Detroit Red Wings Tuesday night, the Bruins hope their luck changes in this building. Boston has not won here since 2007, and with this series even at a game apiece, the Bruins want at least a split in the next two games.
“This is a negative thought and I don’t think there’s room for it right now,” said Bruins forward David Krejci when asked about the team’s lack of success here. “We’re coming into this game 1-1 and it’s a new season. We want to have a good start and go from there.”
The Bruins posted a 1-3-0 record against the Red Wings during the regular season. Boston suffered its worst loss of the season when the Red Wings posted a 6-1 win on Nov. 27 at Joe Louis Arena.
“Right now we shouldn’t think about that,” said Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron. “It’s about making sure we turn that around [in Game 3]. It’s going to be a tight series, a tough series, and we’re expecting them to bounce back [Tuesday]. So we can’t really start thinking about the building we’re playing in. Obviously, it’s about just playing our game and bringing what we’ve done [in Game 2].”
After suffering a 1-0 loss in Game 1, the Bruins played with more of an edge in Game 2, which led to a 4-1 win.
Here’s what to watch for in Game 3:
LINE VS. LINE: Now that the Red Wings are on home ice, Detroit coach Mike Babcock said he’ll look to have Pavel Datsyuk’s line play against either Boston’s top line of Milan Lucic, Krejci and Jarome Iginla, or the second unit of Brad Marchand, Bergeron and Reilly Smith.
“Pavel will either play against [Bergeron] or Krejci," Babcock said. "It doesn't matter as much to me; it matters more to me about the other matchups. [Luke] Glendening will play against either one of those two, and then we'll have the other guys against the other guys.”
If Krejci faces Datsyuk more in Game 3, Boston’s top-line center knows what to expect.
“Just play hard,” Krejci said. “He likes to play with the puck, so we have to play the game really tight and try to have the puck on our stick as much as we can. That’s our game plan and we’ll see what happens tonight.”
Though Krejci’s line didn’t produce much on the score sheet in the first two games, that trio was still engaged physically, even after the whistle.
“I don’t really care about [the numbers],” Krejci said. “As long as we’re winning is what matters. It’s just two games. Obviously, I like to put pucks in the net, but if we keep winning I don’t care at all.”
Krejci added, “I’m having lots of fun. Those two games were great. Last year against Toronto was a little different because I had a bunch of points already, but this is way more fun. It’s great hockey. It’s a great atmosphere and it will be the same way tonight. I’m really enjoying this playoff so far.”
WHO’S IN: Bruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski missed the first two games of this series with the flu. He participated in the team’s morning skate, and coach Claude Julien said the blueliner would take the ice for warm-ups and be a game-time decision. Fellow defenseman Kevan Miller, who also missed Game 1 with the flu, did play in Game 2 and will be in the lineup for Game 3. Babcock announced that forward Joakim Andersson will be in the lineup for Game 3, and veteran Daniel Alfredsson will be sidelined because “he needs another day.”
SPECIAL TEAMS: Boston is 2-for-5 on the power play and a perfect 6-for-6 on the penalty kill in this series. Babcock hopes the addition of Andersson in Game 3 with help Detroit’s penalty kill. The Red Wings' coach described his special teams as average in this series and hopes to have better success in Game 3.
MUCH OF THE SAME: The Bruins played their typical, physical style in Game 2 and it led to victory, so Julien wants to see more of the same in Game 3. Boston was more engaged in its 4-1 win and the Bruins desperately need more of that in hostile territory.
“We’re big. We’re physical. That’s the way we built our team and we shouldn’t apologize for it because Bruins fans and the City of Boston love us for that,” Julien said.
Babcock was not happy with his team’s performance in Game 2, saying his players fell into Boston’s hands. So expect the Red Wings to be a more disciplined team in Game 3.