DETROIT - The Bruins want to hit. The Red Wings want to skate. And after two games of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal, we’re still figuring out which style will prevail.
When the series resumes Tuesday night at Joe Louis Arena, the underdog Wings know that if they are to benefit from the series split in Boston and regain the lead, they’ll have to return to the speed game that served them well down the regular-season stretch.
“We didn’t get up to our standard in Game 2 when it comes to skating,” Detroit defenceman Jonathan Ericsson said. “We have to do a better job of wanting the puck than we did last game. If we can just get back to that, we’ll give ourselves a chance.”
Since Sunday’s 4-1 loss in Boston, much has been made about the Bruins’ edge in physical play. But back on home ice, Wings coach Mike Babcock will do his best to get speedy winger Gustav Nyquist away from the Boston checkers.
Nyquist had 12 goals and 18 assists in March but hasn’t registered a point in April, including the first two games of this series.
“Now suddenly, instead of being a guy no one even heard of like last year in the playoffs, you’re a guy they’ve heard of,” Babcock said of Nyquist. “Space is probably a little harder to come by. You just have find your game.
“I’m not concerned. I expect him to find his game.”
On the other side, Boston coach Claude Julien said his team plans to continue what it has been doing.
“We’re big, we’re physical and that’s the way we built our team,” Julien said. “We shouldn’t have to apologize for it because the Bruins fans and the city of Boston love us for that.”
Bruins centre David Krejci said the key for the Bruins to re-take home ice advantage is to not allow the Wings to control the puck with the ease that they did in the first two games.
“I thought in Game 2 we played more with a little bit of an edge and we controlled the puck way more than we did in Game 1,” said Krejci, a proven playoff performer for the Bruins who did not register a point in the first two contests.
“In Game 1, we were chasing the puck. Against a team like that who likes to play with the puck all the time, we can’t make it easy for them.”
As for lineups, the Wings will be without forward Daniel Alfredsson, who is nursing a back injury.
“He needs another day,” Babcock said.
The Bruins, meanwhile, may have defenceman Matt Bartkowski in the lineup for the first time in the series.