The Detroit Red Wings just did it a week ago: Go into an Atlantic Division rival’s home and leave with two points.
The Wings’ challenge Saturday is to do so against the division-leading Bruins, who are off to a 6-0-1 start, their one blemish coming Thursday night at TD Garden in Boston. The Wings (5-2-1) just suffered only their second loss in regulation, falling 4-1 to the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday. That ended a six-game point streak that included beating the Senators last Saturday in Ottawa, where the Wings were the most engaged emotionally and physically they’ve been during the first two weeks of the season.
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“I think it’s exciting,” Wings forward David Perron said. “We’ve got to find a way through these games, it’s not going to be perfect all the time. That’s why I’m excited. I think heading into next game and seeing how we react.
“We felt like maybe we deserved more against Seattle, I don’t know if we did that enough (against Winnipeg). It’s going to be a good test to see how we react. It wasn’t going to be smooth sailing the whole time. For me, you get excited as you get older to find ways through these times.”
Head coach Derek Lalonde said he is “not alarmed” that the Wings have lost in overtime (5-4 to the Kraken on Tuesday) and in regulation this week, because “we did do some pretty good things. Our looks were there, it just didn’t go in.”
Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck (Commerce) made 35 saves, giving up the lone goal because of Lucas Raymond’s determined play at the crease.
“It was a big goal by Razor,” Perron said. “It was exactly what we talked about, getting someone to net-front. He did that to perfection. We have to do that a little more.”
The Wings are likely to face Boston goalie Linus Ullmark; last season’s Vezina winner as the league’s top goalie has a 1.74 goals-against average and .937 save percentage in four games for the Bruins, though that includes Thursday’s 4-3 OT loss to the Anaheim Ducks.
“We need a little more traffic,” Lalonde said. “Any good goalie, you need to crowd them and take away space.”
If the Wings want to end their seven-year playoff drought, beating division opponents is key, and especially the better ones: The Bruins won the Presidents’ Trophy last season and set NHL records for wins (65) and points (135).
“It’s us trying to reel in these top teams in the league,” Lalonde said. “And we have an opportunity on Saturday.”
In addition to getting traffic in front of the net, the Wings would do well take another lesson out of this week: Watch the transgressions. They took two late penalties against the Kraken, and spent the first four minutes against the Jets shorthanded.
“It’s not the best,” Perron said. “I think mine, it comes off the faceoff, it’s a high stick. Just, it is what it is sometimes. Definitely have to try to stay out of the box.”
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Red Wings eager to see how they react at Boston Bruins