The Detroit Red Wings are the basket case of the NHL.
The Atlantic Division-leading Bruins (11-2-2) will engage the last-place Red Wings (4-12-1) on Friday night at Little Caesars Arena.
Detroit and Ottawa were tied with nine points, but the Senators had three games in hand going into Thursday night's encounter with the equally lowly L.A. Kings.
The Red Wings are 1-8-1 in the last 10 games and extended their losing streak to four with a 5-1 loss to the Rangers in New York on Wednesday night.
Detroit has scored 35 goals and allowed 68 for a differential of minus-33, the highest in the NHL. The Wings have the 26th-ranked power play with a 12.7% success rate and the NHL's worst penalty kill unit.
Detroit has allowed 18 goals on 54 power plays for a dismal 66.7% success rate. Goalie Jimmy Howard, a Calder Cup finalist and Rookie of the Year in 2010, is 2-8-0 with a 3.99 goals against average and a .887 save percentage.
The Bruins have the league's best power play unit with 16 goals on 54 advantage opportunities for a stellar 31.4% success rate.
* We know Detroit, we know what their record is and we are aware they have struggles recently,” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. * But they also beat us three times last year so we are not thinking that we are going to go in there and have our way.”
The Red Wings' wide range of deficiencies extend from back to front, but they do have a potent first line centered by Dylan Larkin (4-8-12) with Anthony Mantha (9-6-15) and Tyler Bertuzzi (6-8-14) on the flanks. They account for 19 of the Wings' 35 goals.
* Larkin has a lot of speed for a center in this league and you can see he is trying to be a good leader for them,” said Cassidy. * Mantha is a big guy and he's learned how to use his body and Bertuzzi has always been a hard guy to play against.
* He's on pucks and he's greasy so we will have our hands full with that line.”
Cassidy said that Jake DeBrusk, Joakim Nordstrom, Par Lindholm, David Backes, John Moore and Kevan Miller will not make the trip to Detroit.
DeBrusk played through a lower body injury in the Bruins' 5-4 loss at Montreal on Tuesday and he is undergoing medical evaluation.
Bruins general manager Don Sweeney recalled forwards Peter Cehlarik and Zach Senyshyn from Providence to fill the roster. Cehlarik will take DeBrusk's left wing slot on the second line with David Krejci and Danton Heinen.
Cassidy said Brett Ritchie will drop to the fourth line with Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner while center Charlie Coyle's third line is in flux. Jaroslav Halak will make his seventh start in goal.