Neither Boston's Loui Eriksson nor Detroit's Todd Bertuzzi were much of a factor in the first meeting between the teams, but both seem poised to play bigger roles as the Bruins host the Red Wings again Monday night.
Eriksson and Bertuzzi each went without a point as goals from Jordan Caron, Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug and Brad Marchand helped Boston earn a 4-1 victory Oct. 5 to end a four-game skid against Detroit.
The Bruins (3-1-0) traded former No. 2 overall pick Tyler Seguin to Dallas in the offseason for Eriksson, who didn't get on the scoresheet in his first three games. The winger, though, scored the game-winning goal 49 seconds into the third period Saturday to help Boston beat Columbus 3-1.
"I've had some slow starts in other years,'' Eriksson said. "If you create chances out there, it'll come. We did that (Saturday), and I was able to get one.''
Coach Claude Julien knew it would take some time for Eriksson to mesh with his new teammates after playing his last seven seasons with Dallas.
"He was really good,'' Julien said. "(He made) smart plays, (was) competing better, stuff like that. That's what we talked about with him. You've got to give guys some time to get adjusted, to get acquainted and feeling comfortable. You see a guy like him after a few games finding his stride.''
Eriksson has 11 goals and eight assists in his last 19 games against Detroit (3-2-0), which got a solid performance from Bertuzzi in Saturday's 5-2 victory over Philadelphia.
Coach Mike Babcock elevated Bertuzzi to the top line with Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk prior to the contest and dropped Justin Abdelkader to the second. Bertuzzi scored the game's first goal, ending the Red Wings' 0-for-10 drought on the power play to start the season.
He also played a team-high 5 minutes, 24 seconds on the power play as Detroit went 3 for 7 with the man advantage.
"I thought he was steady," Babcock said. "The big thing with Bert, as long as he gets to the net and he takes care of the puck, then things will work out real good for him. It was good for us, and then Abby playing on another line gave us another good line."
Zetterberg scored twice and added an assist, while Datsyuk had a goal and two assists.
"When you haven't scored on the power play and you have that many weapons it gets a little bit frustrating at times," Bertuzzi said. "It's just a matter of winning the little battles down low, getting the puck back and shooting the puck."
Defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who had a goal and two assists Saturday, said Bertuzzi's presence is going to be important moving forward.
"We're going to need him to use his big body, especially playing in the East where there's a lot of big boys," Kronwall said.
Zetterberg scored in the last meeting with Boston and has four goals and six assists in his last seven games against the Bruins.
Jimmy Howard is 3-1-0 with a 2.21 goals-against average in four career starts versus the Bruins after stopping 33 shots in the last meeting as he opposed Tuukka Rask, who made 25 saves.
Rask, who has surrendered one goal in each of his four games this season, is 1-1-1 with a 2.91 GAA in three career starts against the Red Wings.
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- Todd Bertuzzi
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