The Detroit Red Wings are enjoying life in the Eastern Conference through two games as they get ready to face its reigning champion from a season ago.
The Red Wings and Boston Bruins never met during that shortened campaign, but that will change beginning Saturday night at the TD Garden in the first of four meetings in 2013-14.
Detroit (2-0-0) won its opener 2-1 at home over Buffalo on Wednesday before rallying from a two-goal deficit for Friday's 3-2 overtime victory at Carolina.
Things figure to get more difficult for the Red Wings with two of their next four games at Boston. Detroit has won the last four matchups between these Original Six clubs, and its addition to the East has definitely drawn the Bruins' attention.
"I think they're an elite team, they always have been," coach Claude Julien told the Bruins' official website. "I think you need to look at, for example, their third line with a guy like (Daniel) Cleary and (Todd) Bertuzzi on the third line, you know you've got some pretty good depth."
"And they're an experienced team, they're a smart team, they play a good, smart game, and that will certainly bring an element of an even bigger challenge for all of the teams in our conference right now."
Detroit showed its experience Friday by not panicking after going down two goals down after two periods. Justin Abdelkader scored in the first minute of the third, Henrik Zetterberg added another with 16.4 seconds left in the period to set up Stephen Weiss' winning tally.
"Got one early, got one late and were able to get one in overtime,'' Weiss said.
The Red Wings had gone four straight periods without scoring before Abdelkader gave Detroit momentum in a pivotal third period in which it held a 16-11 edge in shots.
"We knew we wanted to try to get that first one to get things going,'' Abdelkader said. "I think after we got that, we started getting some more chances, we really came on and obviously, that was a huge goal at the end."
Detroit will try to open with three wins for the second time in three seasons while Boston (1-0-0) seeks to begin with consecutive victories for the second straight campaign.
The Bruins got short-handed goals by Chris Kelly and Patrice Bergeron in Thursday's 3-1 home victory over Tampa Bay. Tuukka Rask made 32 saves.
"Last year was a good year, not a great year," Kelly said. "It's in the past. But I thought everybody fit in well tonight."
Boston announced during that game that defenseman Dennis Seidenberg signed an extension that earns him $16 million over the next four years.
"I wanted to be here. They wanted me here. Both sides gave a little bit," Seidenberg said.
Bruins forward Carl Soderberg did not play in the opener due to an ankle injury that also forced him to miss Friday's practice.
Matt Bartkowski was a healthy scratch Thursday, but the Boston defenseman could make his season debut Saturday.
Jimmy Howard is 3-0-0 with a 1.62 goals-against average against the Bruins while Rask is 0-1-1 with a 4.00 GAA against the Red Wings.