(Sports Network) - The Detroit Red Wings broke out of an offensive slump in Friday's opener of a home-and-home series against the Boston Bruins. The hosts aim for a similar outing this afternoon as the first-place clubs do battle at Joe Louis Arena.
The Red Wings had been outscored 12-4 in losing three of four prior to Friday's engagement at TD Garden. Shut out twice in that span, Detroit broke out with its highest goal output in five games with a 6-1 triumph.
"I thought we had a lot more urgency. It was great to see the guys respond like they did tonight," said Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom.
Todd Bertuzzi scored twice to reach 700 career points and both Henrik Zetterberg and Jiri Hudler notched a goal and two assists. Tomas Holmstrom and Danny Cleary added a goal and assist each and Jimmy Howard made 25 saves.
"It was just a well-played game by everyone and I just tried to stand back there and make saves," said Howard after facing the Bruins for the first time in his career.
Detroit, which is 16-8-4 at home this year, leads Nashville by five points for first place in the Central Division, while Boston's edge over second-place Montreal in the Northeast standings is a much slimmer one point.
David Krejci tallied his first goal in 21 games for the Bruins, who couldn't maintain the momentum from Wednesday's rousing 8-6 win over Montreal and lost for the second time in six contests to split a four-game homestand
"We weren't skating tonight. We were always behind on the puck, and even when we had possession I felt we gave them time to make plays," said Bruins head coach Claude Julien.
Tuukka Rask started in net, but allowed five goals on 19 shots through two periods. Tim Thomas made 14 saves in relief and should get the start tonight. He is 1-2-0 with a 2.72 goals-against average versus the Red Wings.
Bruins forward Daniel Paille will serve the final contest of his four-game suspension for a hit to the head versus Dallas on Feb. 3.
Boston will play seven of its next eight on the road and is 16-6-4 as the guest this year thanks to victories in four of its last five on the road.
The Red Wings have won three of their last four versus the Bruins and snapped a two-game series home losing streak with last year's 2-0 victory behind 29 saves by Chris Osgood, who will be honored before tonight's game for becoming the 10th goaltender in league history to reach 400 career wins.
Osgood hit the mark on Dec. 27, is currently on injured reserve due to sports hernia surgery undergone in early January.