BOSTON (CBS) – The conference leading Boston Bruins (52-17-6) return to Detroit tonight to face the Red Wings, a team that handed the B’s their worst loss of the season in late November in a 6-1 spanking.

Adam Proteau of The Hockey News joined Toucher and Rich Wednesday morning to preview the game as well as look ahead to the playoffs.

In ancient times all roads led to Rome, and in modern NHL times all roads go through Boston in the Eastern Conference, according to Proteau.

However, there is still cause for concern, and it centers mainly around the health of the roster — specifically Zdeno Chara.

Chara is averaging about a minute and a half less ice time over the past 10 games, but whether or not that rest is suitable enough won’t be known until the postseason.

“My only question is does Zdeno Chara burn out as you go through the playoffs? They’ve managed his minutes a little bit better this year, but the Olympics and the combinations of a shorter offseason after the shortened season last year, I think those are all factors for me with Boston.

“They’ve proven themselves to be the class of the east. I don’t even think Pittsburgh with some of their issues should be considered in the same class with them right now.”

After going seven games with Toronto in the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs, the B’s cruised in five games over the Rangers and even swept the Penguins en route to their second cup berth in three years.

During the Blackhawks series, the Chara-Dennis Seidenberg pairing appeared sluggish at times to the faster Chicago team. For Bruins fans, you just hope the 37-year-old Chara doesn’t hit that same wall again this year.

Adam McQuaid’s potential playoff return could force coach Claude Julien to shake up his defensive pairings, but the postseason is all about adjustments, and Proteau thinks you just go with what you got now and mix in McQuaid if you can based on matchups and assignments.

Listen below for the full discussion:



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