Stop me if you’ve heard this before: the Boston Bruins have a chance to reclaim first place in the Northeast Division.
This time, however, it could come at the expense of the New Jersey Devils, as they look to sweep the season series tonight at the Prudential Center in Newark.
The Bruins come in one point behind the division leading Montreal Canadiens, who fell to the red-hot Washington Capitals last night. Boston is fresh off a 6-2 whopping of the Carolina Hurricanes, but will look to sure up its defense as they allowed 42 shots against a squad ranked near the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
The Devils, meanwhile, trail the rival New York Rangers by two points for eighth place and are in desperate need of some victories late in the year. They are 1-5-4 in their last 10 thanks in large part to the injury of Ilya Kovalchuk, who practiced with the team yesterday but is still expected to miss tonight’s matchup with a sprained right shoulder.
The Black and Gold won both meetings at the TD Garden, including last Thursday’s 1-0 win in Jaromir Jagr’s debut at the TD Garden. A win tonight could pay huge dividends during the home stretch of the 2013 shortened season.
Gametime: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Prudential Center
TV/Radio: NBC Sports Network/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins (25-9-4, 54 points), Devils (15-14-10, 40 points)
Bruins’ projected lines
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Jaromir Jagr-Gregory Campbell-Brad Marchand
Daniel Paille-Chris Kelly-Tyler Seguin
Jay Pandolfo-Rich Peverley-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Dougie Hamilton
Dennis Seidenberg-Johnny Boychuk
Andrew Ference-Matt Bartkowski
Devils’ projected lines
Patrik Elias-Travis Zajac-Steve Sullivan
Alexi Ponikarovsky-Andrei Lokitonov-David Clarkson
Dainius Zubrus-Adam Henrique-Steve Bernier
Ryan Carter-Steven Gionta-Matt D’Agostini
Bryce Salvador-Anton Volcheknov
Andy Greene-Mark Fayne
Henrik Tallinder-Marek Zidlicky
Bruins to watch
Since he gets his first start since in eight days, let’s look at Anton Khudobin shall we? Whenever Claude Julien has called his number, the 5-foot-11 netminder has delivered. The Russian netminder is 8-3-1 on the year with a 2.07 goals against average and a .929 save percentage. Not bad for someone who had seven career starts prior to the 2013 campaign.
After scoring the game-winner in the first meeting, Jaromir Jagr looks to continue his production since donning the Black and Gold. The 41-year old has a goal and two assists in three games and clicked nicely with Brad Marchand Monday night. Will that last though if and/or when Patrice Bergeron returns to the lineup? (see more in the Bruins linkage)
Devils to watch
Since Kovalchuk’s injury, the Devils have struggled putting the puck in the net; scoring just 12 times in seven games since. Head coach Peter DeBorer will need to find offensive production soon, otherwise New Jersey might be watching the playoffs from home for the second time in three seasons – and just one year removed from an appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals. Perhaps DeBorer will lean on Patrik Elias (10 goals, 20 assists), who’s always been a thorn on the Bruins side, and David Clarkson (13 goals, 8 assists) for prodcution.
Looks like there’s more good news on the way for Bruins fans as Bergeron is working out again on the ‘road to recovery’ from his fourth concussion (Joe Haggerty/CSN New England).
According to Darren Dreger, Carl Soderberg signed his three-year deal with the Bruins, and the Days of Y’Orr crew couldn’t be happier.
Kristin Tullo of The Hockey Guys examines the lack of production from key players during the Devils’ slump.
With Alexi Ponikarovsky and Steve Sullivan getting a second go-around in New Jersey, Michael Gwizdala of The Hockey Writers takes a look at the top five Devils who returned for a second act.
Tweets of interest
Haggs tweets a pic (via Instagram) of a barbecue joint that is perhaps the only redeeming quality in Newark.
A Dinosaur BBQ franchise: the best thing to happen to Newark…like ever instagram.com/p/X7nwbnrBlx/
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) April 10, 2013
And Mike Miccoli of The Hockey Writers is excited to see Gregory Campbell on the second line again (okay, not really).
Happy Wednesday. Greg Campbell is still a top-six forward. Bruins Hockey.
— Mike Miccoli (@MikeMiccoli) April 10, 2013