Game Day Preview: Bruins vs. Devils
Yesterday’s overtime win over the Pittsburgh Penguins provided the Boston Bruins a sigh of relief, but they’ll quickly have to put that behind them when they host the New Jersey Devils at TD Garden.
Claude Julien shortened his bench during the third period and overtime and gave his top forwards like Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Milan Lucic (just to name a few) more ice time as the Black and Gold were in desperation mode. Julien will no doubt look for that trio to provide another spark against the lowly Devils, but in the second game of a back to back, he’ll still need to have all hands on deck.
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Seth Griffith’s incredible goal highlighted the first meeting between the two teams, but after seeing little ice time towards the end of the game it would seem that he would be the odd man out for Thursday as David Pastrnak makes his return to the lineup.
After notching two crucial points against the top team in the Metropolitan Division less than 24 hours ago, the Bruins will hope to avoid another letdown against a below average squad. For their impressive wins over the Penguins, Red Wings and Predators over the last few weeks, they could not take advantage of teams beneath them in the standings like the Blue Jackets, Hurricanes and Senators. That will need to change soon, and Thursday is a good time to take care of business against a team that’s below the .500 mark.
Here is your complete Bruins-Devils preview.
Gametime: 7:00 p.m.
Records: Bruins 20-15-6 (46 points), Devils 15-20-7 (37 points)
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Location: TD Garden
Bruins projected lines
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-David Pastrnak
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Reilly Smith
Chris Kelly-Carl Soderberg-Loui Eriksson
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Craig Cunningham
Zdeno Chara-Dougie Hamilton
Dennis Seidenberg-Adam McQuaid
Torey Krug-Kevan Miller
Devils projected lines
Adam Henrique-Scott Gomez-Jaromir Jagr
Patrik Elias-Travis Zajac-Mike Cammalleri
Tuomo Ruutu-Dainius Zubrus-Michael Ryder
Jordin Tootoo-Tim Sestito-Steve Bernier
Andy Greene-Adam Larsson
Mark Fraser-Marek Zidlicky
Seth Helgeson-Jon Merrill
Who to watch for Bruins: David Pastrnak
We got a short glimpse of what Pastrnak can prove after he was called up in November. Sure, he only tallied one point in five games before being sent back down to Providence, but the 2014 first round pick created chances, stretched the ice and did what he needed to do during that span.
There was no question that Pastrnak would get another shot with the Black and Gold after he went back to Providence. The 18-year old continued to display his touch with the Baby Bruins. Additionally, he was impressive represented his home country of the Czech Republic during the World Junior Championships notching a goal and six assists in five games.
On Boston.com: After call up, Pastrnak needs to stay for good
Pastrnak was called up earlier in the week and got to skate with Milan Lucic and David Krejci on the Bruins’ first line during practice on Tuesday. The first line right wing spot has been a revolving door for the Black and Gold providing speculation that Peter Chiarelli might look to add another forward to fill the void left by Jarome Iginla after he signed with the Avalanche in the off-season.
What the front office does between now and the trade deadline remains to be seen, but for now it looks like Julien will look to Pastrnak for the time being to provide a spark on that top line, and who can blame him?
Who to watch for Devils: Jaromir Jagr
At 42 years old, Jaromir Jagr is still producing.
The future Hall of Fame forward has been one of the few bright spots for the Devils in 2014-15 as he leads his team in scoring with 25 points (9 goals, 16 assists). Jagr’s endurance continues to impress as he maintains a spot on New Jersey’s top line while averaging 18:30 of ice time per night. Additionally, he’s still getting some minutes on the man advantage and is third on the team in power play points with seven.
With the Devils going nowhere this season, Jagr has stated he’d be open to move elsewhere as we get closer to the trade deadline. Could a reunion in Boston be in the works? Only time will tell…
Game Day Edge: Avoid another letdown
The Bruins’ unofficial slogan for the 2014-15 season has been one step forward and two steps back. For every win over a quality team like the Predators and Red Wings, they follow up with some average efforts against the Blue Jackets, Senators, Hurricanes, Maple Leafs and other teams beneath them in the standings.
The Devils are in seventh place in the Metropolitan Division. The B’s, meanwhile, leapfrogged the Maple Leafs for the final wild card spot after Wednesday’s win over the Penguins. A win Thursday night would give them a three-point lead over Toronto, while the Florida Panthers, who have four games in hand over the Black and Gold, look to gain ground when they travel to Vancouver to face the Canucks.
The second game of a back to back is never easy, but the Bruins need to come out with a fast start and keep their foot on the pedal against the Devils. Otherwise, they’ll take another step back, which is something they can’t afford.
Game Day Video: Relive Griffith’s highlight reel goal from the first Bruins-Devils meeting of the 2014-15 season.