Game Day Preview: Bruins vs. Devils
Thanks to Toronto’s loss to Anaheim Friday night, the Bruins will keep their third place spot intact at least until the Maple Leafs next game on Tuesday against the Red Wings. On Saturday, the Black and Gold will look to help their own cause in the tight Eastern Conference Playoff race when they host the Devils in the third and final game of their homestand.
With an important showdown against the Senators coming up, the Black and Gold are hoping to take care of business against a team beneath them in the standings. Under Bruce Cassidy, the Bruins have done just that in those contests having downed the Canucks, Coyotes and Stars. The last thing they need tonight is for that issue to pop up again especially at TD Garden.
The Senators (two games in hand) and Panthers (one game in hand) are both in action tonight respectively hosting the Blue Jackets and Stars. The Bruins sit two points in back of Ottawa for second in the Atlantic and have a three-point lead over Florida entering tonight.
Gametime: 7:00 pm
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins 33-25-6 (72 points), Devils 25-26-12 (62 points)
Location: TD Garden
Bruins projected lines
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Backes
Peter Cehlarik-David Krejci-David Pastrnak
Frank Vatrano-Ryan Spooner-Drew Stafford
Tim Schaller-Dominic Moore-Riley Nash
Zdeno Chara-Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
Colin Miller-Kevan Miller
Devils projected lines
Taylor Hall-Travis Zajac-Kyle Palmieri
Miles Wood-Adam Henrique-Beau Bennett
Joseph Blandisi-Blake Coleman-Stefan Noesen
Dalton Prout-Kevin Rooney-Devante Smith-Pelly
Andy Greene-Ben Lovejoy
Jon Merill-Steven Santini
John Moore-Damon Severson
– The time has come for Drew Stafford to make his debut with the Bruins. As predicted, the recently acquired 31-year-old power forward will skate with Ryan Spooner and Frank Vatrano on the third line. The former Sabres and Jets winger replaces Jimmy Hayes, who tallied a pair of assists in nine games with Spooner and Vatrano.
– Hayes’ fellow 2015 off-season acquisition, Matt Beleskey, will also be watching tonight’s game from the Level 9 press box as Tim Schaller will return to the lineup after being a healthy scratch Thursday night. Combining for a cap hit of $6.1 million, Hayes and Beleskey haven’t been worth the price of admission. The former continues to suffer from inconsistent play since debuting last year on Causeway street, while the latter hasn’t provided the same physicality and energy since suffering a knee injury against the Sabres in early December.
– With Monday’s contest in Ottawa looming, Cassidy is opting to go with Anton Khudobin between the pipes. Since his recent call-up from Providence, the Bruins backup has won each of his last two starts, including last Thursday in Los Angeles where he made 27 saves in arguably his best performance of the season. As Tuukka Rask gets some needed rest this evening, the Bruins are hoping for another strong performance from the Russian netminder as they look to notch two important points against a Devils squad that is tied with the Canucks as the second lowest scoring team in the league with only 142 goals.