The Matchup – The New Jersey Devils (5-10-2) face off against the Boston Bruins (8-5-1) in Boston. This is the second meeting between the two teams this season. The Bruins lead the season series, 1-0-0.
The Last Devils Game – The Devils defeated the Edmonton Oilers, 4-3, in overtime Friday night at the Prudential Center. The Devils overcame deficits of 2-0, 2-1 and 3-1 to tie the game in the third period. With the game in overtime, Ilya Kovalchuk drew a tripping penalty on Dustin Penner. The frustrated left-winger, who flubbed a shootout attempt on Wednesday night, blasted a slap shot by Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk for the game-winning goal.
The Last Bruins Game – The Bruins were blanked by the Ottawa Senators, 2-0, on Saturday night in Ottawa. Erik Karlsson broke a scoreless tie in the second period, and Daniel Alfredsson added an insurance goal in the third period. Brian Elliott stopped 31 shots for the win.
The Last Devils – Bruins Game – The Bruins defeated the Devils, 4-1, on October 26 at the Prudential Center. Dainius Zubrus broke a scoreless tie at 3:45 of the second period, putting the Devils ahead, 1-0. But the Bruins would roar back, scoring four straight goals to jump ahead, 4-1. Tim Thomas stopped 31 shots for the win.
Tonight’s Matchup – The Devils come in off a big win over the Oilers on Friday, overcoming three deficits to win the game in overtime. It wasn’t the best game in the world, but the team continued to battle and fight back. It was one of the first times all season we’ve seen some resolve and life from this Devils team. A switch must have flipped, because they’re 2-1-1 in their last four games, a reflection of the increased quality of play and the confidence of the team. If the Devils can win tonight, it’ll be their first winning streak of the season.
Tonight’s matchup won’t be easy, as the Devils face one of the best goalies in the league. On the season, Thomas is 8-1-0 with a minuscule 1.45 goals-against average and a .957save percentage. He’s been almost unbeatable, and he’s looks like he regained his Vezina form from two years ago. In his career against the Devils, Thomas has rather pedestrian numbers. He’s 5-5-0-3 with a 2.43 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage.
Both teams are pretty even, and they’re both dealing with injuries to key players. Like most games, the Devils need to jump on the Bruins early. Make Tim Thomas and that defense work. New Jersey needs to mirror that effort in their end as well. During Friday night’s game, the defense allowed several great scoring opportunities, allowing Oilers forwards to drive the puck into the slot. The Devils need to be stronger in their own zone, because making a comeback against Thomas will be way more difficult then scoring on Dubnyk.
For the opponents view of tonight’s game, check out Something’s Bruin.
Gametime is 7:00 p.m., and you can catch all the action on MSG Plus. Here’s a guess at tonight’s possible line combinations, based on the past few days of practice:
Ilya Kovalchuk – Travis Zajac – Alexander Vasyunov
Patrik Elias – Jason Arnott – Mattias Tedenby
Brian Rolston – Dainius Zubrus – David Clarkson
Rod Pelley – Adam Mair – Stephen Gionta
Colin White – Henrik Tallinder
Andy Greene – Anton Volchenkov
Olivier Magnan – Matt Corrente