It’s hard to get into this evening’s matchup without acknowledging the abysmal display New Jersey put on last night in Columbus. The outcome of what could have been the Devils worst-played game of the season, coming at the worst possible time, has dropped the Devils to wildcard territory in the standings, and makes tonight’s game all the more important. The Devils, who last beat the Bruins in January 2017, lost the first two matchups against them this season. not only would the win be significant for their playoff contention, but the Devils would close out their season series against the Bruins at 1-1-1, and register their first victory against them in over a full calendar year.
Looking back at last night’s matchup, there certainly are some things I imagine will (and should) change. Coach Hynes giving Eddie Lack the nod in net comes to mind. Although neither goalie has played more than one game against the Bruins in their respective carriers, Kinkaid’s struggles have been very well-documented since filling in for the injured Cory Schneider. Despite maintaining a three-game win streak, Kinkaid is 3-3-0 (pulled during one game), having posted a 3.00 goals against, and .890 save percentage. Although Lack has barely seen any action this season, Coach Hynes doesn’t have much to lose by giving Lack a chance.
Boston on the other hand, remains one of the league’s hottest teams, having won four out of their last five games going into tonight. Like the Devils, Boston is looking to shake off a regulation loss of their own they suffered yesterday.
Facing another road warrior…For the second time in three games, the Devils play one of the league’s best road teams. After succumbing to the Calgary Flames (15-6-5 on the road) in a 3-2 bout on Thursday night, the Bruins brandish a 15-5-4 away record, and haven’t lost on the road in regulation since December 4.
Will bad blood boil over…? Having served the five-game suspension issued for his vicious headshot to Marcus Johansson, Bruins forward Brad Marchand will be suiting up against the Devils tonight. While I expect the fans to shower him with boos every time he touches the puck, I’d be interested to see how the Devils players respond to his presence in the lineup tonight. Granted he’s not to be taken lightly (having registered a goal and two points, and has 11 points in his last six games going into tonight), it’d be a good gesture to see one of the Devils players defend their injured teammate by making a statement tonight.
Can the Devils solve Boston’s goaltending…? Despite losing their previous two matchups against the Bruins this season, it’s not like the Devils haven’t put up an effort. New Jersey outshot Boston by wide margins in both games, and lead in that category against the Bruins this season 81-53. Maybe it’s puck luck, maybe it’s the quality of their shot opportunities, the Devils have to maintain this degree of offensive pressure, but perhaps take a different approach in going about doing so.
Where to Watch
MSG +2 (Local)
When to Watch