DAB Pregame: Devils Return Home To Face Bruins

Travis Zajac and the New Jersey Devils will look to build off their 4-3 OT win Monday night as they host the Bruins tonight in Newark. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

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Matchup Preview

After a thrilling 4-3 overtime win against the Minnesota Wild Monday night, the Devils return home to face a Boston Bruins team facing a couple of key injuries. They’ll be without Brad Marchand and Torey Krug, arguably two of the team’s best players and doesn’t take into account David Backes, who’s out after having surgery to remove a portion of his colon due to diverticulitis.

The Bruins come into tonight’s contest looking to find some consistency in their game. They’re 4-4-2 in their last ten, although they’ve won their last two games. Meanwhile, the Devils will look to build off an impressive win in Minnesota and add to their division-best 27 points against a team they’ve had struggles against in recent years. However, the Devils will be without key forward Kyle Palmieri, who will miss the next 4-6 weeks, after sustaining a broken foot blocking a shot on Monday night.

Projected Lines

Boston

Heinen/Bergeron/Pastranak
Debrusk/Krejci/Cehlarik
Vatrano/Nash/Acciari
Schaller/Kuraly/Swarz

Chara/McAvoy
O’Gara/Carlo
Postma/Miller

Khudobin

New Jersey 

Hall/Zajac/Bratt
Henrique/Hischier/Gibbons
Wood/Boyle/Stafford
Zacha/Coleman/Hayes

Greene/Santini
Moore/Severson
Butcher/Lovejoy

Schneider

What to Watch

  • John Hynes has used the Greene/Santini pairing in an almost strictly shutdown role this season and I don’t expect that to change tonight. Especially since the Devils will be facing Patrice Bergeron. Boston has controlled 59 percent of shot attempts, as well as 59 percent of scoring chances when he’s on the ice. Even without Marchand, he’ll still have David Pastrnak on his wing, which remains the biggest scoring threat for Boston, so expect Greene and Santini to a heavy dose of the Bergeron line tonight.
  • It appears the Devils will face Bruins’ backup goaltender Anton Khudobin tonight, and that’s not necessarily a good thing. Khudobin has been the Bruins best goalie this season posting a 5-0-2 record with a .935 save percentage. He’s coming off back-to-back wins where he stopped 65/67 shots combined. If the Devils are to come out with a win, they’ll have to get their fair share of shots at Khudobin because he hasn’t let many past him to start this season.
  • After one of his best performances of the season, it doesn’t surprise me to see Adam Henrique moved up to a line with Travis Zajac tonight. The trio of Zacha/Zajac/Bratt struggled mightily against Minnesota at five-on-five, and Henrique certainly earned a promotion back to a top-six spot after putting up three points against the Wild. On the flip side, Zajac has struggled in his three games since returning from injury and has an ugly 35.2 percent Corsi For in three games. Henrique and Zajac have had success together as a PK unit in the past, so uniting them on a line seems like a good idea and could help Zajac get going.

Tonight’s game can be seen on MSG+2  at 7PM

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