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Game Preview – Game 39: Boston Bruins @ Your New Jersey Devils

New Jersey Devils vs Boston Bruins

New Jersey Devils (21-15-2, 44 points) vs Boston Bruins (24-10-1, 49 points)
7:30 PM EST
TV: NBC Sports Network
Radio: WFAN 660 AM

Matchup:

This will be the second of four games between the New Jersey Devils and Boston Bruins this season. The two teams last met on November 15, in Boston, which saw the defending Stanley Cup Champions sneak past the Devils, 4-3.

Shorthanded Goal Blows Devils Third Period Lead: 

The New Jersey Devils kryptonite this season has been third period leads and shorthanded goals. Both of these combined to give the Devils only their second overtime loss this season.

So far this season, the Devils have given up 12 shorthanded goals. No other club has given up more than five shorthanded goals. Currently, the Devils are on pace to break the season-record of shorthanded goals against, which is 22 shared by three teams: the 1984-85 Pittsburgh Penguins, the 1991-92 Minnesota North Stars, and the 1995-96 Stanley Cup Champions, the Colorado Avalanche.

On the bright side, the Devils currently are tied with the Carolina Hurricanes for scoring the most shorthanded goals as a team, so far this season, with seven. Last year, the Devils only had five shorthanded goals all season.

No matter how atrocious the powerplay unit seems this year by not converting on powerplay chances and giving up shorthanded goals, the team is still doing a lot better than they were at this point last season. Just be thankful that the Devils aren’t 19 games below NHL-.500, like they were at one point last year.

Projected Devils Lineup:

Parise (C) – Henrique – Kovalchuk (A)
Sykora – Elias (A) – Zubrus

Tedenby – Carter – Clarkson
Boulton – Sestito – Janssen

Salvador – Larsson
Tallinder – Fayne
Taormina – Foster

Brodeur
Hedberg

*Note: Travis Zajac is expected to be a scratch tonight due to expected soreness in his achilles tendon.
——————–

The Latest on the Boston Bruins:

After a slow start, the defending Stanley Cup Champions found themselves with the longest winning streak in the league earlier this season, 10 games. After that was ended, a new streak started when the Bruins looked to win their eighth consecutive game in their last game of 2011 on Saturday against the Stars, but the Stars had different plans handing the Bruins a 4-2 loss. During the Bruins’ seven-game win streak, the Bruins outscored their opponents by a 32-8 margin, but were outshot 244-212.

If you’re a Devils fan reading this, the intimidating stat is the Bruins are 21-3-1 in their last 25 games and are 10-2-0 in their last 12 road games.

Tonight’s game will be the Bruins first game of 2012, and only their third in the past 12 days. The question going into the game is: will the rest benefit the Bruins or will they be relaxed?

Projected Bruins Lineup:

Lucic – Krejci – Horton
Marchand – Bergeron – Seguin
Pouliot – Kelly – Peverly
Paille – Hamill – Thornton

Chara – Boychuk
Seidenberg – Corvo
Ference – McQuaid

Thomas
Rask

Follow the Devils Army Generals on Facebook and on Twitter for more in-depth coverage of Jersey’s Team.

Game Preview – Game 16: Your New Jersey Devils @ The BruCrew

New Jersey Devils vs Boston BruinsNew Jersey Devils (8-6-1, 17 points) @ Boston Bruins (8-7-0, 16 points)
7:00 PM EST
TV: MSG Plus 2
Radio: WFAN 660 AM

Matchup:

Tonight marks the first of four games, and first of two in Boston, between the Devils and the Bruins. Last year, the Bruins took the season series 3-1. The Devils beat the Bruins in the final game of the season in a game which meant nothing for either side and saw the Bruins rest some key players, including Tim Thomas (who was 3-0 against the Devils last year).

Devils Win Again in Shootout:

In their last game, the New Jersey Devils looked to be heading for another loss. The Devils found themselves down 2-0 in the second period, until Petr Sykora snapped a shot off a faceoff to pull the Devils within one. Ryan Carter then deflected a shot with just over a minute left in the second period to tie the score.

The Devils held on and Johan Hedberg made remarkable save after remarkable save to force the game into OT and a shootout.

The Devils sent out Zach Parise, Adam Henrique and Patrik Elias in the shootout with Parise scoring. However, Alex Ovechkin scored for the Washington Capitals, so a fourth round was needed. The fourth shooter was chosen by Assistant Coach Adam Oates, and it was David Clarkson. Clarkson was able to put the puck past Capitals goaltender Michael Neuvirth giving the Devils the extra point and the win.

Will Ilya Kovalchuk Play Tonight?:

I wish I could tell you either yes or no.

After injuring his groin in the Devils’ 4-3 win over Philadelphia two weeks ago, Ilya Kovalchuk started participating in full-team practices with the Devils. He was skating as an extra forward with Rod Pelley. During this morning’s skate, Kovalchuk was skating as an extra forward again, BUT was a part of the first powerplay unit when the team ran through powerplay drills.

Originally, Head Coach Peter DeBoer, who officially confirmed the injury to Kovalchuk is a groin injury, said that Kovalchuk would NOT play tonight. However, he will now let Kovalchuk participate in the pre-game warmup.

DeBoer had an idea to use Kovalchuk in only powerplay instances tonight, but felt that Kovalchuk would get stiff while sitting on the bench in between powerplay opportunities.

Odds are Kovalchuk will be scratched again tonight, but it will be a game time decision.

Against the Bruins:

All-time the Devils are 41-44-15-2 against the Bruins, and are 19-23-8-2 when playing in Boston.

Patrik Elias is the all-time leading scorer for the Devils against the Bruins with 39 points (21 goals, 18 assists) in 50 games played.

Ilya Kovalchuk, however, has the most career points against the Bruins with 40 points (22 goals, 18 assists) in 37 games played.

Johan Hedberg is 4-8-2 in his career against the Bruins with a 2.93 GAA.

Projected Devils Lineup:

Parise – Henrique – Palmieri
Sykora - Elias - Zubrus

Tedenby - Carter – Clarkson
Zharkov - Mills - Janssen

Greene – Larsson
Tallinder - Fayne
Volchenkov – Salvador

Hedberg
Brodeur

——————–

Lucic Not Suspended:

The talk of the NHL world this past weekend was whether or not Bruins forward Milan Lucic was going to get suspended for his hit on Buffalo Sabres’ goaltender Ryan Miller. Miller left the game and was later diagnosed with a concussion.

Lucic met with Brendan Shanahan on Monday to discuss disciplinary actions, but the decision was made not to suspend him. Shanahan felt that there wasn’t evidence of the hit being outstandingly bad that warranted a suspension.

Many in the NHL and fans were angry with Shanahan’s decision and believe that if an injury occurs on the play, there should be a suspension.

Seguin earns NHL First Star of the Week:

The Bruins hot offense has been sparked by NHL sophomore, Tyler Seguin.

Seguin, the second overall draft pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, has scored seven goals in his last four games.

He currently has the league’s top plus/minus at +14, is tied for second in the league in goals (11)  and tied for fourth in the NHL in points (20).

Projected Bruins Lineup:

Marchand – Seguin – Bergeron
Lucic – Krejci – Horton
Thornton – Campbell – Caron
Peverly – Kelly – Hamill

Chara – Boychuk
Corvo – Seidenberg
Ference – McQuaid

Thomas
Rask
Follow the Devils Army Generals on Facebook and on Twitter for more in-depth coverage of Jersey’s Team.

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