The Bruins and Devils take to the TD Garden ice Thursday night in a key early-season Eastern Conference matchup. Boston comes in on the heels of an emotional, come-from-behind 4-3 shootout victory at Ottawa, while the Devils are coming off a lackluster effort in a 4-1 loss to the Sabres.
If history is any indication, this promises to be a game of inches between the two defensive-minded teams. The Bruins are sure to have their hands full, as the Devils are 5-0 on the road this season.
The Bruinis, however, aren't expected to be facing Martin Brodeur, who will rest in favor of former Brown University goalie Yann Danis.
Thursday, Oct. 29, 7 p.m. ET (NESN)
TD Garden, Boston, MA.
Bruins (5-4-1) 11 points. Fourth place Northeast Division, tied for eighth in the Eastern Conference
Devils (6-4-0) 12 points. Third place Atlantic Division, tied for sixth in the Eastern Conference
This is the first of four meetings between the two clubs. They will meet again at the TD Garden in a noon matinee on Nov. 27. They'll then play at the Prudential Center on March 15 and March 30.
The Bruins were 2-1-1 against New Jersey last season.
Boston leads the all-time series 63-34-19-9
The Bruins still haven't won or lost two games in a row through the first nine games of the season. They lost the opener and have traded wins and losses since, leaving them at 5-4-1.
New Jersey is the sixth Eastern Conference team that the Bruins have faced this season. So far, the B's are 3-1-1 in conference play. They are 2-3-0 against Western Conference teams.
Devils head coach Jacques Lemaire rejoined the organization this past offseason after nine seasons in Minnesota. He had originally coached the Devils from 1993-1998, winning a Stanley Cup with New Jersey in 1995.
Devils forward Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond has the longest name in the NHL and is the only player who has a hyphenated first and last name in the league.
Marco Sturm–David Krejci–Mark Recchi
Brad Marchand–Patrice Bergeron–Michael Ryder
Daniel Paille–Vladimir Sobotka/Trent Whitfield–Blake Wheeler
Shawn Thornton–Steve Begin–Byron Bitz
Zdeno Chara–Derek Morris
Andrew Ference–Dennis Wideman
Mark Stuart–Matt Hunwick
Zach Parise–Travis Zajac–Jamie Langenbrunnner
Brian Rolston–Dainius Zubrus–Matt Halischuk
Niclas Bergfors–Rob Niedermayer–David Clarkson
Andrew Peters–Rod Pelley–Ilkka Pikkarainen
Johnny Oduya–Bryce Salvador
Colin White–Andy Greene
Mike Mottau–Mark Fraser
Tim Thomas is 4-3-0 with a 2.97 GAA and .902 save percentage. Thomas has one shutout this season.
Tuukka Rask is 1-1-1 with a 3.17 GAA and .899 save percentage
Martin Brodeur is 6-4-0 with a 2.58 GAA and .909 save percentage
Yann Denis is expected to get his first start of the year on Thursday night.
Injured center Marc Savard (four goals, three assists), forward Patrice Bergeron (three goals, four assists) and defenseman Derek Morris (one goal, six assists) lead the Bruins with seven points. Morris has five points (one goals, four assists) in his last three games.
Center Steve Begin (two goals, four assists), winger Michael Ryder (three goals, three assists) and forward Marco Sturm (two goals, four assists) are all tied for second on the team in scoring with six points.
Defensemen Zdeno Chara has five assists.
The Bruins have been outscored 31-28 in their first ten games, shootout goals excluded.
The Bruins are averaging 2.80 goals per game and allowing 3.10 goals per game.
The Bruins' power play is now 6-for-40 on the season. They are scoring at a 15 percent clip on the man advantage and rank 27th in the NHL.
The Bruins have not allowed a power-play goal in the last three games. Boston has allowed 10 power-play goals on 41 opportunities against them, and they're now killing off opponents’ power plays at a 75.6 percent clip, ranking them 22nd in the NHL.
Forward Zach Parise (six goals, seven assists), leads the Devils with 13 points.
Forward Travis Zajac (five goals, five assists) is second on the team in scoring with 10 points.
Defenseman Andy Greene (one goal, three assists) leads the Devils’ blue line with four points.
The Devils are being outscored 26-25 through 10 games.
The Devils are averaging 2.50 goals per game and allowing 2.60 goals per game
The Devils' power play is 7-for-41 on the season and is scoring at a 17.1 percent clip. The Devils’ power play is ranked 23rd in the NHL.
The Devils' penalty kill has allowed eight power play goals on 41 opportunities, is killing off power plays at a 79 percent rate and is ranked 13th in the NHL.
Forward Marc Savard was placed on long-term injury reserve with a broken left foot last Wednesday and will miss four to five more weeks.
Forward Milan Lucic was placed on long-term injured reserve on Oct. 18 and had successful surgery on a broken index finger. He is expected to miss four to five weeks.
Patrik Elias (groin) is on injured reserve and will be out three to six more weeks.
Forward Jay Pandolfo is out four to six weeks with a dislocated shoulder.
Defenseman Paul Martin is out four to six weeks with a broken left arm.
On Oct. 29, 1972 Johnny “Chief” Bucyk scores his 400th goal.
"There’s always a couple of things, and obviously confidence is a big thing in the power play like anything else. I think right now we need to have the confidence to make the plays, move the puck quick and take the shots when they are there. We have the tendency sometimes to over pass, so hopefully we keep working at it."
–Bruins head coach Claude Julien on the Bruins struggling power play.
The Bruins know they are up against a pesky and stingy Devils team.
Patrice Bergeron has his game on track, but his linemates want to find the twine as well.
The Bruins are getting back to basics, says Kathryn Tappen.
The Devils continued to struggle at home Wednesday night in a 4-1 loss to Buffalo.
The Devils aren't blaming their poor effort Wednesday night on the absence of Jay Pandolfo and Paul Martin.
Patrik Elias hopes to start practicing again next week.
Kevin Whalen of "Pucks and Pitchforks" dishes on all things Devils on NESN.com's "Across Enemy Lines."
Former Boston University star Chris Drury is playing a different role with the Rangers this season.
Former NHL goaltender Dominik Hasek may not be playing in the Winter Olympics.
The rising loonie is making a strong case for more Canadian NHL teams.
Did the 2004-05 lockout really change the game that much?
The Bruins are coming into this game riding the momentum of gaining five out of a possible six points in their last three games, and they haven’t lost in regulation since Oct. 17 at Phoenix. The Devils, meanwhile, were hot until a flat 4-1 loss to Buffalo on Wednesday. The Bruins must harness this momentum and play with the same intensity they have brought in their last three games.
Another factor, as it is every night, will be special teams, and while the Bruins' penalty kill seems to be coming together, their power play is still struggling. As Julien pointed out, Boston must create and take more chances on the man advantage. Creating traffic in front of Brodeur and getting shots through a defense that is one of the best at blocking them will be key on the power play. That's something they worked on extensively at practice this week, as Naoko Funayama explained on Tuesday.
While the last game showed that the Bruins still have the heart and resilience they need, this game could be an indication of whether they can bring those elements to their game on a regular basis.