Weakened New Jersey Devils Defense Gives Bruins Opportunity to Get Over Offensive Drought

The Bruins had been riding high for the majority of the young season, but they’ve lost four out of the last five games and have only scored once in the past two contests.

Scoring only one goal in two games isn’t the end of the world, but this is a team that has found the back of the net more than once in all but three games. Plus, the drought came within one week, so some fans are starting to panic.

Monday may be the perfect time for the B’s to face the New Jersey Devils.

The Devils are 28th in the league standings and are missing some key players on both offense and defense. Defensemen Bryce Salvador, Mark Fraser and Matt Taormina will not be playing, nor will  playmaker Zach Parise and captain Jamie Langenbrunner.

The Devils’ loss of Taormina is certainly Boston’s gain. The rookie has played well in his first season, earning around 20 minutes of ice time per game and knotting three goals and two assists. He’ll be replaced by Matt Corrente, who is returning after breaking his hand in October.

The one player who hasn’t struggled this season is Martin Brodeur. Don’t let the numbers fool you — he’s been as strong as ever despite his 4-8-1 record and 2.71 GAA. Brodeur simply hasn’t been getting much help from his defense.

Over the summer, the Devils hoped to strengthen their blueliners by signing the hard-hitting Anton Volchenkov and veteran Henrik Tallinder, but they’ve been of little help so far.

Volchenkov missed 12 of the team’s 17 games after getting hit in the face with a shot from Nicklas Backstrom in the fourth game of the season. Since his return, he’s been a huge improvement over the AHL players that have been drifting in and out of the lineup in his place.

Tallinder, though, hasn’t lived up to his reputation from Buffalo and currently owns a minus-9 rating.Tallinder played better in the Devils’ 4-3 win over the Oilers and even made a great move to block the passing lane on a 2-on-1, but none of his three teammates were around to stop Taylor Hall from getting the loose puck past Brodeur.

Last year’s breakout performer, Andy Greene, has been less effective on the ice. Greene, who is currently minus-12, hasn’t ended a season with a negative plus-minus since 2006-2007 when he was a minus-1. Greene does have two goals and six assists, but his defensive skills have been lacking in the first 17 games of the season.

Monday night’s game will give the Bruins a chance to face a depleted Devils squad and get back to their offensive ways. With a Devils defense still trying to fit together, the Bruins just might do that.

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