The last time the Bruins visited New Jersey, they rolled to a dominating 6-1 victory on Jan. 4.
Boston has struggled a bit since then, while the Devils are 5-1-0 since that defeat and are primed for a little payback as the Bruins return to the Rock on Thursday.
"There's a lot of games we kind of ran away with, and teams all have pride, and they seek some sort of revenge," Bruins coach Claude Julien said after the club's morning skate at the Prudential Center. "Tonight's no different. When you come in here and beat the Devils 6-1, it's not something you see very often in this building. So we know they're going to be ready for us. We know revenge is on their mind, and that's just a natural thing. Right now what we have to do is make sure that we're ready to play as well as we can, because the other team will be."
The Bruins hope the return of two key forwards will help them shake off of their recent doldrums. The Bruins are just 1-2-0 so far on their current road trip, needing a shootout to beat Florida while losing to Carolina and Tampa Bay, two teams currently tied with the fewest points in the Eastern Conference.
Brad Marchand will be back after serving his five-game suspension and Rich Peverley has rejoined the team after missing the last two games to attend to a personal matter back in Boston.
"Fresh legs, some experienced players as well, guys that play big roles on our hockey club," Julien said of what their return will add to the club. "Both of those guys are also power play and penalty kill players and obviously play a big role on our lines. So no doubt they're a welcome addition right now."
Marchand will return to his customary spot on the left side of Patrice Bergeron's line, with Tyler Seguin on the right wing. Benoit Pouliot, who filled in capably on that line, returns to the third line with Chris Kelly and Peverley. With Marchand and Peverley back, Zach Hamill and Jordan Caron will be the healthy scratches, with Steven Kampfer remaining the odd man out on defense.
Tim Thomas was the first goalie off at the morning skate, indicating he will likely get the nod to start despite a rare shaky performance Tuesday in Tampa.
The Devils will also get a key forward back as high-scoring rookie Adam Henrique returns after missing two games with a groin injury. He will be back centering Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk.
The Devils are still without forward Travis Zajac (Achilles) and defenseman Andy Greene (broken toe), with Mattias Tedenby, Matt Taormina and tough guy Eric Boulton expected to be the healthy scratches. Fellow enforcer Cam Janssen will return to the lineup to replace Boulton and give Shawn Thornton a potential sparring partner as they dropped the gloves early in that Jan. 4 meeting.
Martin Brodeur is expected to start in goal for the Devils.
Marc Joannette and Mike Hasenfratz will be the referees, with Brad Kovachik and Bryan Pancich working the lines.
Projected Bruins lines
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin
Benoit Pouliot-Chris Kelly-Rich Peverley
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg-Adam McQuaid
Andrew Ference-Joe Corvo
Scratches: Zach Hamill, Jordan Caron, Steven Kampfer
Projected Devils lines
Zach Parise-Adam Henrique-Ilya Kovalchuk
Petr Sykora-Patrik Elias-Dainius Zubrus
Steve Zalewski-Jacob Josefson-David Clarkson
Ryan Carter-Brad Mills-Cam Janssen.
Bryce Salvador-Adam Larsson
Henrik Tallinder-Mark Fayne
Anton Volchenkov-Kurtis Foster
Scratches: Eric Boulton, Mattias Tedenby, Matt Taormina
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