The Boston Bruins have been a very good hockey team for the entire 2021 NHL season, but there’s one riddle they have struggled to solve: the New Jersey Devils.
The Bruins and Devils have played six times this season. New Jersey won four of those meetings, three of which in regulation. Boston only scored 11 goals in those six games. The B’s will try to change their luck Monday night in Jersey when they meet for the first of a back-to-back set.
Boston, which can clinch a playoff spot with a point Monday night, will make a slight tweak to the lineup. Defenseman Mike Reilly will sit due to a “little bit of a maintenance issue,” per head coach Bruce Cassidy. Jakub Zboril will draw into the lineup in Reilly’s place. Kevan Miller also is in the lineup Monday night, but he won’t play Tuesday night in the second leg of the back-to-back. Brandon Carlo, however, is expected to make his return in the second game.
The Bruins won’t make any changes to its forwards group, meaning Jake DeBrusk remains in and Chris Wagner is out.
Tuukka Rask will start in net for the Bruins on Monday, and he’ll be backed up by Jaroslav Halak. New Jersey is likely to start backup Scott Wedgewood in net. Mackenzie Blackwood gets the night off after stopping 31 of 32 shots in a win Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Here are the projected lines and defense pairings for Monday night’s Bruins-Devils game.
BOSTON BRUINS (30-14-6)
Brad Marchand — Patrice Bergeron — David Pastrnak
Taylor Hall — David Krejci — Craig Smith
Nick Ritchie — Sean Kuraly — Charlie Coyle
Jake DeBrusk — Curtis Lazar — Karson Kuhlman
Jeremy Lauzon — Charlie McAvoy
Matt Grzelcyk — Kevan Miller
Jakub Zboril — Connor Clifton
NEW JERSEY DEVILS (17-27-7)
Janne Kuokkanen — Jack Hughes — Yegor Sharangovich
Pavel Zacha — Nico Hischier — Jesper Bratt
Miles Wood — Michael McLeod — Nathan Bastian
A.J. Greer — Jesper Boqvist — Nick Merkley
Ryan Murray — Damon Severson
Will Butcher — Connor Carrick
Kevin Bahl — Ty Smith