3/4/17 Game Preview: New Jersey Devils vs. Boston Bruins

The New Jersey Devils (25-26-12) will look to snap their five-game losing streak when they face the Boston Bruins (33-25-6) at the TD Garden in their season series finale. The two teams have played twice before: New Jersey lost the initial meeting at TD Garden back in December, 2-1. Kyle Palmieri scored the lone goal for the Devils, and Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron scored for the Bruins. Cory Schneider made 34 saves on 36 shots (.944 save percentage) and Tuukka Rask made 28 saves on 29 shots (.966 save %). Their second meeting was a 3-0 shutout for Schneider, his second of the season, who made all 22 saves. P.A. Parenteau, Sergey Kalinin, and Taylor Hall all scored goals for New Jersey.

Tonight’s goalie matchup will likely be Schneider (19-19-10, .914 save %) vs. Anton Khudobin (3-5-1, .896 save %); Schneider is a definite and Khudobin was the first goalie off the ice this morning. There aren’t many other significant lineup notes. The Devils will dress 11 forwards and 7 defensemen. Michael Cammalleri is out for about a week with an undisclosed upper body injury, according to Coach Hynes, which is a tough break for him. Pavel Zacha did skate this morning but is ruled out for tonight’s game; he is a possibility for tomorrow night’s game against Columbus. New Devil Dalton Prout will make his debut tonight.

New Jersey is coming off of a painful 1-0 loss to the league-leading Capitals in D.C. Schneider made huge saves all night long against a high-powered offense and gave his team a very good chance to win. Boston is coming off a 2-1 loss to the Rangers, despite outshooting them 33-21. Brad Marchand scored the lone goal (his 29th of the season) and Rask had another good night.

Boston has the 13th best power play at 19.8% and the #1 penalty kill unit in the league, boasting an 86.0% kill rate. New Jersey sits 18th in terms of power play success (18.1%) but it has been much better than the rest of the season despite going 0/4 against Washington two nights ago. Their penalty kill sits at 17th (80.6%). If the Devils are going to win tonight, it’ll have to be at 5-on-5.

Boston is barely holding on to third place in the Atlantic Division. They are two points behind Ottawa in second and eight behind Montreal, who, despite going on a slide, still hold on to first place. Toronto is only two points behind Boston, Florida is behind three. None of those teams are quite out of the playoff picture yet. New Jersey’s playoff conversation has already ended. Both Atlantic and Metropolitan divisions have been tough to play in, the Metro more so. Those wildcard spots will likely come down to at least the last week of the season.

It’s time to let the young kids play. Miles Wood, Steven Santini, Joseph Blandisi, Kevin Rooney, Blake Coleman, Stefan Noesen, and Pavel Zacha (whenever he returns to the lineup) have earned their spots in the NHL and should continue to play. Puck drops at 7PM.

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