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Ice Breakers: Bruins-Devils, Monday November 15th

The Bruins (8-5-1) will try to snap out of their recent funk tonight at TD Garden, when they host the very funky New Jersey Devils (5-10-2), a team that is off to one of their worst starts in franchise history.

Boston’s coming off their first shutout of the season, on the wrong end of a 2-0 loss to the Senators on Saturday. It was goalie Tim Thomas’s first loss of the year, after winning his first eight games to open the season. The B’s are now 1-3-1 in their last five contests.

New Jersey will be looking for their first back-to-back wins of the young season tonight, after edging Edmonton on Friday in overtime, 4-3. Ilya Kovalchuk, largely a bust through the early part of this season, scored the game-winner, snapping a seven-game goalless streak for the high paid Russian.

So it’s a battle between two struggling squads tonight on Causeway Street. Before they do battle though, let’s run through a few pregame notes to get you ready for tonight’s action.

  • The B’s won the first meeting of the year over New Jersey back on October 16th, winning in the Garden State, 4-1.
  • Boston has allowed the first goal in each of their last five games and they’ve been outshot by their opponents in their last seven contests.
  • The Bruins have been very good at bottling up Ilya Kovalchuk lately. He has gone without a point in his last four tangles with Boston.
  • The mighty Russian is being paid like a leading scorer, but he’s looking up at three of his teammates on the scoresheet thus far. Veteran winger Patrik Elias leads the way for New Jersey (2G, 9A), having put up six assists in his last four games. Following Elias is center Jason Arnott (6G, 4A), and captain Jamie Langenbrunner (3G, 6A). Kovalchuk (4G, 5A) rounds out the team’s top four point-getters.
  • Langenbrunner missed the team’s win on Friday with an upper body injury, leaving him questionable for tonight’s tilt with Boston. Defenseman Matt Carrente is getting closer to making a return from his broken hand, but is unlikely to suit up for the Devils tonight. Five others remain on injured reserve for New Jersey, most notably forward Zach Parise, who tore his right meniscus a few weeks back. He’s hoping to return to the ice this season.
  • The team’s All-World goalie Martin Brodeur has been battling the injury bug as well lately, returning to the ice for Friday’s win over Edmonton after missing the team’s previous two games with a bruised elbow. Expect Brodeur (4-8-1, 2.71GAA) back in goal tonight for New Jersey. The team’s backup netminder is Johan Hedberg (1-2-1, 4.64GAA).
  • Judging from the team’s morning skate, look for Tim Thomas (8-1-0, 1.45GAA) to be back in net tonight for the B’s.

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