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Ice Breakers: Bruins-Devils, Monday March 15th

The road continues for the Black and Gold this evening, as they take their act to the Garden State to skate with Ilya Kovalchuk, Martin Brodeur, and the rest of the New Jersey Devils (40-24-13). The Bruins (30-25-12), who have gone a mediocre 2-2-1 so far on their season-long seven-game road trip, wrap up this voyage with back-to-back affairs. The team will fly to Raleigh after tonight’s game to take on Carolina tomorrow night.

Both New Jersey and Boston are coming off disappointing performances over the weekend. The Bruins couldn’t do enough to keep pace with the Canadiens Saturday, losing 3-2, while the Devils fell to the lowly Islanders, 4-2. New Jersey’s had an odd march through their March schedule, with huge wins over San Jose and division rival Pittsburgh, while also losing to the likes of Edmonton and the New York Islanders. A date with the B’s might be exactly what the Devils need though, having won eight of the last 11 meetings over Boston, including a pair of 2-1 victories in this season’s two previous meetings.

Let’s now jump into some pre-game notes, leading up to tonight’s “date with the Devils”…

  • Our likely goaltender matchup this evening will feature the two backup goalies from the U.S.-Canada gold medal game, with reigning Vezina Trophy winner Tim Thomas, pitted against one of the all-time greats, Martin Brodeur (37-22-3, 2.36GAA). Devils backup goaltender Yann Denis (3-2-0, 2.20GAA) got just his fifth start in Saturday’s 4-2 loss to the Islanders. Brodeur is 8-2-0 vs. Boston in his last 10 games, with a 1.95GAA.
  • Scoring for New Jersey is led by the newly acquired Ilya Kovalchuk (36G, 34A), whose five goals and five assists in the last eight games have helped the Russian gain some confidence in his new uniform. Kovalchuk has already faced the Bruins three times this season, as a member of the Thrashers, and has two goals and three assists in that trio of games. Behind Kovalchuk on the stat sheet is U.S. Olympic star Zach Parise (31G, 36A), center Travis Zajac (21G, 37A), and U.S. Olympic captain Jamie Langenbrunner (16G, 40A).
  • The Bruins will be without Marc Savard (concussion) and defenseman Andrew Ference (groin) tonight, but winger Miroslav Satan is likely to play. Satan vs. the Devils??? How evil! (Sorry, I had to go there…) For New Jersey, Paul Martin (arm) has been out of action since October 24th, but could return in the next week.

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