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Ice Breakers: Bruins-Devils, Tuesday March 30th

The Bruins (34-29-12) hit the road this evening to finish up a back-to-back set of games, facing off against the New Jersey Devils (44-26-5).

Like last night’s opponent, Buffalo, who handed the B’s a crushing 3-2 home loss, New Jersey also has already clinched a playoff spot. They did so with a win Saturday over the Canadiens in Montreal, which the Devils immediately followed up with probably their worst outing of the year, a 5-1 defeat to the Flyers. The five goals given up matched a season high for New Jersey. The Devils will surely be looking to right the ship after a very lackluster performance.

Time to dig in deep and check out a few pre-game notes before they drop the puck this evening…

  • New Jersey has won all three meetings with Boston this season, all by one goal a piece.
  • The Devils clinched their 13th straight playoff appearance Saturday, the longest streak in the East. With a win tonight, they tie idle Pittsburgh atop the Atlantic Division.
  • Boston, on the other hand, is fighting for their playoff lives. Just two points separate them from ninth place Atlanta, with Boston still having a game in hand over the Thrashers. Atlanta will be in Toronto tonight to face off with the Maple Leafs in a game where Bruins fans wish BOTH teams could lose.
  • The Bruins will be without newly re-signed defenseman Andrew Ference for the third straight game tonight, as he did not make the trip with the team, due to a groin strain. For New Jersey, the Devils hope to see forward Andrew Peters back in the lineup, that is of course if Peters can see at all. His eye was scratched in a fight in Thursday’s game with the Rangers, causing Peters to miss the team’s weekend road trip. He is listed as day-to-day.
  • Tonight’s goaltender matchup will likely feature Tuukka Rask back in the starting spot, after having to relieve Tim Thomas in last night’s loss. Thomas was pulled after giving up three soft goals, all on just 14 shots. Rask will likely be up against Martin Brodeur, who saw some time on the bench this past weekend as well, after getting pulled after two periods in Philadelphia’s 5-1 win over the Devils Sunday. Brodeur (41-24-4, 2.37GAA) is 9-2-0 with a 1.96GAA in his last 11 starts against Boston. He is backed up by Yann Danis (3-2-1, 2.06GAA).
  • Scoring for the Devils is led by newly acquired winger Ilya Kovalchuk (39G, 39A), who is just one goal away from notching his sixth straight 40-goal season. After Kovalchuk on the stat sheet is U.S. Olympian Zach Parise (35G, 39A), center Travis Zajac (23G, 39A), and U.S. Olympic captain Jamie Langenbrunner (18G, 42A).
  • For Boston’s offensive attack, lately it has been led by center David Krejci and captain Zdeno Chara, who both are on four-game points streaks (Krejci = 3G, 4A, Chara = 2G, 3A in that time). Also, defenseman Dennis Seidenberg has scored in consecutive games for his new team, with those two goals matching his goal total throughout his time with Carolina before this season’s trade deadline deal.

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