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Game 49: Devils @ Boston

The New Jersey Devils travel up to take on the Boston Bruins. According to Gulitti and Chere, this does not include Jay Pandolfo. So I would expect the same lineup that was out there against Ottawa. I don't know who the starter will be, but I see no reason why it wouldn't be Scott Clemmensen again.

The last time these two teams played, the Bruins shutout the Devils in a closely-fought game where the deciding goal came off a really bad break.k. This time, the Devils are hot and the Bruins are, well, still the best team in the East - if not in the league. Do I need to recount it all? They score a ton of goals (3.5 goals/game), they don't let a lot in (2.15 goals/game), they are wicked in even-strength (1.54 goals for/against ratio), they have a ruthlessly efficient power play (25.4%), and their penalty kill is solid (83.4%). In all of these stats, the Bruins are in the top 3 in the league except their kill, which is only seventh best overall.

Yeah, this team is still good. As if there was any doubt.

Stanley Cup of Chowder should be your choice in getting a Bruins' perspective. As usual, the Bruins won their last game - but in overtime - to Washington. SCC's recap is here; and his most recent postings reference the Boston Globe reporting that Phil Kessel is able to practice again. Also, SCC says Michael Ryder is getting over the flu.u. Yes, the Bruins are going to be getting more regulars back soon, possibly for the Devils game. They were without. I hadn't noticed, the 35-8-5 record distracted me.

Anyhow, the Devils have been playing incredibly well with a 6 game winning streak. Zach Parise, among others, has been playing great and he'll need to be great tonight in rushing through the neutral zone. I think the key to tonight's game - other than the obvious (play all 60 minutes, Clemmensen needs to be confident, &c.) - will be how well the Devils respond with Claude Julien's 1-2-2. He has the firepower, the wheels, and most importantly, the players actually listening and respecting him. Therefore, their system has been quite effective. A good way to beat that is throw them off their routine with strong breakout passes and to beat defenders with speed. If this means endless battles along the board for the puck, so be it. The Devils have excelled in that regard this season.

As always, this is the Game Thread. Feel free to leave a comment before, during, and after the game. Just keep it clean, relevant, and in support of New Jersey.