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Devils Game Preview #2: New Jersey Devils vs Boston Bruins

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After a shootout loss in their first game back to hockey in 10 months on Thursday, the Devils will get a rematch against the Bruins and look to turn this one into a win.

Boston Bruins v New Jersey Devils Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (0-0-1) versus the Boston Bruins (1-0-0)

The Time: 1:00 PM

The Broadcast: TV - MSG+, NHL

Our First Game:

Alright everyone. I’ve read all the comments, and I have one thing to say: we all need to chill out a bit. The vast majority of our team has not played in nearly a YEAR. They’ve all only had a few weeks to adjust to a new coach, new system, and new teammates. We have multiple guys who’ve never played on this team before. We have several players missing or who did not play, including top players like Nico Hischier. And we still took the Boston Bruins all the way to a shootout.

Now is not the time to start writing off the season, planning trades, or breaking out the tank gifs. We saw arguably huge improvements in players who struggled last year, Mackenzie Blackwood was lights out as usual, Yegor Sharangovitch was stunning, and many of the players who weren’t stellar, like Palmieri, Severson, or Gusev? We know they’re usually great! There’s a LOT of rust in the gears after that long of a layoff. Nico Hischier, Jesper Bratt, and Sami Vatanen are just around the corner. Will Butcher didn’t even play. We have guys like Nick Merkley, Mikhail Maltsev and Nolan Foote on our taxi squad that are ready to jump in and will be eager to make a strong impression. I know we’ve had some down years so it’s easy to jump on the SS Oh Well We Suck, but let’s all agree not to do that just yet. Deal?

On to Today’s Game!

The Lineup:

Yesterday’s practice lines did not change from Thursday’s game, so we can expect to see:

Sharangovitch - Hughes - Palmieri
Johnsson - Zacha - Gusev
Wood - Zajac - Boqvist
Kuokkanen - McLeod - Bastian

Subban - Murray
Kulikov - Severson
Smith - Tennyson

Blackwood

I have two comments to make about these lines. First, I know a lot of us are of the opinion that these offensive lines did not work on Thursday. Given the short camp together, I’m in favor of letting them have more than one game to see if they can gel before switching things up, especially since they’re going to change when Hischier and Bratt return anyway. Second, I do not like these defensive lines. Specifically, I think Severson should be on a top pairing, and Will Butcher should be playing over Matt Tennyson, even if he has to play on his right side. Personally I think I would prefer a Smith/Severson, Kulikov/Butcher setup, but we’ll see what changes and how things go, and once again these will change when Sami Vatanen is able to join the party.

Boston’s Lineup:

Jaroslav Halak will be in net for the Bruins today. In front of him we’ll expect to see:

Marchand-Bergeron-Bjork
DeBrusk-Krejci-Kase
Ritchie-Coyle-Smith
Frederic-Kuraly-Wagner

Lauzon-McAvoy
Grzelcyk-Carlo
Zboril-Miller

Expectations:

A little less rust and hopefully a lot less giveaways, especially from our top forwards. One thing worth noting is that Bruce Cassidy was not happy about Miles Wood’s goalie interference penalties and Sharangovitch hitting the goalie earlier in the game, which was not a penalty because his name isn’t Miles Wood, so I’m expecting a bit more of a physical response to anyone who goes near Halak today. For what it’s worth, Wood stated his penalties were selfish and he needs to be better with those, and personally the second one was ridiculous— Rask dove after he bumped him. But obviously no one’s going to be happy with their goalie taking hits and the Bruins have never turned down an excuse to get chippy, so I can see this game going down that road. With all the back to backs and constantly facing the same teams all the time this season, I’m expecting that will happen a lot.

Your Take:

What are your expectations for this game? Who are you looking to be better today? How do you feel about the lineup? Leave your thoughts and predictions in the comments below, and thanks for reading!