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Game Preview #11: New Jersey Devils vs the Boston Bruins

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Fresh off a win and with almost the whole team back from covid protocol, Mackenzie Blackwood and the Devils will try to stunt the Boston Bruin’s offense and come away with another win.

New Jersey Devils v New York Rangers Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images

The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (5-3-2) against the Boston Bruins (10-2-2).

The Time: 7:00 PM

The Broadcast: MSG+2, ESPN+

The Opposition’s SBN Blog: Stanley Cup of Chowder

The Lineups:

With players in and out of covid protocol and just the general entropy that is the NHL, tonight’s lineup prediction is a little better than drawing names out of a hat and sticking them in a line but here we go! As of last night, Maltsev and Merkley were moved to the taxi squad and everyone is off of covid protocol except for Nico Hischier. Ryan Murray, who was out with a non-covid illness on Tuesday, is also good to return.

For the Good Guys:

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

Murray - Subban
Smith - Severson
Kulikov - Vatanen

Blackwood

Based on our lineups before covid struck, we might see those middle lines shuffled to have Zacha at wing alongside Zajac and Palms and Rango back with Kuokkanen and Goose as we did against the Flyers, but given Zajac and Goose are just returning and somebody’s line will have to face down the Bruins top line, I opted to shelter them a bit and tried to put a more defensively sound line together at 2nd. We’ll see what Ruff thinks of course, but this is my best stab at what we might do.

The Bad Guys:

Boston’s last game was a 4-3 loss to the New York Islanders on Saturday, so they’re plenty rested coming into tonight. They’ll also be hungry for goals, as their 5v5 scoring has been severely lacking recently. The only exception is Bergeron and Marchand, who have been the same unstoppable force as usual. Even their powerplay, which is normally lethal, was stunted into a shorthanded goal for the Islanders. Good news for the Devils, whose special teams have been little short of embarrassing lately. The Bruins struggling to produce outside of the top line is also good news for the Devils, whether or not Bruce Cassidy opts to separate the ‘perfection line’ (seriously, who started calling them that and how much money do they bet on the Bruins every year?) of Bergeron, Marchand, and Pastrnak. I’m personally betting that whether they start the game apart or not, they’ll end up back together at some point when they aren’t able to score on Mac, but here’s how they looked in practice yesterday:

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

Lauzon - McAvoy
Moore - Carlo
Clifton - Miller

Rask

Your Thoughts

Any ideas on tonight’s lineup? Who do you think will impress the most tonight? Leave your thoughts and predictions in the comments, and thanks for reading!