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Preseason Game #5 Preview: Boston Bruins @ New Jersey Devils

The Devils enter the second half of the preseason schedule with a date at home against the Boston Bruins. With competition ramping up and roster spots on the line, who has the edge?

NHL: New Jersey Devils at Boston Bruins
Brad Marchand, when he’s not being a troll, is really good at hockey
Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils host the Boston Bruins. SB Nation Blog: Stanley Cup of Chowder

The Time: 7:00 PM ET

The Broadcast: TV - The Devils Official App, ESPN+ (out of market, local market blackout restrictions apply). RADIO - Devils Hockey Network

The Last Devils Game

The Devils fell to the New York Rangers 2-1 on Friday night. I wrote in my recap that aside from a brilliant performance in net by Mackenzie Blackwood and Jack Hughes doing Jack Hughes things, there wasn’t a whole lot of positives to take from this one.

The Last Bruins Game

The Bruins blanked the Flyers 4-0 Saturday afternoon. Linus Ullmark pitched a shutout, stopping all 21 shots he saw. Marc McLaughlin and John Beecher each scored twice for Boston, while former Devils forward Pavel Zacha picked up an assist.

The Last Devils-Bruins Game

The Devils hope to play meaningful games this season. The last “meaningful” game they played was on March 31 last season. This statement is technically accurate as it was the final day of last season where the Devils were not mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. It was also a game that Lindy Ruff referred to as “our own playoff”.

So how did it go? It was atrocious, as I wrote in my recap back then.

I get that we’re entering Week 2 of the preseason and the games technically don’t count, but I would hope the Devils who played that night and play again tonight have a response for one of the most embarrassing losses of the 2021-22 season. That would include Lindy Ruff, who waited until the Devils were down 7-1 to call a timeout to try to settle the team down or rally the troops or whatever the point of that pointless timeout was. I guess things were still going according to plan at 6-1 Boston. Yes, I’m still mad about this one lousy aspect of one lousy game months later.

That sentiment about hoping the Devils have a response? That would also include the litany of forwards and defensemen who played that night who routinely lost board battles, got outworked, made poor decisions with the puck, and defended poorly. I would hope they get better goaltending than what Nico Daws provided that evening. The Devils have mostly played well this preseason, but we saw some of these bad characteristics turn up during the loss Friday against the Rangers. I don’t think I’m asking too much to see a competitive effort, particularly with an NHL-caliber goaltender in net.

Tonight’s Lineups

The Devils held an open practice for Black and Red members on Sunday. According to the team’s website, they mostly focused on special teams and situational hockey. As a result, I don’t have line combinations like we typically would from practice. I would imagine we’ll learn the Devils lineup later today at the morning skate. If we do, I’ll update this article at that time.

In case you missed the previous two preseason games, these are the Devils line combinations and defensive pairings they’ve skated against the Rangers.

If you missed it late Friday night, the Devils announced cuts after the Rangers game. By my count, the Devils roster now stands at 45, including PTOs and Jonathan Bernier, who likely begins the season on Injured Reserve.

Forwards (25): Nathan Bastian, Jesper Boqvist, Jesper Bratt, Graeme Clarke, Jack Dugan, Nolan Foote, Joe Gambardella, Mason Geertsen, Brian Halonen, Erik Haula, Nico Hischier, Alexander Holtz, Jack Hughes, Andreas Johnsson, Michael McLeod, Dawson Mercer, Ondrej Palat, Brian Pinho, Zach Senyshyn (PTO), Yegor Sharangovich, Aarne Talvitie, Tomas Tatar, Tyce Thompson, Miles Wood, Fabian Zetterlund

Defensemen (15): Kevin Bahl, Ryan Graves, Jeremy Groleau, Dougie Hamilton, Thomas Hickey (PTO), John Marino, Simon Nemec, Nikita Okhotiuk, Robbie Russo, Damon Severson, Jonas Siegenthaler, Brendan Smith, Michael Vukojevic, Reilly Walsh, Tyler Wotherspoon

Goaltenders (5): Mackenzie Blackwood, Jonathan Bernier, Nico Daws, Akira Schmid, Vitek Vanecek

Final Thoughts

What do you think about tonight’s matchup? Who do you want to see play? Please feel free to leave a comment below and thank you for reading!

Update #1

Similarly to the Montreal game last week, tonight’s game will be available through the Devils official app.

Update #2

Here are the lines from the Devils morning skate, per Amanda Stein

I do think it makes sense to get some other looks with the roster as we inch closer to the start of the regular season, so I don’t mind getting Mercer a look at 2C, Holtz away from Hughes, Bastian an audition as 4C, and Bahl being paired with Marino since that will likely be who he is paired with if he makes the team. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments though.