The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (50-21-8) versus the Boston Bruins (61-13-5).
The Time: 8:00 PM EDT
The Broadcast: TV - ABC
The Last Devils Game
The last Devils game was an 8-1 demolition of Columbus. A very good team played a very bad team, and the very good team won. By a lot. Timo Meier and Jack Hughes both had 2 goals to get up to 40 goals and 95 points respectively. Tatar had a goal overturned for offsides, and then scored another one that counted. Graves had a goal in his 300th NHL game, Severson added his first career shorty, and Erik Haula scored as well. John had the recap of the blowout win here.
The Last Bruins Game
On the same day that the Devils beat Columbus 8-1, the Bruins played the Leafs. They won 2-1 on a Pastrnak goal in overtime after a power play. They played a tough opponent and won, just as they have all year. They need just 1 more win to tie the record at 62.
The Last Devils-Bruins Game
These teams have played twice this season, one game after the other on December 23rd and 28th. I was at the game on the 28th, where the Devils unfortunately lost 3-1. Formeer Devils Pavel Zacha had an ENG to seal the deal. Frederic and Bergeron were the other Bruins goal scorers, while Nico Hischier scored the lone Devils goal. The game on the 23rd was another loss for the Devils. Hughes struck first with a PPG, but Boston scored 4 straight goals in the 2nd. The Devils scored 2 in the 3rd but failed to tie the game. The Bruins have destroyed everybody this season, but hopefully the Devils can get a win and avoid being swept in the season series.
How Are The Bruins Doing?
As I’ve mentioned, the Bruins are doing quite well, to say the least. Just one of the greatest regular seasons in NHL history. A near-60 (3 goals in 4 games would get him to 60) goal scorer, vezina-caliber goaltending from Linus Ullmark, and a strong defense has caused them to surpass everyone’s expectations and earn 61 wins in 78 games. Many people expected them to miss the playoffs, and instead, they’ve clinched the presidents’ trophy.
The offense: They are 2nd in the league in goals for. As mentioned, David Pastrnak has 57 goals in 78 games, behind only Connor McJesus for the Richard race. Their power play was pretty good early in the season, but it has fallen down to 13th, just behind the Devils’ 12th ranked power play. Brad Marchand is 2nd with 63 points in 69 games. David Krejci had no problem coming back from the Czech league with 56 points in 70 games. Bergeron is Bergeron. Pavel Zacha hit 50 points, and Jake DeBrusk is back in form after a tough last season.
The defense: They are #1 in goals against and their penalty kill is 1st in the league. Both goaltenders have .920 or higher save percentages, with Ullmark a vezina candidate. Hampus Lindholm is having a career year and is a Norris candidate. McAvoy is McAvoy. Dmitry Orlov has 15 points in 20 games since arriving. This team is good, and it is very likely that if the Devils make it to the Eastern Conference Final, this is the team they’ll face. That could potentially be a fantastic series that I would very much look forward to watching.
What do you think about tonight’s matchup? Thoughts on the Bruins presidents’ trophy winning year? Think these teams will meet in the ECF? Prediction for tonight’s game? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and thank you for reading.
Taylor Hall will make his return to the Bruins’ lineup tonight. The former Devils MVP is not the same player he was in 2017-18, but he would still be a top 6 player on pretty much any team except for Boston, where he has been pushed to the 3rd line. But that’s more of a statement about Boston’s depth than Hall’s play. This season he has 16 goals and 20 assists for 36 points in 58 games. I expect him to be on the 3rd line next to Charlie Coyle tonight.
Also, the Devils have officially signed Luke Hughes! However, he will NOT play tonight. He is expected to play in one of the remaining 2 games after tonight, but he will not make his NHL debut tonight.