NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, March 15th (All times eastern)
Boston Bruins (30-25-12) at New Jersey Devils (40-24-3), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Devils learned last time out that they can't take any opponent lightly. New Jersey will keep that in mind tonight when it shoots for a third straight win against Boston, while the Bruins try to avoid losing their grip on the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot at Prudential Center.
Coming off big wins over the Rangers and Penguins, the Devils visited the Islanders on Saturday to take on a New York club that at the time sat 14th among the 15 teams in the East. However, New Jersey was dealt a 4-2 setback and failed to move into a tie with Atlantic Division-leading Pittsburgh. The Devils now trail the Pens by four points in the standings after Pittsburgh defeated Tampa Bay on Sunday.
Mike Mottau and Ilya Kovalchuk each found the back of the net for the Devils, who play two straight and five of their next six at home, where they have won three straight.
With New Jersey playing the second of back-to-back games, former Islander netminder Yann Danis filled in for the resting Martin Brodeur and allowed four goals on 29 shots in defeat. It was Danis' first start since Feb. 2.
"We came out and played a real strong first 15 minutes of the game," said Devils forward Jamie Langenbrunner. "We were really in control and then we stopped playing for you know 35 minutes or whatever it was. We can't do that."
Brodeur should resume his starting role tonight and is 23-15-0 with eight ties and a 2.43 goals-against average lifetime versus the Bruins. He won his lone start versus them this year, stopping 32 shots on Nov. 27 in a 2-1 shootout victory.
That win was the Devils' second in as many games versus the Bruins this year. New Jersey has won four of five and eight of its last 11 overall versus Boston as well as four of the last five played in the Garden State.
The Bruins head to Jersey with just a one-point edge over the Rangers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East, though New York is idle tonight and has played two more games.
Boston has dropped three of its last four, including Saturday's 3-2 setback in Montreal. Tuukka Rask made 24 saves, but also misplayed a dump in off the boards in the third period that allowed Montreal to score and take a two-goal edge. Milan Lucic later scored in the frame, but the Bruins failed to net the equalizer.
Blake Wheeler also tallied for the Bruins, who fell to 2-2-1 on a seven-game road trip, their longest of the season.
"We had a slow start, no question about that, we came out so sluggishly," said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. "The whole first period put us behind by a margin we find hard to come back from, but even so we battled hard."
Rask was making his second start in a row, but it is unknown who will start tonight. Rask has started three of Boston's seven games since the Olympic break and is 0-0-2 with a 1.73 GAA in two games (1 start) lifetime versus the Devils. He made 36 saves in November's shootout loss.
Tim Thomas, meanwhile, has started the other four games since the break and is 4-4-3 with a 2.36 GAA in his career against New Jersey.
03/15 10:31:24 ET