NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, March 1st (All times Eastern)
New Jersey Devils (35-23-4) at Boston Bruins (37-21-3), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Yet another shutout loss has dwindled Boston's lead atop the Northeast Division to just a single point. The Bruins aim to rebound this evening with their first season sweep of the New Jersey Devils in 26 years, but won't be able to do that unless they find a way to score some goals.
Boston wrapped up a 5-7-1 February with a 1-0 setback to visiting Ottawa on Tuesday. It marked the seventh time that the Bruins have been shut out this season, with five of those coming last month.
The defeat to the division-rival Senators was costly as it pulled Ottawa to within one point of first-place Boston, which has 77 points on the season and had won four straight in the series. The Bruins do still have four games in hand over the Senators.
Tim Thomas was beaten for a first-period goal and ended with 37 saves as the Bruins lost for the fourth time in six games.
"Those first two periods were really painful to watch and to see," said Boston head coach Claude Julien. "Our guys just didn't have any legs and our game was very slow. Even faceoffs, everything, we just struggled in all areas, and then all of a sudden we redeemed ourselves on faceoffs, our game picked up in the third and we found our legs. So hopefully that's a good sign for next game.
"Certainly this is a game we would have liked to have won. We knew the importance of these two points, or what they call four-point games, but we just couldn't muster up enough to get that goal."
The Bruins, though, have outscored the Devils 14-5 in taking three of the four meetings this season. They have won seven of the past eight encounters as well and look to sweep the Devils for the first time since taking all three meetings during the 1985-86 campaign.
Boston has won three straight at home over New Jersey, which sits seventh overall in the East and one point behind Philadelphia in the standings. The Devils will also look to bounce back from a shutout defeat, getting blanked 2-0 by the East-leading Rangers on Monday.
Martin Brodeur faced just 14 shots, but saw one slip by as the Devils suffered their third straight loss overall. New Jersey also saw its seven-game road win streak end in the first of four straight on the road, losing for the first time as the guest since Jan. 10.
"We just have to keep working hard on the road," said Brodeur. "We have some tough games coming up, but we've been playing well on the road so we just have to keep it up."
New Jersey suffered just its second shut out of the season and first since a 3-0 defeat in its season opener back on Oct. 8 versus the visiting Flyers. The Devils are 19-11-1 on the road compared to 16-12-3 as the guest.
Boston is 18-11-2 as the hosting club this season.
03/01 10:45:42 ET