NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, April 2nd
(All times eastern)
Boston Bruins (40-28-11) at New Jersey Devils (44-28-7), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Now that the New Jersey Devils have clinched a spot in the
playoffs they'll try to hold onto the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Devils will get a chance to extend that lead tonight, when they welcome
the Boston Bruins to the Prudential Center.
The Devils secured a postseason berth with Tuesday's win over the New York
Islanders. New Jersey is currently two points ahead of the New York Rangers
for the fourth spot in the East -- the final seed to have home-ice advantage
in the opening round of the playoffs. Both the Devils and Rangers have three
games left in the regular season and Jersey would like to increase their
advantage over the idle Blueshirts tonight.
New Jersey is also still alive in the race for the Atlantic Division crown,
but has little margin for error as it is five points behind Pittsburgh. The
Devils have a game in hand over the Penguins, who host Philadelphia tonight,
but Pittsburgh can clinch the Atlantic title with a win or a New Jersey loss.
Meanwhile, the Bruins come into this evening's test tied with Philadelphia for
the final two playoff seeds in the East. The clubs each have three games left
in the regular season and are just one point ahead of ninth-seeded Washington.
Boston could actually clinch a playoff spot tonight with a win and if
Carolina gets no points against Tampa Bay.
The Devils have notched back-to-back wins following a season-high, five-game
losing streak. New Jersey notched an overtime win Tuesday on Long Island as
Zach Parise scored on a deflection just 29 seconds into the extra session to
lift the Devils to a 2-1 victory over the Islanders.
Patrik Elias also scored for New Jersey, which will compete in the playoffs
for the 11th consecutive season. Marty Brodeur turned aside 21 shots for the
New Jersey is 23-14-2 in its inaugural season at the Prudential Center, but
has dropped three of four and four of its last six home tests. The Devils have
a road game Friday in Philadelphia before closing out the regular season with
Sunday's home test against the Rangers.
The Bruins will try to get back on the right track tonight after having a
three-game winning streak snapped Sunday in Buffalo. Andrej Sekera's goal 39
seconds into overtime helped the Sabres to the dramatic 2-1 victory at HSBC
Boston attempted to rush the length of the ice, but a costly turnover in the
neutral zone led to the end of the contest. Mike Weber poked the disc ahead to
Thomas Vanek, who cruised down the left wing and pulled up in the circle. He
then held the disc, before a cross-ice pass to Sekera, who rifled a shot past
Alex Auld on the blocker side.
Dave Krejci had the lone goal and Auld stopped 28 shots for Boston.
The Bruins are 19-13-7 as the visiting team this year and are playing the
middle test of a three-game road trip tonight. After closing the swing Friday
in Ottawa, Boston will then cap its regular-season slate with Saturday's home
test against the Sabres.
New Jersey is 2-1 against the Bruins this year and has taken eight of 11 and
nine of the last 13 meetings between the clubs. Boston has also been defeated
in two straight and four of five in the Garden State, although this is only
the Bruins second trip to the Prudential Center.
04/02 14:49:57 ET