In the first matchup between the two, the Bruins came out on top by a final score of 2-1. Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron recorded the goals to help give the Bruins the victory. The second time the clubs squared off saw the Devils cruise to a 3-0 win.
This matchup is crucial for each side as the playoffs are getting closer. The Bruins are sitting third in the Atlantic Division, but have the Toronto Maple Leafs and Florida Panthers right behind them. A win will provide the Bruins will some breathing room over their division rivals.
For the Devils, the playoff window is closing fast as they sit nine points outside of the playoff picture with 19 games remaining on their schedule. To make the postseason show, the Devils will have to go on an extraordinary run over the next few weeks, so they should be expected to come out hard against the Bruins.
New Jersey Devils at Boston Bruins
TD Garden-7:00 p.m. E.S.T
Broadcast Channels-NESN, MSG+, 98.5 The Sports Hub
2016-17 Season Series: Tied 1-1
New Jersey Devils-25-26-12- 62 Points
Road Record: 12-14-6
Hot Players: Kyle Palmieri, Travis Zajac
Key Injuries: Pavel Zacha
Taylor Hall-Travis Zajac-Kyle Palmieri
Miles Wood-Adam Henrique-Beau Bennett
Michael Cammalleri-Blake Coleman-Stefan Noesen
Joseph Blandisi-Kevin Rooney-Devante Smith-Pelly
Andy Greene-Ben Lovejoy
Jon Merrill-Steven Santini
John Moore-Damon Severson
Boston Bruins-33-25-6- 72 Points
Home Record: 16-14-0
Hot Players: Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci
Key Injuries: None
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Backes
Peter Cehlarik-David Krejci-David Pastrnak
Frank Vatrano-Ryan Spooner-Drew Stafford
Tim Schaller-Dominic Moore-Riley Nash
Zdeno Chara-Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
Kevan Miller-Colin Miller
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap] At the trade deadline earlier this week, the Bruins acquired veteran forward Drew Stafford from the Winnipeg Jets. After sitting out of the last game, Stafford will be making his Bruins debut against the Devils. Coach Bruce Cassidy has elected to place Stafford on the third line with Frank Vatrano and Ryan Spooner. Stafford has 13 points in 40 games for the Jets this season, but fans are eager to see what Stafford can do with his new team.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap] Anton Khudobin, the Bruins’ backup goaltender, was the first skater to leave the ice during the morning skate, which indicates he will be starting against the Devils. Khudobin got off to a rough start this season and had to spend some time in the AHL to improve his overall game. He has only played in two games since returning to the varsity club but has won them both. Khudobin will be looking for his third win in a row and fourth win of the year when he takes the crease this evening. This season, he has a 3-5-1 record to go along with a 2.84 GAA and a .896 save percentage.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap] Despite ranking towards the bottom of the NHL in goals per game, the Devils have offensive weapons that can produce goals. Leading the offensive charge for the Devils is Taylor Hall. In his first season with the Devils, Hall leads the club with 41 points and 14 goals. Hall has not registered a point in his past two contests, so he will be looking to get back on the score sheet against the Bruins.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap] The Devils come into this contest on a five-game losing streak, including a 1-0 loss to the powerful Washington Capitals in their last outing. Four of the past five losses have been frustrating one-goal games against talented clubs. The Devils’ last win came on Feb. 18 against the New York Islanders. With the playoffs slipping farther away from the Devils, they need to stop the losing streak to keep their season alive.
Anton Khudobin first goalie off the ice, so it looks like he'll be starting tonight vs. New Jersey. Hold onto your hats everybody
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) March 4, 2017
Neither club can afford to lose as the Bruins try to remain inside the playoff race and the Devils try to keep their season alive. If the Devils hope to come away with a victory, they will need to focus on attacking backup goaltender Anton Khudobin. Khudobin has not seen game action in about two weeks. If they can jump on him early, they may see a soft goal or two squeak past the Bruins’ netminder.
For the Bruins, they will need to make sure to start strong and get the first goal. Under Bruce Cassidy, the Bruins have started games well and have played with the lead most of the time, helping them win seven of their past nine contests. On top of the strong start, the Bruins will need to focus on keeping the Devils away from the net early and let Khudobin get comfortable in the net.
Anthony Pagliarulo is a Boston Bruins contributor for The Hockey Writers. He is a Massachusetts native and a Worcester State University alumni. You can follow Anthony on Twitter @APags87.