Tonight’s NBCSN battle between Boston and New Jersey (7:30 p.m. ET) features a team that’s been dominating and another that’s climbing their way up the ladder in the Eastern Conference.
The Bruins you know all about by now. Whether they’re starting Tim Thomas or Tuukka Rask in goal, opponents are going to have a hard time scoring goals. Both goalies have been dominant this year with Rask actually putting up better numbers than Thomas. That’s hard work to outdo the guy that was Mr. Everything last year for the Bruins.
If the goaltending wasn’t enough, the litany of players the Bruins throw at you to attack and play defense is disturbingly good. The Bruins have nine players with 20 or more points this season and they have, by far, the best goal differential in the league scoring 55 more goals than they’ve allowed. Tyler Seguin, Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton… You name them, they’re coming after you to score. And, oh yeah, Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg are back on defense waiting to punish you too.
New Jersey’s efforts to win in this one are going to have to be doubled. Luckily for them they’ve got a capable goalie tandem of their own in Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg. Yes, they’re old but with their veteran wiles and skills they’ve done well to get the Devils back into the heart of the playoff standings.
Offensively, the Devils have enough to get it done in Patrik Elias, Zach Parise, Adam Henrique, and Ilya Kovalchuk. The trick for the Devils is maybe to not go on the power play. They’ve scored 18 power play goals this year (second worst in the league) and allowed 12 shorthanded goals (worst in the league). That kind of effort against the Bruins penalty kill is going to get the Devils killed.