BOSTON, MA - APRIL 4: Tyler Seguin #19 of the Boston Bruins skates with the puck against Peter Harrold #10 of the New Jersey Devils at the TD Garden on April 4, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Rivalry Night on NBCSN: Bruins look to continue dominance over Devils


Throughout the season, NBCSN will feature the NHL’s fiercest rivalries on Wednesday nights. Tonight the Boston Bruins will head to the Prudential Center for a match against the New Jersey Devils at 7:30 p.m. ET.

The Devils got off to a 8-1-3 start this season and haven’t been able to find their groove since. Now they’re on a seven-game losing streak, their worst in 27 years.

New Jersey has fallen to 10th place in the Eastern Conference and are two points out of a playoff spot. The chance to win the Atlantic Division has officially slipped away. Now the Devils’ only hope is that they rebound enough to make the playoffs at all so that they can try to pull off another low-seed run.

First they must accomplish something they haven’t done in quite a while: Beat the Boston Bruins.

This is the third match of 2013 between these two squads and the Bruins took the first two. In fact, the Boston Bruins also swept their four-game series against the Devils last season.

When the Devils play against the Bruins tonight, it will be on New Jersey’s second anniversary of its last win against the club — and that was the Devils’ only win against the Bruins in 2010-11.

While the Bruins don’t need this win as badly as the Devils, it’s still important to them. They’re in a battle with Montreal for the Northeast Division title with the second or possibly even first seed on the line. The Canadiens lost to Washington on Tuesday, giving the Bruins a golden opportunity to gain a narrow edge over them.

With New Jersey slumping, the Bruins’ recent history against the squad, and the fact that Devils star forward Ilya Kovalchuk is sidelined, the odds seem heavily stacked in Boston’s favor. However, the Devils are desperate and that type of team can never be ruled out.

Probable goaltenders: NJD – Martin Brodeur (10-5-7, 2.18 GAA, .908 SV%) | BOS – Anton Khudobin (8-3-0, 2.07 GAA, .929 SV%)

Top scorers: NJD – Patrik Elias (10-20-30, 39 GP) | BOS – Brad Marchand (16-16-32, 37 GP)

Notable Injuries:
Boston – Forwards: Patrice Bergeron (concussion), Marc Savard (concussion) Defensemen: Adam McQuaid (shoulder)
New Jersey- Forwards: Kovalchuk (shoulder)

Niemi blanks Pens, notches two assists in Stars debut

Antti Niemi, Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist

DALLAS (AP) — Antti Niemi recorded his 33rd career shutout and assisted on two goals in his Dallas debut, as the Stars beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 on Thursday night in the season opener for both.

Ales Hemsky had a power-play goal and an assist.

Rookie Matthias Janmark scored on his first shot on his first shift in an NHL game to make it 1-0. The Stars acquired Niemi and Janmark in trades earlier this year.

Dallas scored on two of five power plays. Jamie Benn, the NHL’s leading scorer last season, had a power-play goal in the third period.

Niemi made 37 saves to improve his career record against the Penguins to 5-1-1. He withstood a flurry in the final minute after Pittsburgh pulled goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for an extra skater.

Fleury had 21 saves.

The Stars are 4-0-1 in their last five home games against Pittsburgh, and have won three in a row overall.

Janmark skated down the slot, took a pass from Hemsky and shot between Fleury’s legs at 1:39 of the first.

The Penguins dominated the latter half of the period, but couldn’t score. Niemi’s best stop was a reaching glove save of Rod Scuderi’s drive from the blue line with less than 3 minutes remaining. Pittsburgh outshot the Stars 10-4 in the first.

Hemsky scored at 5:42 of the second on Dallas’ first power play. His shot from the top of the right faceoff circle went in over Fleury’s right shoulder.

The Penguins again had an advantage in shots, 13-11. Pittsburgh had chances in close, but Niemi turned those away. Midway through the second, John Klingberg cleared away a loose puck from in front of the net.

Seven seconds into the Stars’ fourth power play of the third period, Jamie Benn tipped in Jason Spezza‘s shot from the right point.

NOTES: Dallas acquired Janmark as part of a March trade that sent Erik Cole to Detroit. The rookie had been playing in the Swedish Hockey League. . San Jose traded Niemi’s rights to the Stars in June for a seventh-round draft pick. Also making their Dallas debuts were LW Patrick Sharp and D Johnny Oduya, teammates with Chicago’s Stanley Cup champions last season. . In his first game for the Penguins, Phil Kessel played in his 447th straight game. . Pittsburgh was 0 for 3 on the power play.

Fabbri’s first spoils McDavid’s debut as Blues down Oilers

Robby Fabbri, Justin Schultz
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Rookie Robby Fabbri scored the tiebreaking goal midway through the third period to help the St. Louis Blues beat Edmonton 3-1 Thursday night, spoiling Oilers rookie Connor McDavid‘s NHL debut.

Vladimir Tarasenko had the tying goal for the Blues near the midpoint of the second period, and Troy Brouwer added an empty-netter with 18 seconds remaining in the third. Brian Elliott finished with 23 saves.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored in the first period for Edmonton and Cam Talbot had 28 saves.

McDavid, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, took 22 shifts, played 18:07 and was on the ice for Brouwer’s goal. He had two shots on goal, and struggled on faceoffs – winning only three of 13.

Fabbri, a 19-year-old forward — and McDavid’s childhood friend — was also playing in his first NHL game. The Blues’ first-round pick in 2014 was one of three rookies in the St. Louis lineup, joining defensemen Colton Parayko and Joel Edmundson.

Nugent-Hopkins gave the Oilers a 1-0 lead late in the first period with a fluke power-play goal. He lost a face-off but when Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo tried to clear the puck it bounced off Alexander Steen and past Brian Elliott. Nugent-Hopkins was credited with the unassisted power-play goal with 2:38 remaining in the period.

Tarasenko tied it a 9:10 of the second after getting loose on a breakaway with a stretch pass from Alex Pietrangelo and beating Talbot through his legs.

Tarasenko, who signed an eight-year, $60 million extension in the offseason, was the last Blues player to score in his debut.

NOTES: McDavid and F Anton Slepyshev made their NHL debuts for the Oilers. … St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina dropped the ceremonial first puck. … The attendance was announced as standing room-only 19,327.