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