Bruins/Devils preview: Running with the Devils

Bruins/Devils preview: Running with the Devils
April 4, 2013, 5:00 pm
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BOSTON -- It’s all about the Bruins bringing in their new blood and seeing exactly what they have in the final 13 games of the season.

The Bruins will have third line forward Kaspars Daugavins and future Hall of Fame sniper Jaromir Jagr entering the Black and Gold fold on Thursday night against the New Jersey Devils. Wade Redden will join the team today and could be in the lineup this weekend against the Montreal Canadiens in a likely battle for first place in the Northeast Division.

“It was always a 60 minute game against the Bruins. They always had big forward and big defensemen,” said Daugavins. “They always kept going and never stopped. It was always a big effort where they never stopped, so I’m looking forward to playing with them now.”

The Devils, meanwhile, are riding a four game losing streak and haven’t won a game since Ilya Kovalchuk went down with a shoulder injury. Kovalchuk will be out again on Thursday night against the Bruins, and the Devils are now clinging to the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference with a white-knuckled grip.

It would seem like the perfect, weakened victim for a Bruins team that’s been on the upswing the last couple of games, but this is also a hockey club that lost to a weakened Flyers bunch over the weekend – and needed a big third period to come out on top against a beleaguered Sabres bunch on Sunday night.

One thing is for sure: it should be interesting to watch Jagr in his first game as a member of the Black and Gold in what should be an exciting moment for everybody involved, but also with a healthy amount of curiosity about how he’ll blend into the Bruins way of doing things.

The biggest factor in the game might be the absence of Patrice Bergeron due to a concussion, but the Bruins should still have enough horses to at least get by the Devils.

PLAYER NEEDING HIS TIRED PUMPED: Rich Peverley has one assist and is a minus-3 in his last four games despite putting up 14 shots on net and being as active as he’s been all year. It continues a year-long trend of offensive frustration for the third line forward, but – to be fair – his versatility has allowed him to slide over to center and hold things together despite the Patrice Bergeron injury. Once Chris Kelly comes back to full health, and one of the top-six forwards slides down to the third line, that should take care of some of the offensive stagnation, but a goal or two could definitely help Peverley out at this point.

DRESSING ROOM MANTRA HEADED INTO THE GAME: “I didn’t want to add too many bodies, but I wanted to add some because we’re playing every other day. I think people get tired of seeing each other because we’re just in that game mode every other day. You want to try and get these guys some extra rest along the way, so the extra bodies will help in that way.” –Peter Chiarelli, the day before Kaspars Daugavins, Jaromir Jagr and Wade Redden start filing into the Bruins mix as the NHL trade deadline cavalry.

KEY MATCHUP: How about the game going to a shootout and Jaromir Jagr potentially moving in on Martin Brodeur for a one-on-one move to decide which team gets the two points? That would be awesome and would take me back to the Sega Genesis glory days of my high school years.

STAT TO WATCH: 6-0-1 – The Bruins are riding a seven game home point streak with their last regulation home loss as a 4-3 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on March 3.

INJURIES: Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid (shoulder strain) and Chris Kelly (broken left tibia) are both out, but have skated the last couple of days as they work their way back from injuries. Patrice Bergeron is out after suffering a "moderate concussion" in their Tuesday night win over the Senators. New Jersey coach Peter DeBoer said Tuesday that Ilya Kovalchuk (shoulder injury) wasn't close to returning, but is expected back before the regular season ends on April 27. Forward Tom Kostopoulos (head) left Monday's game after being knocked out in a fight and is day-to-day.

GOALTENDING MATCH-UP: Tuukka Rask was the first goaltender off the ice at Thursday’s morning skate and it appears he’ll get the start against the New Jersey Devils after watching Anton Khudobin start back-to-back games. Rask has lost his last couple of games and is 1-1-1 in his last three games heading into the start against the Devils. Martin Brodeur is back with the New Jersey Devils and should be getting the start for his longtime NHL club after Johan Hedberg struggled mightily to fill in when he suffered a back injury earlier this season. Brodeur’s 2.27 goals against average and .905 save percentage are decent numbers, but clearly not among the best for the 40-year-old future Hall of Famer.