BOSTON -- The Bruins will be taking the same mentality into Saturday night as they did into Wednesday night’s ugliness in Buffalo. Certainly they don’t expect the same kind of goonery as the stuff displayed by John Scott in the third period, and instead it should be about the New Jersey Devils righting the ship. They are the only team in the NHL that still has only a single win on the season, and showing up against the Atlantic Division-leading Boston Bruins is an important step for them.
“These are gut-check type games,” said Devils coach Pete DeBoer. “For me, these are statement-type games that we have an opportunity to come in here and put our work boots [on] and try and beat one of the best teams in the NHL. If we can do that, I think it could push us on to bigger and better things.”
The one saving grace for the Devils?
The Metropolitan Division has been thoroughly terrible thus far this season, and the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers are in even worse shape than a Devils club still decimated by the exit of Ilya Kovalchuk.
On paper it should be an easy match for a Black and Gold team wrapping up their third game in four nights, but a little old-fashioned fatigue combined with a desperate New Jersey club could make things difficult in Boston.
DRESSING ROOM MANTRA HEADED INTO THE GAME: “You can’t afford to take any team in this league lightly. We seem to always have tight games with the Devils, and we know they’re hard, tight-checking team that plays pretty good defense. We’re not expecting anything different from them.” –Patrice Bergeron on respecting a Devils team that’s 1-5-4 entering Saturday night’s game.
KEY MATCHUP: Patrik Elias is the only player with a positive plus/minus for the New Jersey Devils, so plenty of it amounts to simply taking care of business against players that aren’t playing very well this season. The Bruins top two lines should have a field day against a group of Devils that are scrambling, and can’t stop anybody at this point. When you’re scoring two goals per game and averaging three goals allowed per game, that isn’t going to add up to a lot of winning hockey.
STAT TO WATCH: 10-3 – the Bruins are once again outscoring teams by a vast margin in the third period, a staple of the team over the last few years.
INJURIES: Marc Savard (post-concussion syndrome) is on the long term injured reserve, and is again expected to miss the entire season. Loui Eriksson is out indefinitely with a concussion suffered on a John Scott head shot earlier this week.
Corey Schneider (lower body) didn’t make the trip to Boston with the rest of the team, and it’s unclear as to how much time he’s going to miss. Veteran winger Ryan Clowe is out after being placed on the injured reserve.
GOALTENDING MATCH-UP: Tuukka Rask has allowed one goal or fewer in six of the eight games he’s played thus far this season, and leads the NHL with a .957 save percentage while ranking second in the league with a 1.26 goals against average. Rask was called the “MVP of the team thus far this season” by winger Milan Lucic after he stood on his head for a win against the San Jose Sharks Thursday night, and he’s been the best goalie in the NHL through the first month of the season.
Martin Brodeur has had a long, glorious career with the New Jersey Devils, but it sadly looks like it’s coming to a rough finale. His 0-2-2 record with the 3.50 goals against average and .868 save percentage are way off the career numbers for the future Hall of Famer. Amazingly, Brodeur and Jaromir Jagr were the 20th and 5th overall selections in the 1990 NHL Draft, and the Bruins have three players (Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug and Jordan Caron) that were born in 1990 or later.