(Sports Network) - The New Jersey Devils will try to help their playoff
chances with the club's first win in over two weeks when they host the Boston
Bruins in Wednesday's battle at Prudential Center.
The Devils last earned two points in a game on March 23 against Florida, but
the team has been keeping its head above water thanks to a bunch of overtime
losses during their current seven-game losing streak. All seven of the losses
have come with star winger Ilya Kovalchuk out of the lineup and he will miss
an eighth straight game on Wednesday.
Thanks in large part to the 0-3-4 stretch, New Jersey has fallen outside of
the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Still, the club is only two points
out of the final playoff spot with nine games left to play. The New York
Rangers and Winnipeg Jets are currently tied for the eighth seed. The Rangers
host Toronto on Wednesday and the Jets have the night off.
Boston, meanwhile, is close to clinching a playoff spot with 54 points on the
season. The Bruins are currently fourth in the East and are one point in back
of Montreal for the Northeast Division lead. The B's, who hold a game in hand
over Montreal, can pass the idle Canadiens with a win.
Considering their recent history against the Devils, Boston has a solid chance
of passing the Habs on Wednesday. The Bruins are 2-0 against New Jersey in
2012-13 and have won six straight and 10 of the last 11 meetings between the
clubs. The teams met last Thursday in Boston and the home team recorded a 1-0
win behind a goal from Jaromir Jagr and a 40-save performance by Tuukka Rask.
Boston, which is 11-7-2 on the road this season, also has claimed four of its
past five games in the Garden State.
Wednesday's encounter is the third and final scheduled meeting between the
Devils and B's this regular season.
New Jersey had lost three straight in regulation before getting a point in
Sunday's 3-2 shootout loss at Buffalo. Nathan Gerbe scored the only goal of
the shootout to give the Sabres the extra point.
Steve Sullivan and Mark Fayne scored one goal apiece for the Devils. Fayne's
goal came shorthanded and tied the game at 2-2 with 5:46 left in regulation.
Martin Brodeur made 24 saves in the setback and spoke after the game about his
team's recent struggles.
"It's really concerning that we can't just win. That's the bottom line,"
Brodeur said. "We played one of the teams that we should beat, and I thought
we deserved to beat them the way we played."
The Devils have lost two straight on home ice and are 10-7-2 as the host this
Boston has played two games since beating the Devils last week, losing
Saturday's 2-1 regulation decision in Montreal before rebounding with a 6-2
rout of visiting Carolina on Monday.
Brad Marchand scored twice to lead the way in the Bruins' rout of the
Hurricanes. Andrew Ference and Rich Peverley each posted a goal and an assist
while Nathan Horton and Jordan Caron also scored for the Bruins, who won for
the fourth time in five games.
Rask made 40 saves to improve his record this season to 17-6-4.
"Tuukka really played a great game for us tonight," said Boston head coach
Claude Julien. "He really made some great saves on some of the mistakes we
made and they could have done a lot of damage."
It was Boston's third straight game without valuable two-way forward Patrice
Bergeron, who is sidelined with a concussion. Bergeron, who is second on the
team with 31 points and first with a plus-rating of 23, is out indefinitely.
Boston has lost three of its last four games on the road and is 11-7-2 as the
guest this season.
The Sports Network