The Boston Bruins (31-14-6, 68 pts) and the New Jersey Devils (17-28-7, 41 pts) will meet each other for the final time this season when they conclude a two-game set at the Prudential Center (7 PM ET, NESN Plus, MSG) on Tuesday night.
After clinching a ticket to the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs with their 3-0 win over the Devils on Monday night, the Boston Bruins will now jockey for position in the wide-open East Division. Heading into NHL action on Tuesday, the Bruins were in third place. They trailed the first-place Washington Capitals (33-14-5, 71 pts), and second-place Pittsburgh Penguins (34-16-3, 71 pts), by three points and led the fourth-place New York Islanders (31-16-5, 67 pts), by a point. The Penguins play the Philadelphia Flyers tonight and the Islanders were set to take on the Buffalo Sabres. The Capitals were idle.
While the Boston Bruins will continue to jockey for seeding in the playoffs, they will also use these final five games of the regular season to make sure all the pieces fit together on their blue line and in their bottom 6 forward group. With players like Brandon Carlo returning tonight and the team getting healthier in general, what head coach Bruce Cassidy has to work with for a run at the Stanley Cup is finally coming into focus after a tumultuous season of COVID pauses and injuries.
“I think we’re getting there. Obviously, Brandon Carlo is going to come into the lineup so let’s get him ready,” Cassidy said Tuesday morning. “Obviously the guys that have played in his spot, Connor Clifton, and Steven Kampfer have done a good job. So, it’s nice to know we have depth back there. And who is Brandon’s partner? How do the top six guys work best together? Reilly hasn’t played with [Carlo], but he’s played with Clifton, Miller, and Kampfer and done a good job with everybody he’s played with.
So, there are still a few things to sort through with our group and the chemistry. I think we need a few more games out of the bottom two lines to sort out who’s the best fourth line. Who fits best with Lazar? Is it DeBrusk, Kuhlman, Wagner, or Frederic? So, there is a little bit to go there obviously.”
Jaro Halak will make his first start since April 23. Halak is 9-6-3 with a 2.45 GAA and a .909 save percentage.
-Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk drew back into the lineup Saturday after being a healthy scratch the previous two games. DeBrusk failed to register a point in the last two games and hasn’t done much to show he’s ready to really help the Boston Bruins win as Cassidy asked him to on Saturday.
–The Bruins’ powerplay went 0-for-1 on Monday. They are now 31-for-147 on the man advantage this season. They’re 14th in the NHL with a 21.1% success rate.
-The PK killed off the lone Devils’ powerplay Monday. They’re first in the NHL with an 86.5% success rate. They’ve killed off 147 of 170 powerplay attempts against them this season.
-Boston Bruins winger Chris Wagner has been out the last three games after suffering an injury on Thursday but did return to practice on Sunday. He was a healthy scratch Monday night and will remain one tonight.
-Defenseman Kevan Miller will also sit out this one as he continues his playing every other game load management.
-Defenseman John Moore is out for the season after undergoing hip surgery. Forward Ondrej Kase is still listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury but has been skating.
-Mackenzie Blackwood (12-16-4, 3.05 GAA, .902 save percentage) is expected to start for the Devils.
-The Devils are 28th in the NHL on the powerplay with a 14.4 % success rate.
-The Devils are also dead last in the NHL on the penalty kill with a 70.6 % success rate.
-PK Subban and Jonas Siegenthaler are both injured for the Devils and out on Monday night, but have begun working out off the ice. Ty Smith will also miss tonight with an undisclosed injury.
Boston Bruins Lines
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Taylor Hall – David Krejci – Craig Smith
Nick Ritchie – Sean Kuraly – Charlie Coyle
Jake DeBrusk – Curtis Lazar – Trent Frederic
Jeremy Lauzon – Charlie McAvoy
Matt Grzelcyk – Brandon Carlo
Mike Reilly – Connor Clifton
New Jersey Devils Lines