The New Jersey Devils travel to New England as they take on the Boston Bruins for the last time this season.
Tale of the Tape
Record: 24-37-5 (53 points, 7th in Metro)
The Opponent: Boston Bruins (41-20-5) – FHN Site: Black & Gold Garden
Puckdrop: 7:00 PM ET
Venue: TD Garden
Expected Goaltenders: Nico Daws (8-8-0) vs. Linus Ullmark (20-9-2)
Television Broadcasts: MSG+, NESN
The Bruins come into tonight’s game having won four of their last five although they did drop their most recent contest against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Boston’s four goals proved not to be enough as the team dropped the game 6-4. Rookie goaltender Jeremy Swayman allowed six goals over the first two periods before being pulled in the loss.
Boston will be going in a different direction tonight as Linus Ullmark will start. This will be the 32nd start of the year for the first-year Bruin as he comes into tonight’s game with a 2.70 GAA and .909 save percentage to go with his 20-9-2 record.
There was speculation that Boston could be without forward Taylor Hall tonight after he punched Toronto’s Ilya Lyubushkin in Tuesday’s game. The NHL Department of Player Safety decided to issue a $5,000 fine to Hall instead of suspending him.
New Jersey Devils
The Devils come into tonight’s game following a shootout win against the Montréal Canadiens on Sunday. After blowing a lead late in the game, New Jersey regrouped in a wild overtime period that saw players from each team come within inches of clinching the win.
Jack Hughes’ breakout season continued Sunday as he scored two goals, as well as a shootout goal, bringing him up to 54 points (24 goals, 30 assists) in only 46 games. Yegor Sharangovich scored the shootout winner in round seven and goaltender Nico Daws earned his eighth win of the season.
Daws is expected to be back in net tonight in Boston. The 21-year-old has struggled mightily on the road this season as he has a 1-7-0 record, .876 save percentage, and 3.94 GAA in eight road games this season.
The Devils activated forward Janne Kuokkanen off of injured reserve earlier today and could be in the lineup tonight for the first time since February 7. Kuokkanen has struggled to find his offensive game this season with only five goals and six assists over 43 games in what was supposed to be a season for him to take a step forward.
Player to Watch: Miles Wood
Miles Wood made his season debut on Sunday and had an impact on the game even though he did not appear on the scoresheet in his 11:46 of ice time. Wood’s unique combination of physicality and speed was a sight for sore eyes to many that felt that dynamic was missing from the roster.
According to Amanda Stein, head coach Lindy Ruff said yesterday that Wood’s body held up well following his first appearance in 321 days. Ruff said that Wood will also be the net-front presence on the team’s second power play unit.
Boston likes to play a fast and physical game which plays right into Wood’s skillset. If New Jersey can get the Bruins frustrated, Wood’s role becomes more important as a guy that can continuously get under the skin of the opposing team. Look for Wood to have a slight uptick in his minutes as his role continues to grow.