New Jersey Devils at Boston Bruins
When: 7:00 PM ET, Thursday, December 27, 2018
Where: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Preview for Digital Sports Desk by Gracenote
BOSTON – The Boston Bruins welcomed top-line center Patrice Bergeron back to the lineup on the final weekend before the Christmas break and are hoping to see the return of more healthy bodies when they host the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night. Among the possible returnees for Boston on Thursday are captain Zdeno Chara, fellow defenseman Kevan Miller and forward Jake DeBrusk.
The Bruins did not practice during the three-day break so the status of the injured players will not be known until Thursday, but forward David Backes did not want to discuss the possibilities. “I’m not going to talk about that, because the second we talk about that, someone else might have an ailment,” Backes said. The Devils have lost four of five (1-3-1) after getting blanked by Columbus, even though they outshot the Blue Jackets 39-20. “That’s how we want to be able to play, we want to be able to put teams under pressure and be able to get to that area,” said New Jersey coach John Hynes, whose team has dropped its last six in Boston.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, Sportsnet 360, Sportsnet East, Sportsnet Ontario, MSG Plus (New Jersey), NESN (Boston)
ABOUT THE DEVILS (12-16-7): Keith Kinkaid emerged as the No. 1 netminder following an injury to Cory Schneider last season, but his goals-against average is just north of three (3.02) and he was pulled for the third time in seven starts on Sunday. With an ineffective and winless Schneider sidelined by an abdominal injury, rookie MacKenzie Blackwood has been solid in relief in his first three career appearances this month and could be in line to make his first NHL start before the end of the calendar year. “He’s going to get some serious looks here after the break,” Hynes said of the 2015 second-round pick.
ABOUT THE BRUINS (20-13-4): Coach Bruce Cassidy seemed more optimistic that DeBrusk (concussion) and Miller (larynx) will be back in the lineup Thursday, although he noted that Chara “is close” to returning from a left knee injury sustained in mid-November. Bergeron did not miss a beat after sitting out five weeks and 16 games, amassing four points in a win over Nashville before he was held off the scoresheet against the Hurricanes, although he registered three shots on goal, four hits and two blocked shots. “Once he knocks the rust off from all those games off, he’ll be an effective player,” Backes quipped.
1. Bruins G Jaroslav Halak has allowed three goals during a three-game winning streak.
2. Devils leading scorer Taylor Hall has 18 points in his last 14 games.
3. Bruins F Brad Marchand has 17 points over his last nine games.