NEWARK – Good morning from the Prudential Center, home of the New Jersey Devils, where tonight the Bruins will face the ever-hard-working Devils.
In a slight surprise, coach Claude Julien said after the morning practice that Anton Khudobin will be in net for the Bruins. Conventional wisdom had Tuukka Rask making the start here, with Khudobin (8-3-0) then facing the Islanders Thursday night at the Garden. Chalk up another loss for conventional wisdom.
Tuukka Rask, the club’s No. 1 starter, was hit off the collarbone by a Greg Campbell in practice, which left the goalie hunkered over and groaning in pain for a while during the workout. After the practice, Rask had a bright red mark on the point of impact.
”Slapshot, direct, no deflection,” said a smiling Rask after the workout. He kiddingly added, ”Bad ice…always blame the ice.”
This is the start of Boston’s final 10-game stretch leading to the playoffs, and the Bruins get back at work after pasting the sad sack Canes, 6-2, Monday night at TD Garden. Brad Marchand had two goals and Dennis Seidenberg chipped in with a career-high three assists.
The Bruins were off all day Tuesday, so it’s most likely that coach Claude Julien will return with the same lineup he rolled out vs. Carolina. He knows he has a very tired bunch on his hands right now.
”You have to look at what the schedule has been the last two months,” noted Julien, ”or the last month plus this one and understand that has an effect on our game – there’s no ifs and buts about it.”
The power play, which has struggled this season, has delivered but one goal over the last 12 games. Of equal concern, if not more, has been the small number of chances they have had to go on the attack. They have been awarded but one power play in each of their last three games, and only 22 over the last dozen.
Puck drop: 7:35 p.m.
Record: Bruins, 25-9-4; Devils 15-14-10
TV/radio info: NBC Sports Network; 98.5 The Sports Hub (Dave Goucher, Bob Beers)
Projected Bruins lineup:
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Gregory Campbell-Jaromir Jagr
Danny Paille-Chris Kelly-Tyler Seguin
Jordan Caron-Rich Peverley-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg-Dougie Hamilton
Andrew Ference-Matt Bartkowski
Healthy scratches: Aaron Johnson (D); Wade Redden (D); Kaspars Daugavins (F); Jay Pandolfo (F).
Injured: Patrice Bergeron (concussion).
Story lines: Marchand, the L’il Ball o’ Hate, now has a team-leading 16 goals. Jarmoir Jagr has 15 goals, but 14 of those came while he was with the Stars … No official word from the corner office on how soon, or if, Swedish standout Carl Soderberg will be joining the Bruins. Rumors have run rampant for days that he has agreed to a contract with GM Peter Chiarelli, be it for two or three years. Prior to joining the club, however, he must have a signed (negotiated) release from his Swedish team, Linkoping, and the Swedish National Team also must agree to let him leave prior to the upcoming World Championships. A TSN report today has Soderberg all signed and headed to Boston, possibly to arrive as early as this weekend… Ilya Kovalchuk, sidelined by a nagging shoulder problem, will not play for the Devils. He worked out with the club today, the first time he has skated since his injury … Patrice Bergeron, who suffered a concussion last Tuesday night, remains home in Boston and the Bruins have not offered a possible return date. NHL protocol calls for concussed players to remain out of action for a minimum one week. One of Bergeron’s long-time pals noted on Monday that the veteran pivot was encouraged by an examination he had on Friday with noted concussion expert Dr. Robert Cantu. Bergeron skated for a few minutes on his own today back in Boston, the first time he has done that since getting dinged midway through last Tuesday’s game vs. Ottawa….