NEWARK — The Bruins, a little rough around the edges in their last three games (1-2-0), are back in business here tonight when they take on the surging Devils (5-1-0 in their last six games) at the Rock.
Brad Marchand, who sat out the last five games because of a suspension, will be back at left wing on his familiar line with Patrice Bergeron (C) and All-Star Tyler Seguin (RW). Rich Peverley also will be back at right wing, riding with Messrs. Benoit Pouliot (LW) and Chris Kelly (C). Peverley, dealing with personal issues, was dismissed from the Mon.-Tues. games in Sunrise and Tampa, FL.
Look for Tuukka Rask to be Boston’s starter in net, likely to oppose Devils icon Marty Brodeur. Rask picked up the win Monday night vs. the Panthers, when the Bruins’ overall play was unkempt, and workhorse Tim Thomas often looked awkward and out of position in Tuesday’s loss in Tampa.
Update: Thomas was the first goalie to exit the morning practice, typically an indication that he will start.
Now in the thick of a grueling schedule, in which they play six games in nine days, the Bruins are in need of a solid effort here to get back on track. They are displaying classic signs of mid-season doldrums. With 39 games left to go before the playoffs, they could go .500 the rest of the way and finish with 93 points. The Rangers picked off the No. 8 playoff seed in the East last season with 93 points. The Canes, with 91 points, were DNQs.
Puck drop: 7:05 p.m. EST
Record: Bruins, 29-13-1; Devils, 26-17-2.
TV/radio info: NESN (Jack Edwards, Andy Brickley, Naoko Funayama), 98.5 The Sports Hub (Dave Goucher, Bob Beers)
Projected lineup: Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin
Benoit Pouliot-Chris Kelly-Rich Peverley
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg-Joe Corvo
Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid
Healthy scratches: Zach Hamill, Jordan Caron, Steve Kampfer
Storylines: The Bruins need to revive their sputtering power play. Peverley is expected to man the right point again on PP1, with fellow point man Zdeno Chara….It’s possible that coach Claude Julien (”We’re not playing the way we should.”) will opt not to roll out his Lucic-Krejci-Horton line for PP1. Horton emerged from his offensive funk on Tuesday, popping in a pair of goals against the Bolts, but the line was on the ice for three Tampa goals. Julien could elect to go with the Marchand-Bergeron-Seguin trio, or perhaps fashion a hybrid line out of his top six forwards….The Devils easily dismissed the Jets, 5-1, here on Tuesday night…The ever-reliable Patrik Elias tops the New Jersey scoring charts (17-27–44), followed by a megamillionaire Ilya Kovalchuk (19-21–40)….Brodeur, who will be 40 years old in May, is carrying rather pedestrian numbers (14-10-1) 2.82 goals against and a .895 save percentage….The Devils have scored as many goals as they have allowed (126)…The Bruins still own the best goal differential, 156-88, in the Original 30.