Bruins vs. Devils: Game 6 preview - Rask vs. Hedberg

Bruce Bennett

The first back-to-back of the 2013 season finishes up tonight, as the Bruins take on the Devils at TD Garden.

Just the Facts

Game time: 7:00 PM EST at the TD Garden. TV Broadcast: New England Sports Network (NESN). Radio: 98.5 The Sports Hub.

Rival SB Nation site: In Lou We Trust (their game preview is here)

Records: Bruins (4-0-1) vs. Devils (3-0-1)

Projected Devils lines:

Kovalchuk - Zajac - Zubrus
Josefson - Elias - Clarkson
Bernier - Gionta - Carter
Anderson - Matteau - Barch/Janssen

Salvador - Zidlicky
Greene - Fayne
Tallinder - Volchenkov

Hedberg
Brodeur

Projected Bruins lines:

UPDATE: MCQUAID IS AVAILABLE TO PLAY TONIGHT. glory glory hallelujah.

Lucic - Krejci - Horton
Marchand - Bergeron - Seguin
Bourque - Kelly - Peverley
Paille - Campbell - Thornton

Chara - Boychuk
Seidenberg - Hamilton
Ference - McQuaid

Rask
Khudobin

Preview:

The New Jersey Devils are coming off a Sunday game against Montreal. If you tweet, you may remember Canadiens fans all over your twitter timeline shrieking about Markov scoring in overtime - yes, that was against the Devils. According to In Lou We Trust, the Devils have had a tendency in all four games to start out incredibly slow and pick up steam as the game goes on; indeed, they went down 2-0 to Montreal on Sunday before struggling to tie it in the third period. They didn't lead at any point during the game. They've struggled with puck possession and shot totals in the first period in all four games.

The Bruins would do best to capitalize on this.

Although the Bruins have had a couple of sloppy first periods - the first ten minutes against the Rangers in game 3 comes to mind - they've generally been good at roaring right out of the gate. If they can get an early lead on New Jersey and hang on, this game should not be much of a struggle.

Most teams across the league have had to deal with back-to-back games at this point already, and for the most part the second game of a back-to-back has not ended well for the team that hasn't gotten a night off. The Bruins may have an advantage here, however; by playing Anton Khudobin in net last night (and quite successfully, I might add; not only did he come out with a win, but he did not allow any bad goals. The Skinner goal was simply filthy; the McBain tip-in was a result of poor positioning by the defense) they've kept their ace in the hole, Tuukka Rask, ready and waiting to clean up this second game in two nights.

Up front, the Devils really look to be missing their former superstar, Zach Parise. Although the line of Ilya Kovalchuk, Travis Zajac, and Dainus Zubrus will likely pose the main threat offensively, beyond that they don't have much depth - David Clarkson and Patrik Elias are great second-liners, but their third linemate, Jacob Josefsson, has never put up more than three goals in an NHL season - nor has he spent an entire season in the NHL at all. On the third line, Ryan Carter is the only player who spent the full season in the NHL last year. On the fourth line - Matt Anderson was called up today, Steffan Matteau is potentially being sent down sometime in the next few days, and either Krys Barch or Cam Janssen will only be on the ice to tangle with Shawn Thornton - Krys Barch has fought him five times, and Cam Janssen has fought him once.

New Jersey will be going with their backup, Johan Hedberg, in net. This will be Hedberg's first start of the season, and first in over ten months. His lifetime record against the Bruins, in 16 games, is 4-9-2, with a .902 sv% and 3.01 GAA.

Verdict:

Last season the Bruins won all four games against New Jersey. There are only three games to win this year, but the Bruins definitely have a very solid chance to start a path to a sweep again tonight - the matchups favor the Bruins all over the ice, from goaltending all the way forward.

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