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Preview: The Bruins kick off the 2021 season against the New Jersey Devils

The 2021 season is underway!

NHL: Boston Bruins at New Jersey Devils Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

(Editor’s note: As we usually do, the preview will take the place of the Morning Skate on game days. Feel free to comment as you wish!)

Just the Facts

Who: New Jersey Devils

Where: Prudential Center

When: 7 PM

How to follow: NESN, MSG+, 98.5 the Sports Hub

Know your enemy

  • Well there haven’t been any games yet, so we don’t have stats. However, the Devils version of “Know Your Neighbor” will be out later this morning, so you can check in on them then!

Game notes

  • The Bruins open their 2021 season against one of their new divisional foes, the New Jersey Devils. The two will be frequent combatants, as the teams will battle eight times in the shortened 56 game season.
  • The Devils did not exactly set the league on fire last season, finishing a Metropolitan Division worst 28-29-12.
  • A young team clearly rebuilding, the Devils have a couple of franchise building blocks in Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier, both of whom were first-overall picks. Hischier will miss the season opener with a leg injury and is considered day-to-day.
  • Aside from the two cornerstones, the Devils don’t possess much of a scoring punch up front. With a down season likely on the way, the Devils could look to move veteran winger Kyle Palmieri for a big haul at the trade deadline, much as they did last season with Blake Coleman.
  • Recently signed goalie Corey Crawford suddenly retired before the start of the season, muddying the Devils goaltending plans. Crawford issued a statement after his tremendous career, leaving the Devils with Mackenzie Blackwood as the number one and Scott Wedgewood backing him up.
  • The Bruins will be without David Pastrnak until February (though he may be ready earlier), but Brad Marchand is expected to be in the lineup tonight after undergoing sports hernia surgery on September 14.
  • Embarking on a season minus blueline stalwarts Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug, the Bruins’ defense could take a few games to gel together without any preseason games to tune up.
  • Top offseason addition Craig Smith is positioned to bolster the third line, skating alongside Nick Ritchie (for now) and Charlie Coyle.

Gunning for another attempt to recapture Lord Stanley’s Cup, the Bruins should be among the league’s favorites to win it all.

We start that journey tonight!