Two Eastern Conference teams take to the ice Tuesday in Boston under different circumstances. New Jersey
(34-34-3-1) is quickly running out of time as the regular season starts to near its end. The Devils currently reside in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, seven points behind eighth-place Buffalo while also behind Carolina and Toronto.
However, New Jersey is playing some of its best hockey of the year with just 10 games remaining on the schedule. The Devils were on a 23-3-2 tear before a recent two-game slide, so the playoffs are still on the radar.
New Jersey ranks eighth in penalty-kill percentage (83.7), and ninth in goals against (2.5), but a miserable 27th in power-play percentage (83.7) and 30th in goals per game (2.1).
Boston (39-22-5-5) sits atop the Northeast Division standings, and is third in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins have a solid +38 scoring differential, lighting the lamp 213 times while yielding just 175 goals. Boston ranks fourth in the league in goals against (2.4) and goals per game (3.0), while ranking 17th in penalty-kill percentage (82.1) and 22nd in power-play percentage (16.3).
New Jersey was mired in a two-game losing streak before blanking Columbus Sunday as 124 road ‘chalk,’ 3-0. The three goals failed to topple the five-goal closing total, helping the ‘under’ cash the third consecutive contest.
The Devils got two goals from David Clarkson, while Nick Palmieri closed the scoring with a third-period tally. Goaltender Martin Brodeur stonewalled 13 shots, earning his NHL-record 115th shutout. New Jersey finished the contest with advantages in shots on goal, 31-13, and faceoffs won, 24-22.
Boston concluded a four-game road trip with Saturday’s setback to Toronto as a 125 road favorite, 5-2. The combined seven goals eclipsed the 5 ½-goal closing total, helping the ‘over’ improve to 4-1 the previous five outings.
The Bruins got goals from Adam McQuaid and Daniel Paille, but the team dropped to 1-3-3 the past seven outings. Despite the three-goal setback, Boston led the Maple Leafs in shots on goal, 37-29, and faceoffs won, 32-31.
The Bruins have beaten New Jersey the previous three meetings, including both this season. Boston triumphed Oct. 16 as a 118 road underdog, 4-1, and Nov. 15 as 177 home ‘chalk,’ 3-0. The ‘under’ is 7-1-2 the past 10 games in this series.
New Jersey continues a four-game road trip with games against Pittsburgh and Buffalo. The Devils are 9-2 their last 11 road games, and a solid 22-6 their past 28 outings overall.
Boston center Brad Marchand (suspension served) is ‘probable’ versus the Devils, while defenseman Shane Hnidy (shoulder) is ‘out.’ The Bruins conclude a three-game homestand against Montreal and the New York Rangers. Boston has seen the ‘under’ go 23-11-5 its previous 39 games against Atlantic Division opponents.
Monday’s matchup is scheduled to start at 4:00 p.m. PT from Boston’s TD Garden.