Rematch at The Rock! Bruins @ Devils. By Steve Palumbo
The New Jersey Devils take the ice at the Prudential Center tonight with revenge on their mind. It was just over two weeks ago that they were thoroughly blown out 6-1 by the Boston Bruins. Tonight the mildly struggling Bruins return to the scene of the crime. New Jersey is hoping to match their season-high four-game winning streak while avenging the embarrassing loss earlier in the month.
Since the loss, New Jersey has won five of six with Ilya Kovalchuk leading the way on offense. The Devils star has seven goals and three assists in the last six contests. He scored twice in Tuesday’s 5-1 home victory over Winnipeg in perhaps his best offensive game of the season.
“There are only a few guys in the league that can carry a team like that,” Devils center Dainius Zubrus said. “Kovy is playing as good as I’ve ever seen him play.”
Kovalchuk is pulling away from the pack in the goal scoring category. He now leads New Jersey with 19 goals, and his 40 points trail only Patrik Elias’ 44. The dynamic winger is returning to his old form, the form New Jersey thought they were getting when they acquired him during 2009-10 season.
Unfortunately, tonight’s opponent possess a new challenge for the streaking Devils. The Bruins are the defending Stanley Cup Champions and despite a slow start have looked all the part. If New Jersey is to continue their strong push towards the top of the East standings they have to get their offensive going against Tim Thomas and Boston.
They may be catching Boston on the right time though. The “B’s” have lost two of three on their current road trip.
In Kovalchuk’s last eight games against the Bruins he has only one goal and a minus-7. Elias, the teams leading scorer is also on a tear of his own with four goals and six assists in the last six games overall. But, like Kovalchuk he hasn’t fared well against Boston recently. He has just one goal, one assist and a minus-9 rating in his last 11 match-ups against the East’s top team.
The Bruins have won six of the last seven meetings with New Jersey, including both games this season in which they outscored the Devils 10-4 in those games.
Martin Brodeur will get the start again, coming off a 20 save performance in Tuesday’s 5-1 win over the Jets. Brodeur picked up win number 14 of the season and a victory tonight would be a nice feather in his cap.
The Devils to a man called they 6-1 loss to Boston on Jan. 4 a “wake-up call.” Tonight they have a chance to show Boston just how awake they are.
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