The Boston Bruins might have written the book on busting through to the playoffs despite a rash of injuries to key people — including star center Patrice Bergeron — last season, but this year the New Jersey Devils are rewriting that tome and making the tale even less believable.
No one could have predicted the success the Devils have had since future Hall of Fame goaltender Martin Brodeur went out of the line-up with an elbow injury after the Devils’ Nov. 1 win. But heading into tonight’s home date with the Bruins, New Jersey is still sitting sixth in the Eastern Conference, just one point out of fifth. Since the loss of Brodeur, New Jersey has compiled a 13-7-1 record, mostly with former Boston College standout Scott Clemmensen (11-1-1 in his last 13 outings) filling in between the pipes.
Mind you, the Devils have also played long stretches of the season without stalwarts Brian Rolston (18 games), Bobby Holik (18 games) and Andy Greene (20 games). So don’t expect the Devils to have any sympathy for a Bruins team that’s without Bergeron again, and also missing Marco Sturm, Andrew Ference and Aaron Ward.
Season series: This is the first of four meetings on the year between the Bruins and Devils. The Bruins were 1-1-2 vs. New Jersey last season, including an overtime loss and a shootout loss in the Garden State.
New Jersey Player to Watch: Devils left winger Patrik Elias has been on fire of late, including a 10-game point streak (sure it’s a far cry from Phil Kessel’s 18-gamer, but you get the point) that is still active. During those 10 games, he has scored at a 8-9-17 clip. And if that’s not enough, the Devils’ second-leading scorer has scored at nearly a point-per-game clip in his career vs. Boston (19-17-36 in 39 games).