After the Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers and Tampa Bay Lightning all won Monday, the importance of the Bruins getting a road win against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday increased.
The Bruins lead the Red Wings by one point, while the Flyers and Red Wings both have 87 points. The Lightning are five points clear of Boston for second in the Atlantic Division with 93 points and the defending Eastern Conference champions improved their NHL sports betting odds of winning the Stanley Cup.
Although the Devils are seven points behind the Flyers and Red Wings for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference, they haven’t been eliminated from contention and are 2-1-1 in their past four games. Bruins forward Lee Stempniak was traded from New Jersey to Boston at the NHL trade deadline for a second-round draft pick in 2017 and a fourth-round pick in 2016.
Stempniak knows how difficult it can be to beat the Devils.
“They always play really hard,” Stempniak said Monday. “That was the one thing we talked about there was no one gave us much credit and you had to play really well and play hard and prove everyone wrong. So that’s been their mentality all year. Young guys that come up, they’re excited to have the opportunity and looking forward to next year. And the guys that were there are very proud, so it’ll be a really tough test.”
The Devils are without injured goaltender Cory Schneider, who just started a conditioning assignment in the AHL, and forwards Mike Cammalleri (out for the season) and Patrik Elias.
The Bruins will be without center Ryan Spooner and defenseman John-Michael Liles. Forward Loui Eriksson might move over from wing to center in Spooner’s place between Frank Vatrano and Jimmy Hayes.