The confrontation: The New Jersey Devils (13-15-5) to the Boston Bruins (16-10-2). SBN Blog: Stanley Cup Chowder.
The weather: 7 p.m. EST
The show: Television – MSG +
Do better than last time
The New Jersey Devils last faced the Boston Bruins on November 13, 2021. It didn’t go well as they lost 5-2. Similar to tonight, the Devils came into this game after a three-game winning streak, which was their longest streak of this season. In Jared’s recap for that game, he noted that the Devils failed to put together a proper 60-minute effort against the Bruins’ top line. In other words, they have lapsed.
A look at Natural Stat Trick for this game shows something positive, however. The Devils’ top liners – Nico Hischier, Pavel Zacha, Jesper Bratt, Yegor Sharangovich, Dawson Mercer and Andreas Johnsson – didn’t allow a five-on-five goal. The problem is, Lindy Ruff played against Michael McLeod more than Dawson Mercer evenly and gave Jesper Boqvist (who then crossed Tomas Tatar and Janne Kuokkanen for the start of the game) way too much time on the ice.
When you’re up against a team as heavy as the Boston Bruins, you need to play your best liners for more minutes than usual. Shocking, I know. But Nico Hischier can certainly compete with Patrice Bergeron, and is their best hope of containing the Bruins’ top line. This top row has recently been changed to have Craig Smith take David Pastrnak’s place on the right wing, so Jack Hughes and Dawson Mercer will have plenty to do in their own right. Against the Red Wings on Sunday, the Bruins had six midlines from Foligno-Coyle-DeBrusk and Hall-Haula-Pastrnak. The Red Wings feasted on these lines in terms of the quantity and quality of chances, which is a good sign for the Devils if the Bruins don’t change their approach due to the fact that they won 5-1. .
Who could be in, who could be outside
Dougie Hamilton went to hospital after Sunday’s game with a facial injury. His status for tonight’s game is questionable, as no update has been given by the team other than he went to the hospital. No reporter bothered to mention whether he was traveling with the team or not. Tomas Tatar, who is his own reporter, posted on his Instagram Story that he was on his way to Boston.
Damon Severson said Dougie Hamilton was hit in the jaw with the puck and needed stitches, but he didn’t feel well after that.
– Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) January 2, 2022
From what Damon Severson has said, Dougie Hamilton could be struggling with a mild concussion. But this visit to the hospital may have been simply to determine if his pain was indicative of a concussion or the fact that his jaw had just been hit by a hockey puck. If only reporters could ask the team to find out a day later if their star player is doing well or if he is out. It’s not even that we need specific details – a simple “don’t travel” or “travel” would suffice.
So Tomas Tatar might be in, Dougie might or might not be out. Who knows? The Devils have yet to announce that Tatar is protocol exempt, but the Capitals had five protocol players practice with the team ahead of their game against the Devils on Sunday – and those players were taken out of protocol on the day. Match. The protocol is therefore of little importance at this stage. We’re reinventing as we go, and it will be great to see Tatar take Boqvist’s place in the lineup for such a tough game.
What do you think of tonight’s game? Will the Devils make four in a row? Will Dougie be okay? How do you think Tatar will make a comeback in training, assuming he clears the protocol? Do you think Mackenzie Blackwood will do it again / will Alain Nasreddine get another win? Or will Lindy Ruff come back and play Michael McLeod more than any other center? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.