By: Emily Musella
Bruins secure season-opener against Devils
Hockey fans, the time has finally come for the puck to drop on the NHL season! In this matchup, the Boston Bruins travel to New Jersey to take on the Devils. Both teams are ready for a divisional showdown with new faces on each side of the competition. Will the Bruins cruise past the Devils, or will the New Jersey squad defend their home arena? You know what time it is, the breakdown shakedown!
Money Line: BOS -180, NJ +160
Puck Line: BOS -1.5, NJ +1.5
Total: 5.5 ( O -110, U +101)
Puck Drop: January 14th, 7:00 p.m. EST, Prudential Center
The Bruins will have a different look tonight on defense to begin the season as Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara are no longer with the B’s. To make matters even more complex, top scorer David Pastrnak is in recovery from a hip surgery he received during the offseason and will not be playing until the end of January or early February. Therefore, now is the time for younger players, and elite veterans to fill in and step up. The major upside for the Bruins is Brad Marchand is expected to play tonight.
Offensively, with Pastrnak sidelined for the time being, Jack Studnika will fill the role on the ice. Alongside Studnika are veteran players Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. I would also expect heavy contributions from Jake DeBrusk and Ondrej Case tonight. The Bruins were one of the most explosive offenses in the NHL last season, can they carry that momentum without their lead scorer tonight? In prior meetings against the Devils, the Bruins have exploited the power play, I expect that to happen again for the fearless Boston team.
On the flip side, with Chara and Krug no longer on the B’s, look for Charlie McAvoy and Mat Grzelcyk to step up this season. The long and anticipated return of goaltender Tuuka Rask has Boston fans riled up. During the postseason, Rask did not play in the bubble due to a medical emergency at home. The Boston D will have their hands full with a young and persistent Devils front line. With young guys like Zack Hughes, Yegor Sharangovich, and veteran Kyle Palmieri, the Bruins will need a strong showing from their goaltender tonight.
NEW JERSEY DEVILS
The Devils will begin their season playing host to their new division rival Boston Bruins. As for injuries tonight, the New Jersey squad will be without center Nico Hischier and defenseman Will Butcher. The Devils are expected to start Mackenzie Blackwood to defend the net boasting a .915 Save percentage. Alongside the defense, the team picked up Ryan Murray and Dmitry Kulikov. As for making an NHL debut, Ty Smith could have that chance tonight against the Bruins.
Offensively, the Devils will need a strong showing from Zack Hughes and Kyle Palmieri. The opposition is notorious for racking up points quickly and in the past has gotten the best of the Devils. The bright spot for the NJ offense is they are persistent, relentless, and youthful. Another player potentially making his NHL debut tonight could be Yegor Sharangovich who is known for his physical and playmaking abilities on the ice.
On the flip side of the ice, the Devils catch a break with Pastrnak sidelined for the next few weeks. However, they must not forget the explosive power of Marchand and Bergeron who played superbly last season for their Boston team. Marchand was the second scorer for the Bruins last season. Though the Devils are in a state of rebuilding, their veteran players are determined to get the job done tonight. Players like P.K. Subban, Ryan Murray, and Dmitry Kulikov are expected to defend the quickness and physical nature of Marchand and Bergeron.
ANALYSIS AND PREDICTION
These new division rivals both face weaknesses to begin their season. For the Bruins, the exit of Krug and Chara will force the Boston team to step up and defend a youthful Devils front line. As for the Devils, a questionable defense will need to stop the bleeding against a determined and physical Boston front line. Therefore, I believe the OVER hits in this game simply because both defenses are in need of some patchwork and I do not see them fixing that right on the first game of the season. The Bruins have had the Devils number of the years and I think that trend continues tonight at the Prudential Center. Final Score: Bruins 4, Devils 2.