Devils’ lines, pairings vs. Bruins (1/14/21) | Yegor Sharangovich gets top-line nod in NHL debut
Hockey is finally back.
The Devils will open the 2020-21 season when they host the Boston Bruins at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Prudential Center in Newark, ending a layoff that dates back to last March.
Nico Hischier will miss the start of the season as he continues to recover from a leg injury suffered during offseason training. Jesper Bratt and Sami Vatanen remain out while they await their work visas and prepare to quarantine upon their arrival in New Jersey.
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The Devils held an optional morning skate on Thursday, but the two previous days of practice provided a look at what head coach Lindy Ruff’s lines and defensive pairings would be.
Here’s how the Devils are projected to line up against the Bruins:
Yegor Sharangovich-Jack Hughes-Kyle Palmieri
Andreas Johnsson-Pavel Zacha-Nikita Gusev
Jesper Boqvist-Travis Zajac-Miles Wood
Janne Kuokkanen-Michael McLeod-Nathan Bastian
Ryan Murray-P.K. Subban
Dmitri Kulikov-Damon Severson
Ty Smith-Matt Tennyson/Will Butcher-Connor Carrick*
*Ruff didn’t reveal who his scratches would be when asked Thursday morning. So the final defensive pairing will be determined during warmups prior to puck drop.
Starter: Mackenzie Blackwood
Backup: Scott Wedgewood
IR: Nico Hischier (leg, day-to-day)
Here are more notes on the game courtesy of the Devils:
Tonight’s contest marks the first of eight between New Jersey and Boston in the 2020-21 regular season series. *The season opener marks the second time in franchise history that the club has opened against Boston, the first time was the 2003-04 opener at Boston Garden where the Devils tied the Bruins, 3-3. Three different Devils players recorded two-point games in that contest (S. Niedermayer: 2g; I. Larioniv: 2a; B. Rafalski: 2a).
*credit: Craig Seiden, NJD Radio
The Devils fell to the Bruins in the 2019-20 season series, posting a 1-2-0 record, being outscored 10-4 in three games played. New Jersey recorded a 9-9-3 (4-4-3 home) against Atlantic Division opponents last season, outscoring them, 89-87.
The club looking to improve their 23-12-10 record in season openers. New Jersey ranks third amongst the league in season openers (excluding Vegas) with a .622 point-percentage (1: TB; 2: COL).
Nikita Gusev (2A) led New Jersey in scoring against the Bruins in the 2019-20 regular season, tallying two assists in three games played. P.K. Subban led the club in shots, tallying 10 in three games.
Mackenzie Blackwood played in two contests against Boston, recording a 1-1-0 record, posting a 3.36 GAA in 125 minutes played. Blackwood looks to improve his 2-2-0 career record and 2.46 GAA against the Bruins. Scott Wedgewood has recorded one game against Boston, allowing six goals on 32 shots, falling to 0-1-0 in his career.
Brad Marchand led his club in scoring in the 2019-20 season series, recording two goals and four assists for six points in three games played. Tuukka Rask took the majority of time in net, skating in 120 minutes allowing only one goal, posting one shutout, with a 0.50 GAA and 2-0-0 record in the season series.
The Devils are 3-4-1 at Prudential Center and 4-9-2 overall against the Bruins since the 2015-16 season. The club completes their two-game series against Boston, Jan. 16 @ Prudential Center. New Jersey will head up to Boston for a two-game road series, Feb. 15 and Feb. 18 at TD Garden.
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