NEWARK, N.J. -- Not enough time has passed for the Devils to forget about the 6-1 thrashing the Bruins laid on them here at Prudential Center on Jan. 4. The fact that New Jersey has won five of six since that beating means something heading into Thursday's showdown against Boston, but not enough to change the feeling that this game in front of them is a huge test and so important.
"We saw where the bar was for the best team in the League the last time we played these guys, and we didn't measure up," Devils coach Pete DeBoer said. "We have another opportunity two weeks later to see if we can get there. I think we can get to that level, but it's going to take a team effort to do that."
Devils goalie Martin Brodeur was beaten six times on 27 shots the last time these teams met. He'll be back in net Thursday to try to exact some revenge, but it's really about what happens in front of Brodeur that will make the difference.
The Devils had no jump the last time they played the Bruins, and they were beaten to every loose puck and lost just about every physical battle. The Bruins were relentless, too. They took a 3-1 lead into the third period, and then got goals from Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Shawn Thornton before the final buzzer rang.
"You've got to be physical and you've got to work hard," Brodeur said of how the Devils can beat the Bruins. "You've got to win battles along the boards and in the faceoff circles, all the little battles all over the ice. If you can't battle with them, it's going to be tough to win the hockey game."
The Devils feel they'll be able to match that battle level Thursday. They learned the hard way what happens when they don't.
"We were doing well at the time we met them, and we kind of hit a wall there," Brodeur said. "I think we came back and did well on our side, and now we have another chance to see how we measure up. Hopefully we've learned from how we played. They played a good game against us, but we didn't feel we competed to the level that they brought to us. We'll try to change that tonight, that's for sure."
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl