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Bear Essentials On The Road: New Jersey

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Bear Essentials on the Road: NEWARK, NEW JERSEY (Prudential Center)

This may be the most interesting day of of the hockey year. Things are SO tight in the Eastern Conference race, Boston may have to win at least two games even to be guaranteed a spot in the playoffs. The B's magic number remains at four points, two of which could be garnered against the Devils, tonight. JB

Where are we going?
We may be in NJ. But from the hotel we can see the Empire State Building. JB
Welcome to New Jersey (We're back in Newark, specifically). I've written this before, but it bears repeating. The official state website of NJ gives the following explanation for the state's well known nickname:

Abraham Browning of Camden is given credit for giving New Jersey the nickname the Garden State. According to Alfred Heston's 1926 two-volume book Jersey Waggon Jaunts, Browning called New Jersey the Garden State while speaking at the Philadelphia Centennial exhibition on New Jersey Day (August 24, 1876).

Browning said that our Garden State is an immense barrel, filled with good things to eat and open at both ends, with Pennsylvanians grabbing from one end and New Yorkers from the other. The name stuck ever since.

Where are we playing?
Nicknamed “The Rock,” the Prudential Center opened on October 25, 2007 with a series of 10 Bon Jovi concerts.  The New Jersey Devils played their first game in the arena on October 27th against the Ottawa Senators.

The new arena seats 17,625 for a hockey game and also contains a full-size hockey practice facility, reports the arena website.

Along with the Devils, the Prudential Center also is home to the Major Indoor Soccer League’s New Jersey Ironmen and the Seton Hall Pirates men’s basketball team.

The concourse level features a 6,000 square foot hand-painted mural, which is the largest in any arena.

“With the city also obtaining money from the leases of its tenants and building fees included in the cost of tickets for all events…the arena will most likely prove to be a solid investment for the city of Newark for many years to come,” says Wikipedia.  “It is expected that this will be a catalyst for the revival of downtown Newark as well as the rest of the city.”

Who are we playing?
The Prudential Center
The New Jersey Devils were added to the NHL during a 1974 expansion, but they’ve had two other homes before coming to the East Coast.

The team was known as the Kansas City Scouts when added to the league, playing their first game on October 9, 1974 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

However, the team had little success hockey-wise and, when the Midwest economy began to decline, the Scouts moved to Denver and were renamed the Colorado Rockies, beginning with the 1976-1977 season.

Before the 1978-1979 season, there were talks of moving the team to New Jersey, but it was not until May 1982, when John McMullen bought the team, that the move actually occurred.

The Devils have won three Stanley Cups, all since moving to New Jersey.  They have also one four Eastern Conference championships and seven division championships – again, all while in Jersey.

Thanks to current general manager Lou Lamoriello, New Jersey has made the playoffs in 17 out of the last 19 seasons, including each of the last 10.

When are we playing?
7:00 p.m. ET

Who's playing for us?
Andrew Alberts, maybe. Pregame skate is at 11:30 a.m.

Is the game on?
Tune in to NESN, if you’re near a TV, or WBZ, if you prefer the radio, for game coverage. BTW: NESN's producers have ensured me that there is no need to leave their coverage for out of town scores. They have it covered!

9:22 a.m.
Watch Shawn Thornton's Vlog
I am in New Jersey, and my free edition of USA Today points out what some of you probably already know: Nobody is helping the Bruins at all (with the strange and minor exception of the Habs).

The Capitals beat the Hurricanes last night, denying the Black & Gold a chance at clinching the playoffs tonight and creating a serious mess of the standings.

You see, Washington is in ninth, but is tied for third with 90 points. However, they remain out of the playoffs because Carolina has one more win. You dig?

Buffalo needed two points to remain in the mix and hey -- why not -- they beat Toronto in a shootout and got their two points. Wowza!

So, is there any good news? Yes. I mean, sort of.

The B's fate remains in their hands. They have three games to get four points and, although Montreal clinched the Northeast Division title, they helped the B's by beating Ottawa. Merci!

So, the B's could leapfrog the Senators into a points tie with the fifth place New York Rangers (the NYR have 93 points) with a win versus the Devils.

Of course, Philadelphia could, too, if they beat Pittsburgh. But we'll worry about tiebreakers and all that in the morning, won't we. Yuck.

The Bottom Line: Nothing is settled. Yet.

3:41 p.m.
What we know: Andrew Alberts is playing and Tim Thomas was the first goalie off the ice.

Sorry I'm late on the info, but we were hosting the chat this afternoon. Patrice Bergeron had a terrific time talking to the fans an you can check it out under story number one on the front page.

And one more thing -- all of us having fixated on Washington we missed it. It looks as if the B's win tonight and Carolina does not get any points, then the B's clinch the playoffs.

How is that for an afternoon pick-me-up!

5:45 p.m.
John Bishop is the beat writer for He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room.
Bruins head coach Claude Julien wanted no part of talking about two things today -- his being fired by the Devils this time last year and scoreboard watching.

"My main forcus is making the playoffs," said Julien of the Devils decision to dismiss him before last season's playoffs. "That is very, very unimportant to me right now."

Coach also insisted that his B's must concentrate on what they have to do -- i.e. win hockey games -- in order to get into the Eastern Conference playoffs.

"It's the same old, same old," said Coach. "You have to take care of your own business.

"Montreal beat Ottawa and it gives us a chance to move ahead of those guys, if you want to look at it that way.

"But everyone seems to be looking more behind us than ahead of us," he said.

That's fair, and it is probably one of the reasons that most people had no idea that the B's could clinch tonight. But I don't think that Coach minds.

"We just have to keep winning games," he said with a smile. "Hopefully that will sort out things [and we can] sort them out on our own."

6:28 p.m.
Timmy just led the boys out of the room.

Here is the rest of it:
Chara-Ward (sg)Auld
Stuart-Wides (bg)Thomas
Alberts-Hnidy Go Bruins!

Brodeur looks to be in net for New Jersey (duh).

6:51 p.m.
There's not much time left before the game...and it can't come soon enough!

First Period
0:00 Our starters: Lucic, Metropolit, Axelsson, Stuart, Wideman, Thomas.
Their starters: Zubris, Rupp, Asham, Mottau, White, Brodeur.

1:45 Andrew Alberts is back. He just played his first shift.

3:14 A big rebound leads to a goal by Dainius Zubrus.

5:57 Hooking to Zubris. PP for Boston. The B's need a goal.

9:15 Boston hasn't played their best hockey yet, but have put several solid shots on Brodeur. The B's nearly had the tying tally when a puck snuck through Marty's pads -- he sat on it to freeze the play.

10:44 The Lightning just tied Carolina. It's 1-1.

13:47 Boston is starting to carry the play. Solid and constant pressure on Brodeur.

18:55 B's on a power play.

19:38 Another penalty for NJ and a 5-on-3 for Boston.

20:00 It's 1-0 NJ after one. Boston starts with a 55-second two-man advantage to start the second. Carolina has taken a 2-1 lead in their game.

Second Period
0:00 It seems obvious, but in a playoff-type game like this, the next goal is so imortant.

:37 Goal Wideman. And the B's still have a minute on their power play. 1-1.

3:22 The Devils just went on the PP. Huge kill. HUGE kill.

6:59 It was a good kill. And Tim Thomas has been outstanding, since he settled in. Several of the saves he's made this period have been very difficult. BTW: 3-1, Hurricanes.

12:22 Goal? Did Timmy keep it out? Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees! Still 1-1.

14:15 It's 4-1 Hurricanes.

16:33 A very nifty goal by Milan Lucic puts the B's up 2-1. Excellent pass by PJ and a good job by Luch to put enough on the shot.

20:00 That was the best Bruins period in a while -- obviously helped by the no-goal call that went Boston's way. Twenty more minutes to go.

Third Period
0:00 Oh man. This will be a long period.

5:00 Wow. Has the pace of the game slowed. But NJ has not been able to get anything going.

14:32 Not good. I've made it down to the event floor (so as to not miss my bus) and David Clarkson scored for the Devils. 2-2.

20:00 Boston has 92 points and is tied with Ottawa going into OT.

0:00 Hang on to your hats.

2:30 Amazing back and forth action. Both goalies are starring.

Less than a minute: Can't see the game clock, but Giota just got a cross checking call. Boston takes their time out. B's will be on the ice 4-on-3 for the remainder of the OT.

65:00 What a terrific OT. But it is still 2-2.

Parise scores the deciding tally. But Boston got a point...

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