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Need to Know: Bruins vs. Devils

by Eric Russo @NHLBruins / Boston Bruins

BOSTON - The Bruins (2-1-0) return to TD Garden Thursday evening for their 2016-17 home opener against the New Jersey Devils (1-1-1).

Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. on NESN and 98.5 The Sports Hub.

Here's what you need to know:

What to Watch For

For the first time since April, the Bruins will be back in front of the home crowd. And after finishing last season with a losing record at TD Garden (17-18-6), the Bruins are adamant about playing better for the Black & Gold faithful.

"It's going to be nice to be back in front of them," said Bruins center Patrice Bergeron. "Our home record, and playing in front of our fans, we need to take advantage of that and it needs to be something that we're better at it and we play some good hockey at home.

"We all know that every point, every game you play, they're important. We saw that the last few years, so you've got to take advantage and make sure we have a good start here."

Video: Bergeron excited to see Bruins fans

Bergeron has missed the first three games of the season with a lower-body injury, but returned to practice on Wednesday and said he "felt really good on the ice and hopefully it stays throughout the day and [Thursday] morning and we'll go from there."

Coach Claude Julien went a bit further, saying he was optimistic Bergeron would be in the lineup against the Devils.

"I think he's on track to play [Thursday night]," said Julien. "Unless I'm told otherwise…he comes in and feels any different. I think we're hoping he's going to be in the lineup."

Bergeron practiced in his normal spot alongside Brad Marchand. David Pastrnak, who leads the team with four goals, rounded out the trio.

"Pasta's been playing amazing hockey right now," said Bergeron. "He seems to really be creating a lot of chances, but also playing some smart hockey and Brad and David [Backes] were really, really good during that road trip.

"I'm definitely happy to be back with those two guys and have the chance to maybe create some good chemistry."

Opposing View

The Devils are fresh off their first win of the year Tuesday night against Anaheim in the team's home opener. Taylor Hall, acquired from the Edmonton Oilers over the summer, potted his first two goals of the season and Marblehead native Cory Schneider made 23 stops.

Schneider is eighth in the NHL with a 1.99 goals against average and sixth with a .935 save percentage.

New Jersey has allowed just six goals, the fifth-best marker in the league. On the flip side, the Devils have scored just five goals, which is tied with Columbus for the lowest total in the NHL.

Wait, There's More

  • Adam McQuaid also returned to practice Wednesday after missing the season-opening road trip with an upper-body injury. The defenseman said he felt good but was uncertain about his status for the next few days.
  • David Backes moved back to the right wing during Wednesday's skate, alongside Danton Heinen on the left and David Krejci in the middle. Julien is hoping Backes provides a bit of a spark for Krejci, who is still working his way back to top speed following offseason hip surgery. "Backes would be a big help for David and give them some experience, some size, and obviously some grit," said Julien.
  • The Bruins have allowed 12 power plays through three games. Despite surrendering only one goal, good for seventh in the league (91.7 percent), Julien would like his team to be a bit more disciplined. "That's on us," said Julien. "You look at the penalties and most of them were deserved. Certainly, it's on us to maybe get a little bit better staying out of the penalty box and the type of penalties we're taking. You hate taking the ones in the offensive zone. They're not good penalties and then some of them can be the result of recklessness or laziness, so this is where we've got to clean that part of our game a little bit."
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