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At the Rink: Bruins at Devils

by Mike G. Morreale

NEWARK, N.J. -- Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask has an illness and is questionable to play against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Friday.

Bruins coach Claude Julien said after practice that he would not commit to any goalie until first consulting with Rask prior to the game. He did say that the team is taking precautions and that if he was not healthy enough to play he wouldn't be on the bench as a backup.

"We'll probably bring a goalie in here for game time if [Rask] isn't feeling well," Julien said. "He talked to me this morning and was feeling a little better so we'll see."

The Bruins recalled goaltender Jeremy Smith from Providence of the American Hockey League as an insurance policy.

Rask has played 18 straight games and has started 16 of them; he is 8-6-3 with one shutout, a 2.08 goals-against average and .931 save-percentage during that stretch. It obviously would be a major blow to lose Rask as the Bruins try to cement their spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Bruins already are without forwards David Krejci (left knee) and Gregory Campbell (upper body). Krejci likely will miss four to six weeks because of a partially torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee, an injury that occurred in a game against the St. Louis Blues on Feb. 20. Campbell is expected to be out another week.

"We'll look at [Rask] before the game and see how he's feeling before I announce anything here," Julien said. "There's a lot of things that are happening so I'm not in a position to say who will be the starting goalie right now."

Bruins goalie Niklas Svedberg made 14 saves in a 3-0 victory against the Devils on Jan. 8. The Bruins are 14-3-0 in the past 17 games against the Devils; six of the past nine games have been decided by one goal.

The Bruins have the second Eastern Conference wild-card spot but have lost seven of the past eight games (1-5-2).

The Devils will play their first game since forward Jaromir Jagr was traded to the Florida Panthers on Thursday for a second-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft and a conditional third-round pick in the 2016 draft.

Julien doesn't think the trade will have any negative affect on how the Devils will play.

"I don't think we're in a position to take advantage of anything right now," Julien said. "The one thing I know is that when you do something like that, from the other team's side, a lot of times it could be viewed as an opportunity for others. Sometimes teams do that and you think they are going to disintegrate but they get loose and start playing even better. So I'm certainly not banking on that. It would be reckless on our part to bank on that."

The Devils, who travel to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday, have won 14 of their past 17 games (11-3-3) at Prudential Center.

Here are the projected lineups:


Milan Lucic - Ryan Spooner - David Pastrnak

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Reilly Smith

Daniel Paille - Carl Soderberg - Loui Eriksson

Jordan Caron - Chris Kelly - Brian Ferlin

Zdeno Chara - Dougie Hamilton

Matt Bartkowski - Dennis Seidenberg

Torey Krug - Adam McQuaid

Niklas Svedberg

Jeremy Smith

Scratched: Craig Cunningham

Injured: Tuukka Rask (ill), Gregory Campbell (upper body), David Krejci (left knee), Kevan Miller (shoulder)


Adam Henrique - Patrik Elias - Steve Bernier

Mike Cammalleri - Travis Zajac - Jordin Tootoo

Dainius Zubrus - Jacob Josefson - Martin Havlat

Tuomo Ruutu - Stephen Gionta - Michael Ryder

Andy Greene - Adam Larsson

Jon Merrill - Marek Zidlicky

Eric Gelinas - Peter Harrold

Cory Schneider

Scott Clemmensen

Scratched: Mark Fraser

Injured: Keith Kinkaid (lower leg), Damon Severson (fractured left ankle), Bryce Salvador (back), Ryane Clowe (concussion), Scott Gomez (ill)

Status report: Gomez is "highly questionable" to play after waking up sick Friday, according to co-coach Lou Lamoriello. … Ryder, a healthy scratch the past six games, skated on a line with Ruutu and Gionta. … Kinkaid and Severson practiced but remain out. … Havlat, a healthy scratch the past five games, was working on a line with Zubrus and Josefson. … Julien said he will determine his starting goalie after pregame warmups. Smith has dressed as a backup before but has never played an NHL game.

Who's hot: Bergeron has six goals and 10 points in the past 12 games. … Schneider is 10-5-1 with a 1.72 GAA and .943 save percentage in 18 games in the 2015 calendar year.


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