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At the Rink: Bruins at Devils

by Mike G. Morreale

NEWARK, N.J. -- The New Jersey Devils will have a new look against the Boston Bruins at Prudential Center on Friday (7 p.m. ET; NESN, MSG+).

Injuries prompted Devils general manager Ray Shero to recall three players from Albany of the American Hockey League, and defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani and forwards Jim O'Brien and Paul Thompson, will be in the lineup Friday.

"It's the NHL and guys are here for a reason," Devils (20-16-5) captain Andy Greene said. "Think of how many guys from different leagues around the world would love this opportunity to come up and play in the NHL. We know these guys are ready to do it and they're excited and it's our job to make sure that they feel comfortable, that they're part of the team and ready and can step right in.

"You don't replace those regular guys. But if we all chip in a little extra that's what makes up for it."

Out of the lineup will be forwards Mike Cammalleri, who will miss his fourth straight game because of an upper-body injury; Patrik Elias (right knee); Jacob Josefson (left foot); Tuomo Ruutu (lower body); and Tyler Kennedy (upper body). Also out are defensemen John Moore (lower body) and David Schlemko (lower body).

At the Devils' morning skate Friday, Gragnani was paired with Adam Larsson. Gragnani, 28, has 74 games of NHL experience with the Buffalo Sabres, Vancouver Canucks and Carolina Hurricanes. He signed to a one-year, two-way contract in July.

O'Brien centered Stefan Matteau and Thompson. O'Brien, 26, has 63 games of NHL experience, all with the Ottawa Senators; he signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Devils in July.

Thompson, 27, will make his NHL debut.

"We're all big guys and we're all going to be honest players by working hard," O'Brien said. "It should work out good. Me and [Thompson] have played together in Albany for a while so that helps seeing a familiar face and voice out there on the ice with you. I played with [Matteau] in training camp."

Thompson previously played for Devils coach John Hynes with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the Pittsburgh Penguins' AHL affiliate. The Devils signed him to a two-year, two-way contract in July.

"We're looking for guys to produce and we're getting guys from a winning environment in Albany," Hynes said. "That's important because you're getting guys used to winning. They're confident, and when you win games you do the right things."

Albany is 20-8-3 this season; Thompson has seven goals and 16 points in 22 games, O'Brien has seven goals and 12 points in 17 games, and Gragnani has 15 points, all assists, in 24 games.

The Bruins (20-14-4) are 1-5-0 since a 2-1 shootout victory against the Devils on Dec. 20. They held an optional skate Friday.

Friday marks the first of five games in eight days, all on the road. The Bruins have been more successful on the road (11-3-2) than at home (9-11-2) this season, but they're allowing 2.31 goals per game on the road compared to 3.05 at home.

"We've played some solid hockey [on the road] and taken a good approach to our game as far as not trying to do too much," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "Maybe at home you try and put on a better show. But we've just seemed to be better and better prepared and have worked harder and smarter on the road."

Bruins goaltender Jonas Gustavsson likely will make his first start in five games. In nine career games against the Devils he's 6-1-1 with a 2.55 goals-against average and .903 save percentage.

Here are the projected lineups:


Loui Eriksson - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak

Matt Beleskey - Ryan Spooner - Brett Connolly

Frank Vatrano - Joonas Kemppainen - Jimmy Hayes

Landon Ferraro - Zac Rinaldo - Max Talbot

Zdeno Chara - Zach Trotman

Dennis Seidenberg - Colin Miller

Torey Krug - Kevan Miller

Jonas Gustavsson

Tuukka Rask

Injured: David Krejci (upper body), Chris Kelly (broken femur), Adam McQuaid (upper body)

Scratched: Joe Morrow, Tyler Randell

Suspended: Brad Marchand


Jiri Tlusty - Travis Zajac - Kyle Palmieri

Sergey Kalinin - Adam Henrique - Lee Stempniak

Stefan Matteau - Jim O'Brien - Paul Thompson

Bobby Farnham - Stephen Gionta - Jordin Tootoo

Andy Greene - Damon Severson

Marc-Andre Gragnani - Adam Larsson

Eric Gelinas - Jon Merrill

Cory Schneider

Keith Kinkaid

Injured: Patrik Elias (knee), Jacob Josefson (lower body), Mike Cammalleri (upper body), David Schlemko (lower body), Tuomo Ruutu (lower body), Tyler Kennedy (upper body)

Scratched: None

Status report: Pastrnak sustained a finger injury while playing for the Czech Republic at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship p but was cleared by the Bruins' medical staff and should be in the lineup. … Schlemko and Kennedy were on the ice for the morning skate but not healthy enough to be in the lineup. Schlemko, injured in a 1-0 loss against the Detroit Red Wings on Monday, and Kennedy, who was hurt during the pregame warmup Wednesday prior to a 2-1 loss against the Canadiens, are hopeful to return to the lineup against the Minnesota Wild on Sunday. … Ruutu was placed on injured reserve Friday, retroactive to Jan. 6. … Hynes said Cammalleri, who is on injured reserve, is "waiting for a situation where he feels a little better to play." … Moore is day-to-day.

Who's hot: Eriksson has three goals and nine points in the past nine games. … Schneider is 2-2-0 in his past four games but has a 1.26 goals-against average in that span.


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