GAME: Boston Bruins (40-19-15-7) at New Jersey Devils (43-24-12-2).
TIME: Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT.
The Boston Bruins better get used to East Rutherford, N.J. They might be
calling it home for a while.
With two division titles and playoff seeding in the Eastern Conference
hinging directly on this game, the Bruins and Devils conclude the regular
The Bruins came into this weekend's home-and-home set with the Devils
controlling their own destiny, but Saturday's 5-2 loss, coupled with the
Toronto Maple Leafs' 6-0 win over the Ottawa Senators, has put Boston in a
must-win situation if it wants the Northeast Division title and the second seed
in the East.
If the Bruins get just one point out of Sunday's game, Toronto will win the
division on a tiebreaker and push Boston down to the fourth seed.
Boston will fall as far as sixth if it loses and the Philadelphia Flyers
defeat the New York Islanders on Sunday. The Bruins would then open the
playoffs at New Jersey.
To make things even more tense for the Bruins, they probably will have to
play this game without leading scorer Joe Thornton.
Speaking to reporters in the Bruins locker room after Saturday's loss,
Thornton refused to give any information about his injury except to repeat the
team's official line of "upper body injury."
"It's pretty much the same as it was on Thursday," he said. "(I'm) a
little concerned. Obviously, you want to go into the playoffs healthy."
Thornton said he would continue to ice the injury and test it Sunday. He
left Thursday's game against the Washington Capitals after taking a slash to
his right wrist and falling hard on the ice. Various reports have said
Thornton's injury is to his wrist or his ribs.
Pressed on whether his arms are part of his upper body, Thornton said,
"Anything from my waist up is my upper body."
The Devils' scenario is simple. If they beat or tie the Bruins on Sunday, or
the Flyers lose in regulation on Long Island, they will win the Atlantic
Division and be the third seed in the playoffs. New Jersey holds the first
tiebreaker on Philadelphia.
If the Devils lose and the Flyers win, New Jersey will fall all the way to
"It's still a big game for us," Devils forward Scott Gomez said. "It just
shows you how crazy this league is. Anything could happen."
STANDINGS: Bruins - 102 points, 2nd place (tied), 1 PB, Northeast Division.
Devils - 100 points, 1st place (tied), Atlantic Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Bruins - Glen Murray, 31 goals; Thornton, 50 assists and 73
points; Doug Doull, 132 PIM. Devils - Patrik Elias, 37 goals and 78 points;
Gomez, 54 assists; Colin White, 94 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through April 2): Bruins - Power play: 16.2 percent (47 for
290), 14th (tied) in NHL. Penalty killing: 83.9 percent (270 for 322), 18th
(tied). Devils - Power play: 16.1 percent (48 for 299), 16th. Penalty killing:
85.2 percent (218 for 256), 6th (tied).
GOALTENDERS: Bruins - Andrew Raycroft (28-17-9, 3 SO, 2.02 GAA); Felix
Potvin (12-8-6, 4, 2.50). Devils - Martin Brodeur (37-25-11, 11, 2.02); Scott
Clemmensen (3-1-0, 2, 1.01).
SEASON SERIES: Even, 1-1-1.
LAST MEETING: Saturday; Devils, 5-2. At Boston, Brodeur stopped 38 shots,
and Scott Niedermayer and Elias each had a goal and two assists for New Jersey.
Boston's Raycroft, a leading candidate for rookie of the year, allowed all five
goals on 30 shots.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Bruins - 22-7-6-5 on the road; Devils - 22-12-5-1 at