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Bruins resume playoff hunt with visit to Devils

by Mike G. Morreale
BRUINS (30-25-12) at DEVILS (40-24-3)

Last 10 -- Boston 6-3-1; New Jersey 4-5-1

Season series --
The Devils hold a 2-0 lead in the season series after earning a 2-1 shootout decision over Boston at TD Garden on Nov. 27. Zach Parise and Jamie Langenbrunner connected in the shootout to lead the Devils and goalie Martin Brodeur finished with 32 saves.

Big Story --
Both teams are right in the thick of the playoff race heading down the stretch. The Bruins are currently eighth, just one point ahead of the Rangers with two games in hand. The Lightning are four points behind Boston. The Devils, who were denied their first three-game winning streak since late December with a loss to the Islanders on Saturday, are fourth. New Jersey is four points behind Atlantic Division-leading Pittsburgh.

Team Scope:

Bruins --
The Bruins are 2-2-1 in their opening five matches of a seven-game road swing that continues in New Jersey before concluding in Carolina on Tuesday.  They dropped their third game in four contests on Saturday following a 3-2 setback to the Canadiens. Goalie Tuukka Rask misplayed the puck behind his own net on a play that ultimately would lead to Sergei Kostitsyn's second of the game at 1:41 of the third period to give the host team a 3-1 lead.

Devils --
Backup goalie Yann Danis got the nod between the pipes on Saturday in a 4-2 loss to the New York Islanders. Danis, who made 25 saves, was making only his fifth start in 67 games. It was Danis' 10th appearance of the season and first since relieving Brodeur in Carolina on Feb. 13.

"It hasn't been easy," Danis said. "Obviously, you want to play and I'd like to play more often. It helps to stay focused and stay confident but it is what it is. I have to work hard in practice every day and make sure when I'm playing, that I'm ready."

Who's Hot -- Boston's line of center Patrice Bergeron with wings Mark Recchi and Marco Sturm has combined for 13 points in the last three games. Bergeron, who will be relied upon heavily now that Savard is sidelined with a concussion, has notched 2 goals and 5 points over that stretch. … Devils' forward Ilya Kovalchuk has 2 goals and 4 points over his last two games.

Injury Report -- For Boston, Savard (concussion) is out, Miroslav Satan (groin) is questionable and Andrew Ference (groin) is doubtful. … Paul Martin (forearm), out since Oct. 24, is about a week away from returning to the Devils.

Stat Pack --
The Devils' "no name" defense, which includes Colin White, Andy Greene, Bryce Salvador, Mike Mottau, Anssi Salmela and Martin Skoula, has accrued nine points over the last three games. Mottau scored his first goal since Nov. 28 in the loss to the Islanders on Saturday.

Puck Drop -- Bergeron was one of six Canadian Olympic gold-medalists to be honored before Boston's game at Montreal's Bell Centre on Saturday.

"It was nice to get that ovation and it was nice from the Canadiens' standpoint to honor the Olympics," Bergeron said.

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