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Devils at Bruins preview

Chara returns, McAvoy out for Boston; Hall sidelined for New Jersey

by Matt Kalman / Correspondent

DEVILS (12-16-7) at BRUINS (20-13-4)

7 p.m. ET; SN360, SNE, SNO, NESN, MSG+, NHL.TV 


The Game

Zdeno Chara will return to the lineup after missing 19 games with a knee injury when the Boston Bruins host the New Jersey Devils at TD Garden on Thursday.

The 41-year-old defenseman will be in the Bruins lineup for the first time since he was injured in a 6-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Nov. 14. Chara has four points (three goals, one assist) in 18 games this season for Boston, 3-1-0 in its past four games and 6-3-0 in its past nine.

Forward Jake DeBrusk (concussion) and defenseman Kevan Miller (throat) also will return for the Bruins, but defenseman Charlie McAvoy is out with a lower-body injury. Miller missed 13 games; DeBrusk missed nine.

Forward Taylor Hall will not play for the Devils because of a lower-body injury. Hall missed two games earlier this month with the same injury for New Jersey, 1-3-1 in its past five games and 3-7-5 in its past 15.


Players to watch

Devils forward Kyle Palmieri has five points (one goal, four assists) in his past four games.

Bruins center Patrice Bergeron has four points (two goals, two assists) in two games since he returned after missing 16 games with a rib/collarbone injury.


They said it

"We all have to elevate our games and make sure we're at our best. Obviously he's a big part of this team and drives our offense. For us, it's an opportunity for someone else to come in and play well, and for us as a group to come together and play well." -- Devils forward Travis Zajac on missing injured forward Taylor Hall

"[Miller] and [Chara] both relish playing against good offensive players and they take a lot of pride in shutting them down and hopefully leaving with a few welts on their body. So I think that's what we miss when Kevan and [Chara are out]." -- Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy on the return of defensemen Zdeno Chara and Kevan Miller 


Devils projected lineup

Jesper Bratt -- Nico Hischier -- Kyle Palmieri

John Quenneville -- Travis Zajac -- Blake Coleman

Miles Wood -- Pavel Zacha -- Stefan Noesen

Brian Boyle -- Brett Seney -- Drew Stafford

Andy Greene -- Damon Severson

Steven Santini -- Sami Vatanen

Will Butcher -- Ben Lovejoy

Mackenzie Blackwood

Keith Kinkaid

Scratched: Egor Yakovlev, Mirco Mueller

Injured: Taylor Hall (lower body), Cory Schneider (abdominal strain), Marcus Johansson (upper body), Joey Anderson (broken ankle)


Bruins projected lineup

Brad Marchand -- Patrice Bergeron -- David Pastrnak

Danton Heinen -- David Krejci -- Jake DeBrusk

Ryan Donato -- Colby Cave -- David Backes

Joakim Nordstrom -- Sean Kuraly -- Chris Wagner

Zdeno Chara -- Matt Grzelcyk

Torey Krug -- Brandon Carlo

John Moore -- Kevan Miller

Jaroslav Halak

Tuukka Rask

Scratched: Steven Kampfer, Noel Acciari, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson

Injured: Charlie McAvoy (lower body)


Status report

The Devils held their morning skate in New Jersey before flying to Boston. … Noesen will return after missing seven games. … McAvoy is day to day.


Stat pack

Blackwood, who will make his second NHL start and fourth appearance, is looking for his first win. … Marchand has eight points (two goals, six assists) in a four-game point streak.

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