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Red-hot Bruins set to host 3-0-1 Devils

by Brian Hunter

DEVILS (3-0-1) at BRUINS (4-0-1)


Season series: First of three meetings. The Bruins swept the Devils last season, outscoring them 18-8 in the process. However, both games at TD Garden were decided by a single goal, with one requiring overtime.

Big story: The only two teams left in the Eastern Conference without a regulation defeat square off. Boston, which won the Stanley Cup in 2011, is off to its best start in over two decades. New Jersey, which went to the Final in 2012, is off to its best start since the 1995-96 season. Johan Hedberg will get his first start in goal this season for the Devils.

Team Scope:

Devils: Slow starts to games have troubled New Jersey this season, although prior to Sunday's game in Montreal the Devils hadn't given up a goal in the first or second period. That changed as the Canadiens struck for a pair in the opening 20 minutes, forcing the visitors to play catch-up all night. The Devils rallied in the third and forced overtime on goals by David Clarkson and Dainius Zubrus, but a penalty to Andy Greene in the extra period led to Andrei Markov's power-play marker and a 4-3 defeat, Jersey's first of the season.

"They came out strong, they came out fast and we knew it [was coming]," goalie Martin Brodeur said. "We thought we were prepared for it but they caught us off guard a little bit and took advantage of it."

Bruins: Except for giving up a pair of goals in a 50-second span late in the second to allow host Carolina to pull into a 3-3 tie, it was a pretty solid road effort for Boston on Monday night. Special-teams goals by Brad Marchand (shorthanded) and Zdeno Chara (power play) gave the Bruins the early lead. Nathan Horton had a gorgeous goal in the second, then David Krejci had the go-ahead tally with 1:50 left in regulation. Anton Khudobin was solid in his first start of the season and got rewarded with a 5-3 victory.

"I think we're playing pretty good hockey," Krejci said in an interview after the game with NHL Network. "We know it's a short season so we want to get off to a good start, and we've done that, so we just have to keep it going."

Who's hot: Patrik Elias has two goals and three assists in the last two games, bringing the Devils' all-time leading scorer to 900 points for his career. Clarkson (3-3-6) and Ilya Kovalchuk (2-3-5) have points in all four games. … Chara (2-3-5), Horton (2-2-4), Krejci (1-3-4) and Dougie Hamilton (0-4-4) all have three-game points streaks active for the Bruins.

Injury report: New Jersey forward Adam Henrique could return from left thumb surgery by the end of this week. … Boston forward Jordan Caron (upper body) is on injured reserve, while defenseman Adam McQuaid missed Monday's game due to personal reasons.

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