NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, April 4th (All times Eastern)
New Jersey Devils (15-12-9) at Boston Bruins (23-8-4), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien doesn't expect newly-acquired winger Jaromir Jagr to come in and save his club.
The addition of Jagr, though, certainly improves the Bruins' chances at making another championship run and they hope that the 41-year-old's debut with the club on Thursday night is a successful one in a meeting with the New Jersey Devils.
After watching the Eastern Conference-leading Pittsburgh Penguins acquire the likes of Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow and Douglas Murray already this season, the Bruins made a trade of their own on Tuesday, dealing forwards Lane MacDermid and Cody Payne to the Dallas Stars along with a conditional second- round pick in exchange for Jagr.
The veteran notched 14 goals and 12 assists in 34 games during his first season with the Stars and has logged 679 goals and 1,000 assists in 1,380 games. He adds depth to a Bruins team that is fourth overall in the East and a point back of the Montreal Canadiens for first place in the Northeast Division.
Julien said after Tuesday's 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators that he liked the move and that Jagr should help Boston in a bunch of different areas. However, he cautioned about expecting too much from the winger.
"Well, there's no doubt he's going to help us. And I think that's the key word, he's coming to help us. He's not coming to save us," said Julien. "That's what people have to understand. He's a great player, and he still is a great player, but at the same time, if we expect to watch him do the work we're not going to be going anywhere. We need our team to play better and he's certainly going to help our team be better."
Boston takes aim at a third straight victory on Thursday and had gone just 2-4-1 prior to consecutive wins over Buffalo and Ottawa.
David Krejci and Tyler Seguin scored first-period goals on Tuesday versus the Senators and Nathan Horton put home the game-winner in the third period. It marked his fourth straight game with a goal and came after Ottawa had tied the game early in the third.
"It was nice to see we bounced back in the third and scored that goal," said Bruins forward Milan Lucic.
Julien opted to give backup Anton Khudobin another start and he responded with a career-high 45 saves. Boston was just as busy on the offensive side, unleashing 50 shots on goal.
While the Bruins made a move to add Jagr, they also lost forward Patrice Bergeron to injury versus the Senators. He suffered an upper body injury in the second period and no update was given after the game, but general manager Peter Chiarelli said on Wednesday that Bergeron had suffered a concussion.
The Devils are dealing with their own injury as they have gone 0-1-3 in four games since losing winger Ilya Kovalchuk to a shoulder injury. They failed to earn a point for the first time in that stretch with Monday's 3-1 loss to the New York Islanders.
Alexei Ponikarovsky scored and Martin Brodeur made 18 saves for the Devils, who are 2-3-4 in their last nine and are tied with the New York Rangers and Islanders for the final two playoff spots in the East.
Brodeur knows that the Devils have time to solidify a playoff spot, citing last season's late success. New Jersey tripped through a 2-4-1 span before ending the season with six straight wins to claim the East's sixth seed.
"Last year we were in a similar situation and we won our last six games, or something like that, to get in the playoffs," said Brodeur. "We just have to find a way to start scraping away."
That could be tough to do versus the Bruins, who have won five straight and nine of the previous 10 encounters. That includes a 2-1 shootout victory in Boston on Jan. 29, the Bruins' fifth straight home win versus New Jersey.
The Devils made a move prior to Wednesday's trade deadline, sending a 2014 seventh-round pick to the Phoenix Coyotes for forward Steve Sullivan, originally a ninth-round draft choice by New Jersey in 1994.
The 38-year-old Sullivan, who played the first 49 games of his career with the Devils before moving on to the Toronto Maple Leafs, had five goals and 12 points in 33 games this season. He recently surpassed the 1,000 games played milestone and has 288 goals and 742 points in his career.
Boston also made a minor move on Wednesday, sending a conditional 2014 seventh-round pick to the St. Louis Blues for 35-year-old defenseman Wade Redden, who had five points in 23 games this season.
04/04 10:28:15 ET