Gameday: Devils at Bruins (1/29/13)

David Clarkson, Zach Parise, Zdeno Chara

David Clarkson and the Devils look to rebound from their first loss of the season in Boston.

Who: New Jersey Devils at Boston Bruins
When: 7:00 p.m. ET; Pregame show at 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: TD Bank Garden, Boston, MA
Media: TV – MSG+ (Channel listings); RadioWFAN (660AM or 101.9FM)
Twitter: @cgriffin415 | @SNYDevils

Stats & Notes (via Devils PR)

  • With a win tonight New Jersey would have its most points through the season’s first five games since 1993-94 (5-0-0=10).
  • The Devils also hope to snap a four-game losing streak in Boston (last win, 2-1 SO 11/27/09).
  • With a point tonight David Clarkson would tie his career-high scoring streak (5g-3a-8pts, Jan. 31-Feb. 7, 2012).
  • RW Matt Anderson was re-called from Albany (AHL) this morning and could make his NHL debut tonight. Anderson has 7g-13a-20pts in 39 games for Albany this season.

Expected Lineups

Forwards                                                            Defense                                                  Goalie
Matteau-Zajac-Kovalchuk                                Salvador-Zidlicky                                           Hedberg
Zubrus-Elias-Clarkson                                     Tallinder-Volchenkov
Carter-Gionta-Bernier                                      Greene-Fayne

Inactives: Harrold, Larsson, Janssen

Last shot: I’ll avoid quoting Eminem here, but needless to say, if Stefan Matteau were going to have a signature game tonight would be the night to do it. After Tuesday’s game against Boston, which he’s expected to start on the top line again, it’ll be decision time for Devils brass. It didn’t take long for Pete DeBoer to take Matteau off the top line Sunday and Ill be watching to see just how long he lasts tonight. While most of the other junior-eligible prospects are sticking around this season, Matteau will need quite the night to prove he belongs in the NHL right now — and I’m not counting on it.

30’s the new…: Matt Anderson, 30-year-old “rookie,” will make his NHL debut tonight in place of the demoted Mattias Tedenby. He’s already admitted he’ll be very nervous tonight, which makes starting out on the fourth line a smart move. Really, don’t expect much from Anderson tonight. After spending most of his career in the AHL, he’ll likely be playing out of his skates throughout the game. Expect Anderson to focus on not making any mistakes against Boston while likely playing the same 10 minutes that Tedenby had settled into. At the very least, it should be fun to watch a guy finally get his shot at the league after five years in college and almost six years in the minors.

Rebound: Although we talked earlier in the season about the Devils capitalizing on loose pucks, the focus tonight is on how the Devils come back from their first loss of the season. Central to that will be the Devils’ first period effort, which has gotten progressively worse the last three games — not exactly what you want to see as the season develops. DeBoer put the onus on the Devils’ leaders to make sure they get that fixed going forward and believe me, the Bruins will test the Devils early. If the Devils come out slow-footed and turn the puck over in the neutral zone, they’ll be in a hole similar to the one they dug in Montreal. Boston is a much tougher team to come back against, however, and a slow first could mean a second straight loss for DeBoer and company.

Moose sighting: It’ll be Johan Hedberg’s first game in goal after his first competitive action April 17, 2012. When I spoke to Hedberg last week, he admitted that such a long layoff can make things tough, but was confident he’d be ready when called upon. Well, there’s not many better tests for the man affectionately known as “Moose” than the extremely talented and extremely sounds Bruins. Look for the Bruins to try to get as many shots on net as possible in the first period before Hedberg settles into a groove and don’t be surprised if you see a bad goal early on. No matter how much time and sweat you pour into practice, it’s always tough coming off the bench after almost 10 months of not playing a game.