Boston
Bruins
29-37-16
New Jersey
Devils
46-27-9

27 SOG
24 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
BOS
NJD
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Bruins-Devils Preview

Friday, 03.24.2006 / 7:30 PM

Associated Press

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Bruins-Devils Preview
Boston Bruins vs. New Jersey Devils

GAME: Boston Bruins (27-31-12) at New Jersey Devils (34-26-9).

TIME: Friday, 7:30 p.m. EST.

The New Jersey Devils seek their first season sweep of the Boston Bruins in franchise history when the teams meet at Continental Airlines Arena.

New Jersey won each of the three previous meetings between the teams this season by one goal, including a 5-4 shootout win on Oct. 29 and a 3-2 victory in overtime on Feb. 9.

Seeded seventh in the Eastern Conference with 77 points, the Devils trail sixth-seeded Tampa Bay by two points with 13 games remaining.

Boston is seeded 13th with 66 points, but is only 10 points behind Atlanta for the eighth and final playoff spot.

The Devils have lost three straight games and five of their last six, scoring just 12 goals in those six contests.

Five of those scores came Thursday, when New Jersey surrendered a three-goal third-period lead against the Thrashers before losing 6-5 in overtime. Peter Bondra beat goaltender Martin Brodeur at 1:03 of overtime to win it for Atlanta.

"The wheels fell apart," said Brodeur, who had 24 saves. "They beat us on the rebound. We had a 4-1 lead, so we have no one else to blame."

Brian Gionta scored his team-high 38th goal in the loss, one of three New Jersey power-play scores. The Devils had totaled just three goals with the man advantage in their previous 12 games.

Gionta has three goals in New Jersey's three meetings with Boston this season.

Boston is also coming off a defeat to the Thrashers, has lost two straight overall, and is 3-8-2 since its last meeting with New Jersey on Feb. 9.

In Tuesday's 5-4 shootout loss, Patrice Bergeron had a goal and two assists and Brad Boyes extended his points streak to seven games, but Atlanta's Jim Slater scored the game-winner in the fourth extra shootout session.

"We were playing a good game and beating the team that's been charging lately, so it wasn't hard to get the morale up before the game or during, it's just low now," said goalie Tim Thomas, who faced at least 30 shots for the 15th time in 24 starts, finishing with 36 saves.

Boyes has six goals and four assists during his points streak, but has just one assist in three games versus the Devils this season.

STANDINGS: Bruins - 66 points, 5th place, 34 PB, Northeast Division. Devils - 77 points, 3rd place, 11 PB, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Bruins - Bergeron, 23 goals, 38 assists and 61 points; Hal Gill, 110 PIM. Devils - Gionta, 38 goals and 66 points; Scott Gomez, 38 assists; Colin White, 77 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Bruins - Power play: 15.8 percent (58 for 367), 24th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.1 percent (350 for 416), 8th. Devils - Power play: 16.6 percent (63 for 380), 22nd. Penalty killing: 81.4 percent (245 for 301), 20th (tied).

GOALTENDERS: Bruins - Thomas (10-8-6, 1 SO, 2.49 GAA); Andrew Raycroft (8-18-2, 3.67). Devils - Brodeur (32-22-7, 5, 2.65); Scott Clemmensen (2-4-2, 3.49).

SEASON SERIES: Devils, 3-0.

LAST MEETING: Feb. 9; Devils, 3-2 (OT). At Boston, Gionta scored his second goal of the game at 2:10 of overtime as New Jersey snapped a three-game road losing skid. Thomas made 31 saves for the Bruins.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Bruins - 13-17-5 on the road; Devils - 21-10-3 at home.

2005-2006 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 24 '06BOS 2 at NJD 4Z. Parise
Feb 09 '06NJD 3 at BOS 2 - OTB. Gionta
Nov 29 '05BOS 2 at NJD 3A. Mogilny
Oct 29 '05NJD 5 at BOS 4 - SOB. Gionta
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
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