Season series: This is the third of four meetings between the clubs this season. The Bruins won the first two, including a 6-1 decision over the Devils at Prudential Center on Jan. 4.
Big Story: Boston will get Brad Marchand back in the lineup, as he is now finished serving out his five-game suspension for clipping Canucks defenseman Sami Salo on Jan. 7. The Bruins went 3-2 without their feisty winger. The Devils, meanwhile, have won three in a row, including a 5-1 victory over Winnipeg on Tuesday. Rookie center Adam Henrique hopes to get back in the lineup after missing the last two games.
Bruins: Marchand returning is the big story. He will once again make the Bruins whole and should return to his regular line with Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin. Benoit Pouliot was filling in there.
Marchand is a key to the Bruins' success. The lightning rod left wing is fifth on the team in scoring with 32 points on 16 goals and 16 assists. He hasn't played since he was issued a five-minute major and a game misconduct for clipping Salo in the second period of the Bruins' 4-3 loss to Vancouver.
He said he doesn't anticipate any problems getting back into the lineup after his mandated five-game ban, and he will bring energy.
"That's the plan," he told the Bruins' website. "Go in and create energy like I try to do, continue to play my game and hopefully get some shifts back with Seggs and Bergy -- if that's where I am -- and carry on where we left off."
The Bruins should also have Rich Peverley back in the lineup. He missed the last two games due to a personal matter.
Devils: Just as the Bruins will be whole again with the returns of Marchand and Peverley, the Devils are hoping Henrique is able to get back into the lineup. He's missed the last two games with a groin injury, but he skated in practice Wednesday and will take the morning skate Thursday. If all goes well, he should play against the Bruins.
"I think so, but we'll see how he responds," coach Pete DeBoer said in the Newark Star-Ledger. "He got through a full practice. Now the question is whether it will be sore (Thursday) or not. I thought he looked good. Obviously he's a key part of our team. It didn't look like he was favoring it. That's a good sign."
Henrique said he was thinking about his injury the entire time he practiced Wednesday, but that has more to do with the fact that he hadn't skated in a while. He was back on a line with Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk.
Who's Hot: Speaking of Kovalchuk, the Devils' superstar has 7 goals in his last six games and now has the team lead with 19. He's had 2 points in five of the last six games and in 10 of the last 16. … Bruins forward Nathan Horton had 2 goals in Tuesday's 5-3 loss to Tampa Bay after going pointless in the previous two games.
Injury Report: The Bruins arrive in Newark healthy. … Henrique is the questionable Devil, but the team is also missing Travis Zajac (Achilles) and Andy Greene (foot).
Stat Pack: In the five games they were without Marchand, Bergeron had 3 goals and 2 assists, but Seguin had just 1 goal and 2 assists. … In the two games they were without Henrique, Kovalchuk had 2 goals and Parise had an assist. However, all of their scoring came in the 5-1 win over Winnipeg on Tuesday.
Puck Drop: The last time these teams played, Boston routed the Devils, 6-1. It was only two weeks ago, so the Devils have not forgotten.
"We weren't, for me, emotionally involved in the game," DeBoer said. "That's a team that, if you're not ready to go nose-to-nose with them in the tough areas of the rink, you're not going to have a lot of success. For whatever reason, we were not emotionally engaged. That team will embarrass you if you're not."