Boston Bruins vs New Jersey Devils Predictions

Thu 1/14 7:00 ET
Boston Bruins
New Jersey Devils
Prudential Center

Puck Line Pick

There have been lots of changes for the Boston Bruins in 2021, starting with the departure of their captain Zdeno Chara and powerplay specialist Torey Krug. On top of that, two key contributors to their powerful offense will be out to start the year, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. Those two were both in the top 10 in scoring in the NHL last season. But this team was built with depth in mind and with the plan that key players will leave, and new ones will step up. David Krejci will become an important component of the Bruins’ powerplay and the door will open for Charlie McAvoy to become the quarterback on the point. Newly-appointed captain Patrice Bergeron will be counted on to build on his 0.92 points per game from a year ago while Marchand and Pastrnak are out. There is no player in this league that can step up in big moments like Bergeron and I don’t expect anything less going into Thursday night.

New Jersey is still trying to figure out who they are as they add young players up front and get older on the back end. Former #1 overall pick Jack Hughes becomes the team’s top center with little support from his wingers. Kyle Palmieri was the Devils’ only player to score 20+ goals a year ago and another former #1 pick Nico Hischier is sidelined to start the season.

The Bruins might not look or play the same way, but I expect them to still be one of the toughest teams to play against. Take Boston on the puck line.

Game Totals Pick

In the midst of their second-round playoff series against Tampa Bay, Tuukka Rask abruptly left the bubble for family reasons and took a lot of criticism for it. He has a lot to prove to the league that he is still an elite goaltender and that he can lead the Bruins back to the Stanley Cup. However, before he left the bubble he wasn’t playing his best hockey with a 2.57 GAA and a .904 SV%. Rask will have a short window to prove he can still be the starter in Boston.

At the other end of the rink, Mackenzie Blackwood will get the start for New Jersey. A few days ago, former Stanley Cup winner Corey Crawford announced his retirement paving the way for the 24-year-old Blackwood to be the opening day starter. With only 64 career starts and a 2.72 career GAA, there will be a short leash on the young netminder who will not have a lot of help from his aging defense, which features three players over the age of 30.

Boston’s depth will be the main factor in pushing this game to the over. Look for the Bruins’ third line of Charlie Coyle, Nick Ritchie, and Craig Smith to pitch in with some offense. There will likely be a few goals in this game, mainly from the team in Black and Yellow. Take the over.

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