Devils-Bruins Preview

Ilya Kovalchuk ended his recent slump with a dramatic goal in

the New Jersey Devils’ latest victory. Now he’ll look to end

another drought against a conference foe Monday night.

The Devils visit the Boston Bruins, who have held Kovalchuk

without a point in four consecutive meetings.

Kovalchuk scored for the first time in seven games Friday when

his power-play goal 3:27 into overtime beat Edmonton 4-3. It was

Kovalchuk’s fourth goal in his 16th game this season after he

reached that mark in two games in 2009-10.

Two nights earlier, Kovalchuk lost the puck on a shootout

attempt, handing the Devils a 5-4 loss to Buffalo and drawing boos

from the home fans. Friday, the crowd at Prudential Center stood

and cheered.

“Yeah, that’s nice. Better than last game. So I appreciate

that,” Kovalchuk said. “Especially after the last game, you just

have to smile and go through it.”

The forward has 21 goals and 18 assists in 34 games against the

Bruins, but he’s been held off the scoresheet in four straight and

six of his last eight matchups with them.

Martin Brodeur made 21 saves Friday after missing the previous

two games with a bruised elbow.

The victory was the first at home for New Jersey (5-10-2), which

became the final team to win in its own building.

“We’ve been working hard and it’s nice to get that first home

win,” first-year coach John MacLean said. “It’s great that we won

but we have some work to do. We have some things we have to clean

up.

“We’ll take the positives tonight and tomorrow we’ll look at it

and get ready for Monday.”

The Devils may be without captain Jamie Langenbrunner for the

second straight contest after he went headfirst into the boards

against the Sabres.

“We’ll have to see how he feels tomorrow,” MacLean said

Saturday. “He was sore today. We’ll see how it responds

tomorrow.”

The Bruins’ Tim Thomas, who made 31 saves in a 4-1 win at New

Jersey on Oct. 16, is likely to start. He lost 2-0 to Ottawa on

Saturday but is 8-1-0 with a 1.45 goals-against average.

“I know you’re not going to win them all. (But I) want to,”

Thomas said. “I thought it was going to be 9-0 after tonight. But

that’s hockey: It doesn’t always work out the way you want it

to.”

Boston (8-5-1) has lost two straight and four of five.

“I’m not going to throw anybody under the bus,” coach Claude

Julien said, “but I’m not going to praise our team because we

didn’t play well.”

Leading scorer Nathan Horton has only two goals in his last

eight games. After beating Pittsburgh 7-4 on Thursday, the Bruins

have totaled one goal in the consecutive defeats.

New Jersey has won four of the last five meetings with Boston

and four of the previous six at TD Garden.