New Jersey (16-11-3) at Boston (17-10-3)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Boston, MA
Temp: 63° F
  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Thu Dec 13, 2007
  • TV: MSG, NESN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

So far, Alex Auld has been a perfect fit for the Boston Bruins.

The goaltender will be looking to remain undefeated with his new team when the Bruins host the New Jersey Devils on Thursday.

The Bruins (17-10-3) acquired Auld from Phoenix last Thursday after Tim Thomas injured his groin in a 4-3 overtime loss at New Jersey one night earlier. Boston was already without goalie Manny Fernandez, who had knee surgery on Wednesday and likely will be sidelined for the rest of the season.

Thomas is expected to return soon, but Auld has done an admirable job filling in for him. He has won each of his three starts for the Bruins, including a 5-3 victory over Atlanta on Wednesday night, when he stopped 23 of 26 shots.

Auld struggled to a 3-6-0 record and a 3.54 goals-against average in nine games for Phoenix, but has allowed just five goals in his three starts since joining Boston.

The Bruins have also been playing well overall, as Wednesday’s win completed a perfect three-game road trip and was their 10th victory in the last 15 games. Milan Lucic scored the go-ahead goal with 3:47 remaining and added an assist for Boston, which won despite the absence of second-leading scorer Marco Sturm.

The left wing, who has nine goals and 11 assists on the season, was scratched Wednesday night after getting struck in the eye with a puck in Monday’s 4-1 victory at Buffalo. Sturm has nine goals and 11 assists this season.

“There is no doubt that we have to be happy under the circumstances,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “It’s a credit to the guys in there.”

Boston did get back defenseman Andrew Ference, who had missed 12 games with a knee sprain.

This is just the second home game in the last 11 for the Bruins, who are 7-3-1 at TD Banknorth Garden. They are on home ice for the next five games, though, and 10 of the next 13.

It might be tough opening the homestand with a victory. The Bruins have dropped seven of their last nine games against the Devils (16-11-3), including a 4-3 overtime defeat at New Jersey on Dec. 5, when Patrik Elias scored the game-winner.

That contest was the eighth of a 10-game point streak for New Jersey, which saw its 9-0-1 run end Monday with a 3-2 defeat at Washington - one night after a 1-0 overtime loss at the New York Rangers that ended a nine-game Devils winning streak.

New Jersey fell behind Monday with a second period in which it allowed two goals and was outshot 10-2. Kevin Weekes made 21 saves while filling in for Martin Brodeur for just the fourth time this season, but took the loss.

“Our second period was brutal. We had 18 brutal players in the second period,” Devils coach Brent Sutter said. “They left our goalie hung out.”

Sutter’s Devils are now trying to salvage one win in the finale of their three-game road trip. They return home this weekend for games against Phoenix and Philadelphia.

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Thursday, Dec 13