WIth another playoff-style test against the big, punishing and physical New Jersey Devils  tonight, here’s a bit of a scouting report from veteran defenseman Aaron Ward  headed into the tilt amidst the scenic marshlands of Jersey. The red-hot Devils have won eight of their last 10 games and will be looking to hop over the Washington Capitals  into second place in the Eastern Conference.
New Jersey and their jumbo set of forwards will no doubt again play their grinding, crash the net brute style of hockey against a Bruins team looking to make their own statement after Tuesday’s collapse against San Jose. With word that All-World goalie Martin Brodeur  is close to returning after suffering a detached biceps muscle, the Devils are looking more and more like a pitchfork-wielding beast come playoff time.
Tonight should be a good preview of that.
Here’s Ward’s take on the game: “New Jersey is creeping on us right now. They’ve got the most momentum of any time in the Eastern Conference, and we have to help ourselves by stopping that momentum. I think they’re similarly built to us. They’re put together with the mindset that they’re durable players that play with an edge. Smart players that play with discipline. We’re looking at a team that in a lot of ways mirrors that kind of game that we’re trying to play as well.
“If anything losing a guy (like Brodeur) can help a team because it raises the responsibility of everybody else on the team. You can’t be relying on Brodeur and maybe some guys have had to step up and raise their defensive game with him out of the lineup. That’s only going to help them once they get to the playoffs and help players round out of their overall game.”