Devils Blow Two-Goal Lead; Lose in Shootout in Boston

The Devils were in Boston for the second straight game. They seemed poised to continue their winning over the Bruins. Instead, they blew a two-goal lead in the third period and lost in a shootout 5-4.

The Devils again sat Will Butcher, Aaron Dell and Nikita Gusev. Boston was again thet walking wounded, but did get Brad Marchand and Brandon Carlo back.

They are still without Tuukka Rask so Jaroslav Halak was in net again for the B’s. He stopped 31 of 35 Devils shots for an .886 save percentage. He got all four of the Devils’ power play shots and was 27-for-31 at even strength.

Mackenzie Blackwood went again for the Devils, stopping 44-of-48 shots for a .917 save percentage. He stopped four of Boston’s five power play shots and was 40-of-43 at even strength.

The Bruins were 1-for-2 on the power play and the Devils were 0-for-3, including putting up an ofer on a power play in overtime.

Miles Wood kicked off the scoring just 1:28 into the game. It came when PK Subban kept a Boston clearing attempt in the Bruins’ zone. It was a great keep and a very savvy play, as he quickly got it ot Wood, who shot quickly and fired it by Halak. The Devils had the 1-0 lead.

Boston tied it about 4:30 later at 5:55. Nick Ritchie had this one which came when Craig Smith won a faceoff in the Bruins zone. David Krejci got it to Richie off the rush. Ritchie skated into the Devils’ zone and wristed a shot from the top of the near faceoff circle and beat Blackwood.

This goal ended a 120-plus minute scoreless streak for the Bruins against the Devils.

The game was tied, but it would not stay that way for too long. At 9:24 of the first , Michael McLeod had the puck tipped to him by Jesper Boqvist and cut in on his backhand and scored. Ryan Murray had the secondary assist. It was now 2-1 Devils heading into the second.

After a Boston goal was disallowed (again) at the 18:59 mark of the second – by the referee for goalie interference, no challenge from Boston.

Travis Zajac got the actual scoring kicked off about 1:46 after that goal was disallowed. It came when the Devils hemmed the Bruins in their zone and Boston could not get a full change. It got to Murray at the point, who switched and dropped off to Jesper Bratt. Bratt shot from the point and Zajac tipped by Halak for the goal.

This was the 200th goal of Zajac’s career – the fourth to get 200 all with the Devils. The others are Patrik Elias, John MacLean and Bobby Holik.

The Devils now led 3-1. But Boston would get another back at the 15:48 mark on the power play. Brad Marchand, fresh off of a scuffle with Bratt that led to matching minors for roughing, scored. Krejci made a nice outlet pass to Patrice Bergeron. Bergeron passed to Marchand in the high slot and he scored to make it 3-2.

But the Devils got that one back too when Kyle Palmieri unassisted at 17:06. It came when Palmieri intercepted a clearing pass by Boston. He got it on his backhand and moved forehand, beating Halak to make it 4-2 New Jersey. It was Palmieri’s fifth of the season versus Boston, lending credence to the idea that Boston should trade for him just to keep him from scoring against them!

The Devils now had built up a two-goal lead. But the third period was looming and it was about ot go dark for the Devils.

It began at 10:22 when Charlie McAvoy put a rebound away. Marchand got the puck to Smith at the point. Smith snapped a shot on net and the rebound came right to McAvou at he side of the net. He put it home to make it 4-3 Devils.

At the 16 minute mark, Matt Grzelcyk tied the game and completed Boston’s comeback. The Bruins’ Krejci won the faceoff in the Devils’ zone and got it back to Smith, who passed to Grzelcyk at the point. He shot and beat Blackwood cleanly to tie the score at 4-4.

When time ran out on regulation, it was off to overtime.

With a little more than two minutes to go in OT, Damon Severson cut in on a breakaway. He didn’t score, but did draw a slashing penalty, putting the Devils up 4-on-3. They were unable to convert and things were off to a shootout when time ran out on overtime.

In the shootout, Pavel Zacha went first for the Devils. He was stopped by Halak. Charlie Coyle scored top end the first round. The second round was first verse same as the first. Palmieri (who had fallen on a skate in OT but was not injured). He was stopped by Halak and David Pastrnak scored nearly the same goal as Coyle to give Boston the shootout win.

Team stats saw Boston fire 48 shots (a two game total of 88) Blackwood’s way while Halak was tested just 35 times. Faceoffs were close with New Jersey winning 49-percent. Hits saw Boston edge the Devils at 24 to 22. The Devils had more blocked shots at 12 to the Bruins’ eight. Giveaways were eight to three with the Devils turning over the puck more.

McLeod won 70-percent of his faceoffs to lead in winning percentage among centers. Subban led in ice time with 22:46. Yegor Sharangovich led the forwards with 19:28, one second more than Bratt, who clocked inat 19:27. Zacha led in power play ice time with 3:21.

Jack Hughes led in shots on goal with five, hits were led by Dmitry Kulikov with two, blocks were led by Ty Smith and Kulikov who had two each and takeaways were led by Hughes with three.

So next up, two days off for the Devils. No game  until Friday when the Devils return to Prudential Center to face the Washington Capitals. That game will start at 7 PM and we will see you after the game.

Until then, stay safe everyone!

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