After losing two straight, the Devils needed a bounce back game against the Bruins up in Boston. And, in their only trip to TD Garden this season, they came away with one hard fought point, but a point they needed.
The big news coming out of the Devils camp was that Patrik Elias would be a healthy scratch. It was explained that because of the back-to-back games, it was merely a night off for the veteran to rest. It was also a good way to work some other guys into the lineup. The Devils’ other scratches were Stefan Matteau and Jon Merrill.
Getting the nod in goal for the Devils was Cory Schneider, playing in front of his hometown crowd. The Marblehead, Massachusetts native faced 39 shots and nabbed 38. But that only tells part of the story. He was amazing at times today, especially in the overtime period. His opponent today was equally great in the extra session. Jonas Gustavsson made 29 stops on 30 shots, but also played well prior to that. It was an impressive duel between two very good goaltenders.
The first goal of the game came at 6:15 into the first as the Devils once again fell behind early. Loui Eriksson scored on a snap shot off a pass from David Krejci.
The Devils would eventually tie the game when Andy Greene and Lee Stempniak had an odd man rush and Greene tipped a pass from Stempniak behind Gustavsson on the rush. Adam Larsson got the secondary assist on the goal, which occurred at 1:51 into the second.
From there, things settled in. Watching this game, you would have thought the Big Bad Bruins of the 1970s had returned. A big interference non-call was made in the second, as the referees told Andy Greene that they simply did not see it and so could not make the call. Shortly after this, Landon Ferraro hit Stephen Gionta from behind near the Devils bench. Kyle Palmieri saw the play out of the corner of his eye and, still fuming from the interference play, went after Ferraro. He would get four minutes for roughing and Ferraro would go off for four as well: two for boarding and two for roughing. Those penalties came late, at 19:35 of the second. Some bumps and bruises occurred. Sergey Kalinin left the game; Jacob Josefson was injured by a blocked shot and returned only briefly, leaving the game eventually.
After regulation expired, the teams began an overtime to remember. Back and forth, with big saves. Both Cory and Gustavsson were equal to the task each time, neither yielding to the other team. With a scoreless overtime, it was now time for shootout.
It was a quick one. Ryan Spooner scored in the first round for Boston and that was all they needed. Lee Stempniak missed, Kyle Palmieri was stopped and Mike Cammalleri hit the post to give the Bruins the extra point. Neither Max Talbot nor Patrice Bergeron scored for the Bruins in the shootout. Jacob Josefson, who would normally have occupied a spot in the shootout, was not available due to his injury.
The Devils may have dropped the extra point in the game, but they came up big against a team that they had no business stealing a point from. Cory Schneider was spectacular at times, coming up big.
The last game for the Devils before the mandatory three day Christmas break is against the Red Wings in Detroit on Tuesday. They return with a game on the road too, Saturday at Carolina. Hopefully the Devils will be able to end their slide in Detroit and go into the Christmas break on a good note.