The Devils fell in frustrating fashion to the Boston Bruins last night at Prudential Center, dropping the game 5-3 to lose their fourth straight game.
This game was almost the polar opposite of the other night against Columbus, as the Devils were the ones with seven power plays, but failing to capitalize. They went 0-for-7 with eight shots. The Bruins, on the other hand, made use of their four stints with the extra man, going 1-for-4 with seven shots, almost equaling the Devils output.
It was Firefighter Night at The Rock as the Devils honored local firemen for their service and sacrifice to keeping New Jersey communities safe.
Brad Marchand was also in the lineup for Boston and was booed just about every time he touched the puck. He ended the night with an assist, one shot on goal and two takeaways in 19:55 of ice time. You will recall that when these teams met in January in Boston, Marchand laid a cheap elbow to Marcus Johansson, concussing him. He remains out.
Healthy scratches for the Devils saw John Moore slot out on defense, as Mirco Mueller came back in. John Quenneville sat amongst the forwards as Jimmy Hayes was back in. Cory Schneider remains a scratch, but is still out with the groin injury suffered the last time these two teams met.
Eddie Lack got the start for the Devils, his first such at the NHL level. He was peppered with 26 Boston shots and stopped 22 of them. Including an empty net goal later on, the Bruins ended with 27 shots total. The Bruins opted to give Tuukka Rask a rest and went with backup Anton Khudobin. Khudobin stopped 35 of 38 Devils shots fired on him.
In what would be a back-and-forth battle between the teams, the scoring began at the 13:32 mark of the first period. Torey Krug scored unassisted and shorthanded (the Bruins were killing off an Adam McQuaid tripping penalty) to put Boston up 1-0.
Just a little bit before, the Devils did have a chance to take the early lead. At 6:06 of the first, Patrice Bergeron had hauled down Travis Zajac on a breakaway and the officials awarded Zajac a penalty shot, but he was stopped by Khudobin.
The Devils would get the Krug goal back in a great play. Miles Wood was called for goalie interference at 14:19. The Devils killed that penalty off and Wood raced out of the penalty box when the time was up, grabbed the puck and raced in on Khudobin, beating him to tie the game at one. Blake Coleman had the lone assist on that goal.
It seemed the game was headed to the first intermission tied up at one apiece, but Boston’s Tim Schaller was able to sneak one under Lack’s pads on a wraparound with three seconds remaining in the period. The referee’s call on the ice was a goal and the officials got together to review it, confirming that the puck had completely crossed the goal line prior to time expiring. The goal came unassisted at 19:57 and made it 2-1. This one was also shorthanded as the Bruins were killing off a McQuaid roughing call against Stefan Noesen.
The Devils came out of the break by tying the game up just 31 seconds into the second frame. It happened when Nico Hischier fed Taylor Hall, who made a nice move around Marchand and beat Khudobin top shelf. That goal made it 2-2.
But the Bruins would get theirs back when Krug scored at the 2:03 mark from Ryan Spooner and Patrice Bergeron. That goal came on the power play as the Devils’ Drew Stafford had just gone off at 2:00 for elbowing Krug.
But the Devils would get that one back at 11:07 on a real beauty from Kyle Palmieri and Hall. It began when Sami Vatanen broke Palmieri and Hall on a 2-on-1. Hall fed Palmieri and he sniped one under the crossbar that tied the game up at three heading into the second intermission.
The Bruins would put it away, however, at 11:55 when McQuaid scored from Riley Nash and Matt Grzelcyk to make it 4-3, giving him the game winning goal. The Devils would pull Lack with just over a minute left in the game and Bergeron would score an empty netter from Marchand and David Backes at 19:21 of the third.
Marchand, however, paid quite a price for that assist. Just after he got rid of the puck, Damon Severson absolutely leveled him. It was clear that this was payback. Severson had him lined up and made the best of it, laying him out cleanly. McQuaid took exception to that hit and ended up with a roughing penalty and a misconduct as well. This actually put the Devils on the power play to end the game (the last 40 or so seconds). But nothing came of it and Boston got the win.
New Jersey’s stat leaders were Vatanen in ice time with 23:11, beating out Hall who had 22:21 of TOI. Wood led in shots with six. Pavel Zacha, Vatanen and Severson each had four hits, including Severson’s crushing blow to Marchand. Jimmy Hayes led in blocks with two and Zacha had three takeaways to lead the team. The Devils won 44-percent of the game’s faceoffs.
Next up, the Devils, who are basically clinging to a playoff spot at this rate, travel to Philly on Tuesday to take on the Flyers for the final time this season as they try to get off the skid. We will see you then.
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