The Devils are hurting right now, there is no doubt about that. They have started off with five defeats for the first time since the 2013-14 season and have not looked very good getting there. They lost to the Bruins up in Boston tonight 3-0.
To add injury to insult, the Devils will be without their captain for the time being. Andy Greene suffered an upper body injury against the Flyers last Wednesday and was placed on injured reserve retroactive to October 9. Matt Tennyson was called up from AHL Binghamton and joined the team in Boston to take his spot on the roster. Tennyson was a scratch for the Devils tonight along with John Hayden and Jesper Boqvist.
Greene has been a stalwart for the Devils, as MSG’s Erika Wachter mentioned that he had missed just one game in the last two seasons. Connor Carrick slotted in for him tonight in the lineup and Damon Severson and PK Subban were the top defensive pairing for New Jersey.
Tonight was the Boston home opener and the Bruins and their fans were ready to go. The Devils just could seemingly match their pace and tempo.
Brad Marchand got the scoring off just 3:33 into the game when Severson had his pass in the B’s zone intercepted by David Pastrnak. The Bruins set up in the Devils zone and Marchand fired it cleanly by Devils goalie Cory Schneider. It was now 1-0 Bruins and this would turn out to be the game winner.
Boston would double their lead at the 11:22 mark of the first period when a bouncing and rolling puck came to Joakim Nordstrom in front of Schneider and he hammered it home. Chris Wagner and Sean Kuraly had the assists on the goal that put the Devils down in a 2-0 hole early.
The Devils’ special teams has been a sore spot of late and this was not more evident than a Devils power play in the first period. Cory ended up stopping Marchand on a shorthanded breakaway after Marchand blocked a PK Subban shot at the Bruins’ blueline and was off to the races. Oftentimes when the Devils were on the power play, Boston would simply hem them in in the New Jersey zone and not allow them to even break out.
The Devils ended the game 0-for-4 on the power play with five shots. They had one shorthanded shot. The Bruins, on the other hand, were 1-for-3 with the man advantage with four shots. They also had the lone shorthanded shot, the breakaway which Cory stopped.
That power play goal came off of the stick of Patrice Bergeron with just 46 seconds to play in the second period. The Bruins worked the puck around the perimeter, eventually getting it to net and it squibbed to Bergeron’s stick and he did not miss the empty side of the net. Jake DeBrusk and Marchand had the assists on the goal which made it 3-0.
And that was our final. In goal, Schneider was 29-for-32 for a .906 save percentage on the night. Tuukka Rask turned aside all 31 Devils shots he saw as he recorded his second straight shutout of the Devils in the last two games. MSG Network’s Steve Cangialosi mentioned that the Devils have not beaten the Bruins since last December 27, as they have had that one win in the last seven meetings between the teams.
The Devils only won 46-percent of the game’s faceoffs, registered 11 hits to the Bruins’ 23. The Bruins also had more blocked shots at 13 to the Devils’ 11. The Devils did end with only seven giveaways to the B’s ten.
Individually, Subban led the team with 23:48 of ice time (3:54 on the power play and 1:15 on the penalty kill). Forwards’ ice time was led by Taylor Hall with 18:23 (including 3:02 on the power play). Hall also led in shots on goal with five fired at Rask. Wayne Simmonds and Mirco Mueller each led in hits with two. Will Butcher had five blocks to pick up the slack with Andy Greene hurt and takeaways were led by Kyle Palmieri and Jesper Bratt with two each.
Next up, the Devils will try to get into the win column as they take on the Florida Panthers on Monday in a Columbus Day 1 PM matinee. That will kick off a six game homestand for the Devils as they will hunker down at Prudential Center and try to get things back on track here.