The Devils did themselves little favors by flying into Boston the day of tonight’s game against the Bruins. It would ultimately lead to them being defeated 2-0 at TD Garden and looking kind of listless in the process.
As far as roster moves of interest, Pavel Zacha – who has yet to play since re-signing with the Devils – traveled with the team to Boston, but did not play tonight. Taylor Hall also did not play, although according to his plan, he will likely play in the final preseason tuneup on Friday in Columbus.
As a side note, it was hard to find the feed for this game, as it didn’t seem to be on the Devils’ YouTube channel. Luckily, I just found out a few days ago that my cable provider carries a standard definition feed of NESN, so I was able to catch it on there.
The Devils were badly outplayed in the first period, but were largely bailed out by the stellar play of Mackenzie Blackwood. They were outshot by Boston 13-5 in the opening frame, but managed to get out only down by a goal.
That goal came when Paul Carey’s shot was kicked out by Blackwood and bounced into the net off the face of Jack Studnicka. Studnicka went immediately to the locker room for repairs as he lost some teeth on the deal, he did not even celebrate the goal with his teammates. Oskar Steen had the secondary assist on the weird goal that made it 1-0 Bruins. Studnicka would return midway through the second. The goal came at the 13:26 mark of the first.
There was no scoring in the second period, although Nathan Bastian fought Jeremy Lauzon resulting in a draw. The fight occurred at 6:56 of the second.
There were two non-goals for the B’s, however. The first one came late in the second when the puck bounced off of the pipe behind Blackwood and he fell backwards onto it. It came off of a goalmouth scramble and was immediately called no goal on ice.
The second one came when time simply ran out on the Bruins. The puck fully crossed the goal line following the final siren of the period and the officials were on it, calling it no goal on ice. This was confirmed with replay.
The second goal of the game came off the stick of David Backes, who took a feed in the slot from Par Lindholm and backhanded the puck past Blackwood. While the first goal was kind of bad luck and no fault of Blackwood, this is one he might have wanted back. Anders Bjork had the secondary on a goal that came just 1:22 into the third period.
The Devils pulled Blackwood with about two minutes to go in the game to make it a 6-on-5 advantage and then Boston took a delay of game penalty to put the Devils up 6-on-4 with Blackwood pulled. But it was to no avail as the Devils could not muster anything on it.
Blackwood, as noted, played strong all game and got some help from the goal posts. Lindholm hit the post on a partial breakaway midway through the third period. Blackwood played the entire game and made 30 saves on 32 Boston shots.
The Devils began to even out the shot disparity, playing a better second period and outshooting the Bruins 13-6 in the second. Jaroslav Halak played the whole game for Boston and made 29 saves on all 29 shots he faced.
The Devils continued to fare well in the faceoff circle, winning 55-percent of tonight’s draws. On the power play, they were 0-for-4 with four shots. Boston did not have a power play opportunity. The Devils outhit the Bruins 26-22 and had less giveaways at two to the B’s eight. The Bruins had more blocked shots at 12-8.
Individually, Damon Severson led New Jersey in ice time with 23:45 (4:31 of it on the power play) while Jack Hughes led the forwards with 19:06 (4:17 on the man advantage). Nico Hischier, Wayne Simmonds, Nikita Gusev, Andy Greene and Matt Tennyson led the team in shots with three each. Bastian, Miles Wood and Ty Smith each led in hits with three and Mirco Mueller blocked the most shots with two. Jesper Bratt and Tennyson each registered a takeaway to lead that category.
Next up, the Devils will conclude their preseason in Columbus against the Blue Jackets on Friday.