Despite never leading and playing the second of back-to-back games against a rested opponent, the Bruins squeaked out a shootout win over the Devils behind 25 saves by Tuukka Rask. The Bruins appeared to be on the verge of being shutout until Nathan Horton tied the game with 4:05 left in the third period.
The Devils got on the board in the second period on a David Clarkson power-play goal, ending the Bruins streak of 24 straight penalties killed to begin the season, their longest stretch to start a season since 2002. Brad Marchand scored the game-winning shootout goal in the sixth round of the shootout.
For two of the most similarly structured teams in the NHL, the first period wasn’t very surprising. Each team set out to dictate play through physicality. Shawn Thornton and Krys Barch dropped the gloves early and traded blows in a marathon of a fight. Each fighter looked to get some momentum for their team but neither grabbed considerable momentum from the fight. A good amount of the period was battled for in the corners and along the boards. Despite both teams being stout, defensive-minded teams each team had their share of chances.
The Bruins better chances came on quick bids off of turnovers while the Devils best chances came off their scary power-play. The Bruins thwarted a late New Jersey power-play to extend their perfect PK percentage to 24-of-24 to begin the young season. Each team ended the first period with nine saves, and both goalies established themselves as tough-to-beat with some athletic saves over the course of the period.
The Bruins had their chance to jump ahead with an early power-play opportunity but squandered it. About five minutes later, the Devils converted on a power-play of their own when a long shot from the point by Marek Zidlicky was deflected by David Clarkson for the game’s first goal, ending the Bruins streak of 24-straight kills to begin the season.
The pace of the second period was considerably slower than the first. Five-on-five play was sparse as five second period penalties kept the period fairly slow. The back-to-back games became more evident in the second period as the Bruins stopped pushing the pace and began taking lazy and stupid penalties.
The third period saw the Bruins try to fight back but were unable to establish momentum as the Devils defensive shell became too much for the Bruins to fight against. The Bruins did get a power-play with less than 10 minutes left in regulation but nothing came of it. The Devils penalty-kill was aggressive enough to throw off passing lanes and make clears fairly easy.
The Bruins finally broke through with their first goal of the game, nearly 56 minutes in, when Nathan Horton finished a 3-on-2 with a five-hole goal for the equalizer. The goal would ensure that the final two teams without a regulation loss in the East would keep that stat going as the game eventually needed to be resolved in overtime.
The Bruins had some great chances off a broken odd-man rush but Johnny Boychuk missed the net entirely and David Krejci couldn’t fist the rebound home with Johan Hedberg down and out. Tyler Seguin had another bid on a 2-on-1 but skyed a one-timer off glass. The Bruins kept the Devils at bay and the away team never really threatened in the extra five so the game inevitably went to a shootout.
Seguin was the first player in the shootout, raced in and put a wrister past Hedberg top glove. However, in a weird twist, the goal was disallowed because a fan threw something on the ice. Seguin responded by deking backhand and beating Hedberg on the backhand.
Ilya Kovalchuk raced in and ripped a shot past Tuukka Rask for the equalizer.
After four rounds of misses and stops Brad Marchand trickled a low wrister past a standing Hedberg’s five-hole. Marek Zidlicky went in for a wrist shot but was stopped by Tuukka’s glove. The Bruins went home with two points, after the Devils dominated for large portions of the game.
1. Tuukka Rask- 25 saves on 26 shots
2. Nathan Horton 1G (GTG)
3. Johan Hedberg- 27 saves on 28 shots
Any time you can scrap two points on the second of back-to-back games, it’s a good night. The Bruins were hampered by penalties a lot tonight but never put themselves out of the game thanks to a strong PK effort by Rask and the boys.
Horton and company came through with a big goal when the Bruins needed them too. As the Devils shell became stronger and stronger the Bruins needed a goal and got one from Nathan Horton. The goal wasn’t pretty but in a game with two heavy teams you need your biggest line to come through and the Bruins first line did.
Dennis Seidenberg had his best game of the season. He was crushing guys along the boards and keeping big forwards in check behind the net. He won’t show up on the score sheet but he played just the kind of game the Bruins needed against the Devils.
Penalties, penalties, penalties. The Bruins had some lazy penalties and had two goaltender interference penalties. Granted the goalie interference calls were suspect, it’s something that shouldn’t happen twice in one night. Luckily, the PK has been strong and helped keep the Bruins in the game all night.
The power-play went 0-for-3, which isn’t really surprising, but it seems the power-play had some chances to at least change momentum but the aggressive Devils PK made the Bruins PP more useless than usual.
Intensity levels waned for long stretches tonight. The Bruins were tired but they let the Devils dictate play a lot tonight. Rask did a great job keeping the Bruins in it and you can’t ask for perfect every night but the Bruins intensity wasn’t there much of the night.