Bruins Post-Game Recap: Boston vs. New Jersey: 3/30/21

NHL: Preseason-New Jersey Devils at Boston Bruins
(Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Boston’s Lineup

Forwards

Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak

Ritchie – Krejci – Smith

Bjork – Coyle – Senyshyn

Blidh – Frederic – Kuhlman

Defense

Lauzon – McAvoy

Grzelcyk – Carlo

Zboril – Clifton

Goalies

Halak

Vladar

New Jersey’s Lineup

Forwards

Kuokkanen – Zajac – Sharangovich

Bratt – Hughes – Palmieri

Wood – Zacha – Merkley

Johnsson – McLeod – Boqvist

Defense

Kulikov – Subban

Smith – Severson

Murray – Vatanen

Goalies

Blackwood

Wedgewood

First Period

A broken play on an early defensive zone breakout attempt for the Bruins ended in disaster, as Miles Wood took advantage of it and buried an early goal. It was 1-0 Devils just 1:28 into the game.

Nick Ritchie later responded with a goal of his own, breaking a historically even-strength goal drought against the Devils. The goal put Ritchie at double digits for goals on the season at 10. David Krejci (18) and Craig Smith (6) had the assists. The game was tied with 14:05 remaining in the period.

Michael McLeod broke the tie after finding the pinballing puck out of the neutral zone and potting it on the backhand, making it 2-1 Devils with 10:26 remaining. Kyle Palmieri nearly made it a two-goal lead very shortly after McLeod’s goal, but was stoned by Jaroslav Halak.

Halak was later forced to make another huge save on Wood with just about three minutes left. He dealt with more high danger chances than he would have liked in the first period. The Bruins had stints where they were pretty active in the offensive zone, but a few defensive blunders overshadowed them. Shots on goal in the period were 12 to 11 in their favor.

Score: 2-1 New Jersey

Second Period

It appeared that the Bruins had the early equalizer to start the period on a deflection by Ritchie, but it was waived off for goaltender interference.

The tough break stung even worse when Travis Zajac deflected a shot of his own past Halak. It was 3-1 Devils with 16:15 remaining in the period. Wood found himself on another breakaway not too long after the goal with a chance to make it 4-1, but Halak was equal to the task.

A scrum involving Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and a few Devils players (Ty Smith primarily), ended with a roughing penalty assessed to Marchand with 10:40 remaining. The scrum followed an effort from Bergeron to score a greasy goal and provided potential to spark the team.

In an additional attempt to spark the team, Bruce Cassidy flipped David Pastrnak and Craig Smith in an attempt to get some scoring going. Marchand ended up tied up with Jesper Bratt following a hit on Dmitry Kulikov and quickly bodyslammed Bratt. Both players sat for two minutes for roughing, creating a 4-on-4.

Wood found himself with yet another golden scoring opportunity, but Halak stopped him again. The aforementioned 4-on-4 didn’t last long as P.K. Subban went off for slashing a minute and eight seconds into it, making it a 4-on-3.

Pastrnak rung the post with one second left on the 4-on-3 and the Bruins had some solid looks on the brief 4-on-3, but couldn’t convert. Once the game transitioned to 5-on-4 play thanks to the Subban penalty still having some time left on it, Marchand added a goal on top of his roughing penalty and body slam from earlier in the period. His 13th goal of the season was assisted Patrice Bergeron (17) and David Krejci (19).

A turnover by Jeremy Lauzon off of a defensive zone faceoff was capitalized on by Kyle Palmieri to make it 4-2 Devils. Despite being down by two, the Bruins didn’t completely roll over and die after the Palmieri goal. They had some solid late scoring chances.

There’s a positive, on top of Marchand playing like a maniac to inject some life into the team. But they had a lot of work to do. Shots on goal in the period were 13 to 12 in their favor, and 25 to 23 in total.

Score: 4-2 New Jersey

Third Period

Charlie McAvoy took a quick shot from Damon Severson off of his left ankle and was in some noticeable pain on the ice. He managed to get up and battle with Andreas Johnsson out in front of Halak before making his way down the tunnel around three and a half minutes into the period.

Another solid shift from the third line lead to a muck out front of MacKenzie Blackwood involving Anders Bjork and Zach Senyshyn. That third line has been looking solid as of late and using their collective speed well, which has been nice to see.

Good news came later in the period in the form of McAvoy thankfully returning to the bench. More good news came out of a goal by McAvoy off of a well-placed rebound shot by Smith at Blackwood’s right pad. McAvoy’s fourth goal of the season was assisted by Smith (7) and Marchand (23).

A great shift by McAvoy and the fourth line created an offensive sequence and nearly a goal. It then led to a high-sticking penalty on Severson with 6:17 remaining. Unfortunately for them, the Bruins couldn’t convert. Time to tie the game was getting slipping away.

Right off of an offensive zone faceoff, Matt Grzelcyk sent a calculated shot past Blackwood to tie the game. Smith picked up his third assist of the night and ninth of the season, while Krejci also picked up his third assist of the night and 20th of the season on the goal.

Bergeron went off for hooking 18 seconds later, setting up a massively important penalty kill for the Bruins. They succeeded in their mission of killing it off.

The Bruins clearly wanted to end the game in regulation, as indicated by their relentless efforts to do so, but got a point at the very least and this one needed overtime. Shots on goal in the period were 19 to nine in their favor, bringing the regulation total to 44 to 32.

Overtime

The Bruins dominated overtime until Severson broke into the offensive with space and drew a slashing penalty. Halak made another crucial save on the Severson chance, and another massively important penalty kill ensued with 2:21 remaining. It wasn’t easy, but they killed it off. Shots on goal in overtime were four to three in favor of the Bruins, bringing the total to 48 to 35.

Shootout

Round One

Pavel Zacha: Miss

Charlie Coyle: Goal

Round Two

Kyle Palmieri: Miss

David Pastrnak: Goal

Talk about a rollercoaster of a game. The Bruins battled through quite a lot to earn a shootout win of all kinds of wins. A shootout win is very refreshing to see due to the team’s struggles in the shootout in the past. Tremendous goals by Coyle and Pastrnak got it done and Halak had 31 saves, with a few of them, in particular, being pretty vital. The Bruins are 18-9-5.

Final Score5-4 Boston

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