By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj
The Boston Bruins enter tonight’s contest after a great 5-1 win over the Washington Capitals in a true team-building game. Tonight, the Bruins, who sit third in the MassMutual East Division, are looking to get only their second win over the struggling New Jersey Devils this season.
New Jersey, on the other hand, has been in a tough time, going on a 1-8-0 stretch since defeating the Bruins a few weeks ago. The Devils have a very busy schedule ahead due to games being postponed from COVID-19 protocol, so they’ll be looking to grab two points tonight to potentially right the ship a little.
Arena: TD Garden – Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Home: Boston Bruins (13-5-3; 3rd in MassMutual East Division)
Away: New Jersey Devils (7-11-2; 7th in MassMutual East Division)
Bruins’ Last Game: 5-1 win vs WSH
Bruins’ Gameday Lineup:
Brandon Carlo is currently labeled as “week-to-week” by Head Coach Bruce Cassidy following Capitals forward Tom Wilson’s hit in Friday’s game against Washington. Urho Vaakanainen returns in the lineup alongside Jarred Tinordi while Connor Clifton takes Carlo’s spot on the right-side second pairing. Sean Kuraly is a healthy scratch for the second-straight game.
Boston starts this game great right out of the gate. Connor Clifton takes the puck off the opening draw and skates it in for a decent shot on goal. Jakub Zboril then makes a solid defensive play on a speedy Miles Wood coming in the zone. Bruins look good in the neutral zone which leads to a turnover that gives Boston a few nice passes and decent shot on Wedgewood. Good pace early.
Just around eight minutes into the period, the Bruins go shorthanded for the first time tonight as Vaakanainen gets his stick up high on a Devil, resulting in a high-sticking penalty. P.K. Subban got a bomb of a point shot off, but the Bruins successfully kill off the penalty.
Boston continues the strong pressure on New Jersey with some solid zone time about twelve minutes in. The first line with McAvoy and Grzelcyk threw pucks on net and got some good chances. McAvoy fed a gorgeous pass-through traffic from the point to Pastrnak by the net, but Wedgewood looks great in goal so far.
6:26 left in the frame, Chris Wagner tries to receive a pass from Nick Ritchie on a zone rush, but when the pass doesn’t go tape-to-tape, he attempts to reach for it – resulting in a trip. Bruins are shorthanded again, but manage to make the kill.
Bruins get another decent zone time near the end of the period, but Brad Marchand’s best chance of that period results in an exploding stick. The B’s looked good this period, even though they didn’t score. Lots of pucks on net and solid for a lot of the period.
Shots on Goal: BOS: 12 NJD: 10
Middle frame already has a rapid pace to it. The speedy Devils race down the wing towards the Bruins end and as a result, get a few shots towards the net. Both Tuukka Rask and Connor Clifton make big saves/blocks and the puck stays out of the cage.
Tuukka Rask continues to steal the show as Pavel Zacha drives hard to the goal on a breakaway with a Bruins defender tight on his rear. Zacha is forced to cut to the backhand off a strong Vaakaninen backcheck, but Rask follows him and makes the save.
Bruins keep control of the game but take another high-sticking penalty. Boston’s third penalty of the game – hard to keep the pressure on if you’re constantly down a man. B’s PK looks good, still, back to even-strength.
David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand get the two best chances of the period as Pastrnak gets a burst of speed, dances around Sami Vatanen and nearly snipes one. Seconds later, Marchand has a chance in tight but Wedgewood again stays strong.
At the other end, the Devils have a chance of their own with a net-front scramble. A ding of the post could be hear followed by a high puck that Andres Bjork leaps to bat out of the way with his hand. Bruins escape without a goal against minutes after nearly burying one of their own.
New Jersey does “score” a goal, but immediately is waved off due to a hand pass. Jesper Bratt clearly hit the puck to Jack Hughes with his hand that directly led to Hughes sniping off the post and in. Bruins catch a massive break and it stays 0-0.
Once again, scoreless after forty minutes. One more regulation period to bury a goal.
Shots on Goal: BOS: 22 NJD: 19
Not a whole lot of action in the early stages of the third period, but five minutes in, Kulikov gets whistled on a hooking call on Brad Marchand and Boston finally goes to their first power-play of the game. Wedgewood was the best penalty-killer for New Jersey, keeping the game scoreless as we go back to 5-on-5.
With 9:05 left in the third, the Bruins have a distinct advantage on shots on goal during this period, but can’t find an answer for the Devils netminder. Not long after, Maltsev gets his stick caught on the skates of Anders Bjork and Boston goes back to the power-play. Boston has a ton of solid chances including Craig Smith in the slot, but absolutely nothing as Wedgewood stones him.
And of course, the Devils strike first. A puck thrown towards the net for a rebound gets a perfect rebound where Pavel Zacha – right place, right time, buries the game’s first goal with less than five minutes to go in regulation. The goal was later changed to Kyle Palmieri, but nonetheless, it’s a Devils goal.
With Rask pulled, the Bruins get a few solid chances to tie the game once again but for some reason, Wedgewood is seeing every play and making every stop he needs to. Boston can’t bury the tying goal and fall to New Jersey once again – 1-0 the final score.
Shots on Goal: BOS: 40 NJD: 25
Final Score: 1-0 Devils
Max’s Three Stars:
1st Star: NJD G Scott Wedgewood – 40 Saves on 40 Shots
2nd Star: NJD F Kyle Palmieri – 1 Goal (GWG), 3 Shots, 1 Hit, 16:57 TOI
3rd Star: NJD F Pavel Zacha – 1 Assist, 2 Shots, 4 Hits, 17:10 TOI
Boston is now 1-3-0 against the Devils this season, but by looking at the shot totals, should have been able to score. Not nearly enough shots from the slot for the Bruins tonight and just couldn’t get the passes tape-to-tape enough to generate plays. Next game for the B’s is Tuesday on the road against the red-hot New York Islanders.