By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj
The Boston Bruins are home again, finally, and host the New Jersey Devils in the first home game of the 2019-2020 NHL season. Boston is 3-1-0 heading into tonight’s contest with a loss against the Colorado Avalanche in their last time out. For New Jersey, they have started the season on a 0-2-2 stretch and look to earn their first win tonight.
Arena: TD Garden – Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Home: Boston Bruins (3-1-0)
Away: New Jersey Devils (0-2-2)
Bruins Last Game: 4-2 Loss vs COL
Bruins Gameday Lineup:
Forward Brett Ritchie is back in the lineup after being a scratch in Thursday’s game while forwards David Backes and Par Lindholm are the scratches for Boston tonight.
The opening first couple minutes of the game saw both teams going back and forth down the ice with a few shots on goal here and there. Bruins defenceman Connor Clifton had the first highlight of the game with a massive hip check on Wayne Simmonds as he skated into the Bruins zone.
Less than four minutes into the game, Boston scores first. Brad Marchand brings the puck into New Jersey’s zone but is met by P.K. Subban. Subban forces Marchand to turn around, which he does, allowing Marchand to get a little bit of room for a blistering wrist shot from the point area, beating Schneider for the game’s first goal. 1-0 Bruins.
In the first half of this first period of hockey, the Bruins have done a solid job stopping chances from the Devils including a couple great defensive plays by captain Zdeno Chara with his large reach that brought the oncoming rush to an immediate halt. B’s looking good all-around eight minutes in.
There has not been a line on the forward core that has looked bad as we get through the opening frame and that is shown in the second goal of the game. The Devils iced the puck after a long time in their own zone, dealing with the pressure of the Bruins. On the ensuing faceoff in New Jersey’s zone, the fourth-line of Wagner, Kuraly and Nordstrom battle around the slot area until the puck eventually deflects off of Nordstrom’s stick and into the net – his first of the season – 2-0 Bruins.
It has been a good period for Boston, good control in both zones as well as the neutral zone and for the most part, has been controlling the game and the pace at which it is played at. However, with 4:36 remaining in the frame, Sean Kuraly is sent to the box on a hooking penalty. Boston to the penalty-kill for the first time tonight.
Immediately on the PK, the B’s are aggressive on a pair of shorthanded opportunities by the duo of Bergeron and Marchand but Schneider makes the saves. The Devils do get a chance late on the power-play, but Rask makes a great save while scrambling in his crease to rob Nikita Gusev. Only seconds later, a shot hits Marchand in the skates – leading to a shorthanded breakaway that gets stopped by Schneider. Fantastic penalty-kill by Boston, back to five-on-five hockey.
As it seems like the first period is about to end, Charlie Coyle does a good job bringing the puck from his own zone to the depths of the Devils’ zone. In the meantime, he draws a hooking penalty on Mirco Mueller with 16.4 seconds remaining. Bruins will begin the second-period with 1:44 of power-play time.
Shots on Goal: BOS: 15 NJD: 10
Score: 2-0 Bruins – Goals: Marchand (4) Assists: Pastrnak (4); Nordstrom (1) Assists: Wagner (1), Kuraly (2)
Unable to bury one on the power-play, the Bruins are now 0-for-1 on the man-advantage. With the extra man, the B’s get a couple fairly-decent opportunities to extend the lead to three goals, including a wide-open Pastrnak one-timer that missed the net by almost a mile-wide. Pastrnak’s reaction following said it all. Back to even-strength.
Karson Kuhlman had himself another solid shift later on in the period. The speedster has done a great job so far this season in driving hard to the net and getting valuable zone entries and that was on display again. 6:12 into the second period, Kuhlman draws a tripping penalty as he tried to spin the puck around while skating backward right in front of Schneider, getting tripped up by a defender laying down. Boston to their second power-play of the night. Bruins fail to convert on that man-advantage as well – falling to 0-for-2 on the game.
In a game largely controlled by Boston, the Devils nearly cut the lead in half off of a Brandon Carlo turnover behind Tuukka Rask that gives Jack Hughes a chance right in front of Rask that rings off the post and stays out. Hughes draws a hooking penalty on the play and New Jersey off to the power-play. On the penalty-kill, Brad Marchand controlled it himself – bringing it into the zone and single-handling killing off Carlo’s penalty. Great effort from the Bruins – back to even-strength.
Tuukka Rask has had to make some really good saves – the biggest coming on a shot from Miles Wood and his own rebound shot as well. The Devils have slowly gained some momentum offensively and Rask has had to meet that with stellar play in net. Not long after that, David Pastrnak is assessed a minor penalty for a faceoff violation, (using the hand) and Boston heads back to the penalty-kill, where they successfully kill it off – improving to 3-for-3 on the night. New Jersey now 0-for-14 on the power-play this season.
Only 1:01 remaining in the second frame, Kyle Palmieri gets his leg behind Charlie McAvoy’s leg, causing him to fall. The officials see it and send him to the box for tripping. Not wasting any time, the Bruins score only fifteen seconds into the man-advantage. Patrice Bergeron pushes home a loose puck that was right by the pad of Schneider and the Bruins take a 3-0 lead with less than a minute to go in the middle period.
Not as good as the first period for the Boston Bruins, but was far from a bad period. Numerous successful penalty-kills, good defensive stops and the power-play goal to end the period. Continuation of this play should lead to a win for Boston after the final twenty minutes of regulation time.
Shots on Goal: BOS: 24 NJD: 26
Score: 3-0 Bruins – Goals: Bergeron (1) PPG Assists: DeBrusk (1), Marchand (3)
Kuhlman’s strong game and start to the season as a whole is continuing into the third period tonight, picking off a breakout pass and getting a quick shot on Schneider who makes the chest save. Kuhlman has shown his speed, skill, and even defensive side of his game in the first five games, but just lacks the finishing ability right now.
The third period was great entertainment-wise, not much happened worth mentioning until the 8:45 mark of the frame when Zdeno Chara gets called on a two-minute holding penalty. Just a case of being a bigger, (much bigger), player than Nico Hischier. Boston to the penalty-kill once again. Without any true issues or concerns, Boston makes the kill yet again.
That essentially is all she wrote – Bruins win 3-0.
Shots on Goal: BOS: 32 NJD: 31
Final Score: 3-0 Bruins
Max’s Three Stars:
1st Star: BOS G Tuukka Rask – 31 Saves, 46th career shutout
2nd Star: BOS F Brad Marchand – 1 Goal, 1 Assist, 18:30 TOI, Game-Winning Goal
3rd Star: BOS F Patrice Bergeron – 1 Goal, 2 Shots, 2 Takeaways, 67% Faceoffs, 16:10 TOI
Boston’s record improves to 4-1-0 and now looks ahead to Monday’s matinee game against the Anaheim Ducks in Boston. Puck drop is scheduled for 1:00pm EST.