(Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)
By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty
Home: New Jersey Devils
Away: Boston Bruins
Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak
Bjork – Coyle – Ritchie
DeBrusk – Lindholm – Backes
Nordstrom – Kuraly – Wagner
Chara – Carlo
Lauzon – Grzelcyk
Moore – Kampfer
New Jersey’s Lineup
Bratt – Hischier – Palmieri
Coleman – Zajac – Gusev
Wood – Hughes – Simmonds
Boqvist – Zacha – Hayden
Greene – Subban
Severson – Vatanen
Mueller – Butcher
The last game of the decade was one that was littered with injuries for the Bruins. On top of the injuries, Danton Heinen was a healthy scratch and Jeremy Lauzon was called up from Providence. This marked Lauzon’s season debut with the Bruins after playing in 16 last season. Injuries didn’t stop the team from getting fired up before game time.
It didn’t take long for the Bruins to get on the board in this one. P.K. Subban went to the box for interference, giving the Bruins a golden opportunity early on. Some quick puck movement in the offensive zone led to a David Pastrnak one-timer making its way behind MacKenzie Blackwood for Brad Marchand to tap it in. Marchand’s 20th goal of the season was assisted by Pastrnak (30) and Matt Grzelcyk (9). It was 1-0 Bruins just two minutes and three seconds in.
Despite the early goal, the game kept a pretty good pace on both sides. Even with the Bruins controlling the flow of the game for a good chunk of the period, the Devils didn’t let the game get out of hand. Things definitely could have gotten out of hand for the Devils after a fast start and a quick goal for the Bruins. Shots in the period were 14-10 in favor of the Bruins.
Score: 1-0 Boston
An early power play came for the Devils just nine seconds in as Brad Marchand was called for tripping. Some decent scoring chances came and went, but they couldn’t convert.
Not all goals are pretty, and Joakim Nordstrom reinforced that with a gritty goal to extend the lead to two – his fourth of the season. Sean Kuraly’s effort to get the puck out front for Nordstrom served as the primary assist, his 12th of the season. Brandon Carlo’s shot through traffic helped set up the goal served as the second assist, his ninth of the season. The goal was originally given to Kuraly, but later changed to Nordstrom, making it 2-0 Bruins with 15:33 remaining.
Again, New Jersey didn’t let up after giving up a goal. This time they scored, with Blake Coleman burying one with 11:02 to go. The Bruins had a brief power play when Travis Zajac took a tripping penalty. That was before Grzelcyk took a tripping penalty of his own just 13 seconds later. Things got a bit chaotic for a little while, but the score remained 2-1 when normalcy was restored.
Some crazy saves were made and scoring opportunities were missed after the Coleman goal. It was an eventful period in which New Jersey held a 12-9 shot advantage over the Bruins, bringing the total to 23-22 in favor of the Bruins.
Score: 2-1 Boston
It appeared that Jack Hughes evened the score as Jeremy Lauzon knocked Miles Wood into Jaroslav Halak’s net, but that wasn’t the case. The puck didn’t end up in the net and the play actually ended with Lauzon making his way to the box for two minutes for interference. New Jersey was unable to convert on the power play and saw Hughes go leave the ice abruptly with an injury on the power play. He returned later in the game.
Halfway through the period, the Bruins were being outshot 9-0 by the Devils. Jaroslav Halak was keeping them in it. A tripping call on Nordstrom certainly didn’t make matters any better, but the Bruins managed to kill it off. The first shot of the period eventually came along.
It was a matter of time before New Jersey buried one. Their dominating effort in the third paid off when Jesper Bratt deflected one past Halak to tie the game with 6:49 remaining.
The Bruins needed to do something to counteract New Jersey’s offensive pressure. They didn’t necessarily counteract it as best they could, but they did enough to bring the game to overtime and secure a point. Shots in the period were 19-5 in favor of New Jersey, and 41-28 overall in regulation.
The absences of Torey Krug and Charlie McAvoy forced a different 3-on-3 look for the Bruins in overtime.
After scoring twice last time he was in New Jersey, Grzelcyk nearly called game just past the halfway point of overtime, but rung the post. It appeared the shootout was going to commence gracefully until Bratt took a tripping penalty with 11.6 seconds remaining. Bruce Cassidy then took a timeout. Patrice Bergeron cut across the crease with a chance to end it in the dying seconds, but the puck just escaped the grasp. Shots were 3-2 in favor of the Devils in overtime, and 44-30 overall.
Nikita Gusev: Miss
Charlie Coyle: Miss
Jesper Boqvist: Miss
David Pastrnak: Miss
Kyle Palmieri: Miss
Brad Marchand: Miss
Wayne Simmonds: Miss
Jake DeBrusk: Miss
Jack Hughes: Goal
Chris Wagner: Goal
Damon Severson: Goal
Patrice Bergeron: Miss
The shootout woes continue for the Bruins as this one went down to the wire, but Damon Severson’s goal in the sixth round was the backbreaker. Jaroslav Halak stood on his head, making 42 saves, but it wasn’t enough. It was a rough game for a battered bunch of Bruins. Next up are the Columbus Blue Jackets at TD Garden on Thursday at 7 PM ET. The Bruins are 24-7-10 heading into 2020.