Devils Survive a Late Boston Surge, Win 1-0

New Jersey took to the ice at TD Garden to play against the Boston Bruins. Mackenzie Blackwood was in the net for the Devils and Halak for Boston once again with Tuukka Rask still out on IR.

This game wasn’t super important to the Devils, as their playoff hopes are dwindling by the day, but they can play spoiler to the number 4 team in the East in the Bruins.
Something to keep

Devils 1st Period

The Devils came out strong right out of the gate, seemingly a step ahead of the Bruins. This would be the case for much of the first 10 minutes of the period. The Bruins weren’t having a ton of trouble getting into the offensive zone. They just couldn’t get shots on the net.

With 8:33 left in the first, Andreas Johnson took a penalty for an illegal hit to the head that sent Boston to the powerplay. They generated very little offensively, but it did continue the momentum shift towards the black and gold.

With 3:23 left to go in the first period, the Devils pulled off a nice play where Ty Smith took a shot from the point that Kyle Palmieri tipped in for the goal.

Shortly thereafter, Sharangovich centered the puck for Kuokkanen, who couldn’t beat Halak short side.

The Devils continued to allow Boston to get into the offensive zone, but the Bruins were getting many quality scoring chances. Or even many shots at all.

Through one period, the Devils really just outplayed Boston for the most part. They had very solid forechecking, they outshot Boston 12-9, and most importantly, they outscored Boston 1-0. The one thing Boston led in was hits, and that typically means you don’t have the puck as much and is typical in the losing team.

Devils 2nd Period

The Devils came out in the second significantly flatter than the first. Or it might have just been the Bruins coming out with a bee under their bonnet. Whatever it was, the Bruins were buzzing very early on.

The Devils did get a chance at 2:15 elapsed, but the Bruins responded with two in the New Jersey end. The better one coming from a Craig Smith blast that David Krejci nearly tapped in.

While the Bruins dominated early on, the Devils had a solid chance that Halak shut down rather awkwardly.

Severson also had a point-blank chance that was blocked by Frederic.

Boquist and Subban both had chances to score right around 7 minutes in that either the Bruins defense or Halak managed to keep out of the net.

The Devils had about as quality of a chance as a team could get when Miles Wood flew through the defensive zone, passed to Zacha, and Merkeley hit the post on a wide-open net.

Mackenzie Blackwood made a stellar save on a Pastrnak blast at the 10-minute mark in the period. 

Ty Smith had a chance in front of the Boston goal, and he failed to put it into the net. He did manage to draw a penalty to Connor Clifton

The number one penalty kill in the NHL kept up their reputation, sending their penalty kill percentage over 90%. The Devils had a few chances, but they didn’t amount to much other than Halak hugging the post a few times.

Matt Gryzlyk would be sent to the box for 2 minutes for holding with 2:27 left. 

Anders Bjork had a chance on the PK off a steal, but Blackwood said no. 

With just 18 seconds left in the period, the Bruins drew a tripping penalty on P.K. Subban after killing their second penalty of the night. 

Krejci was tripped by Zacha on a blatant play that the referees blatantly missed. Krejci had some words for referee John McIssac, but it didn’t matter. 

Through two periods, it was still 1-0 New Jersey. 

Devils 3rd Period

The Devils started the third period extremely flat. Yes, they were on the penalty kill for the majority of the first half of the period, but they had no shots with nine minutes left.  

The Bruins had three powerplays in the first half of the period, and they had plenty of chances. They just couldn’t put the puck into the back of the net. 

After a giveaway-fest, Zach Senyshyn took a 2-minute penalty for holding. The Devils didn’t generate a lot on the powerplay, but at this point, the goal was merely to waste time off the clock. The more time they wasted, the less time Boston would have to try to tie the game up. 

Miles Wood had a chance in the Boston end on his own that Halak made a five-star save on.

With about a minute and a half left in the period, the Bruins pulled Jaroslav Halak, and Patrice Bergeron scored the game-tying goal with 1:10 left. The assists came from Krejci and Pastrnak. New Jersey opted to gamble and challenge the call on the ice of a goal. They surprisingly won the challenge, and the goal was disallowed. 

The Bruins also seemed to score again with about eight seconds left, and it was reviewed, but it was called no goal, and the call would stand. 

New Jersey Wrap-Up

For New Jersey, this is a spectacular win. They went on the road to Boston to play a team that historically has been one of the best teams on home ice in the league. The Devils were bailed out by a number of bad calls or missed calls by the referees. Most notably on the goaltender interference call that negated the Bergeron goal. Blackwood was insane, stopping all 40 shots he faced, and the Devils got the two points. They now have 28 points, good for seventh in the division, and eleven points behind Boston for the final playoff spot. 

3 Stars

1st Star: Mackenzie Blackwood – 40/40 SVs, SHO, W

2nd Star: Kyle Palmieri – 1G, GWG

3rd Star: Jaroslav Halak – 29/30 SV, .935 SV%

 

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