The Boston Bruins earned a much-needed victory in their first visit to the Garden State this season, breezing past the injury-ravaged New Jersey Devils 4-1 on Friday night.
The game carried playoff implications — New Jersey held the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference entering Friday; Boston owned the second — and kicked off a five-game road trip for the Bruins, who will play 13 of their next 20 games away from TD Garden.
Let’s dive into some Friday night notes.
— Bruins goalie Jonas Gustavsson looked a bit shaky at times, but he surrendered just one goal to earn his second win over the Devils this season.
The veteran backup saved 48 of the 50 shots he faced in the two victories and is 7-3-1 this season in relief of Tuukka Rask.
“It’s always huge, as you know,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said in a postgame interview with NESN’s Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley. “You try to avoid playing your goaltenders in back-to-backs. It may happen at some points, but you try to avoid it as much as you can, and when (you have) a goaltender like Gustavsson, it’s easy for us to make those kind of decisions. I thought he did a great job (Friday night) of allowing us to win this hockey game.”
— Colin Miller won the American Hockey League’s hardest shot competition last season, and Devils goalie Cory Schneider now knows why.
The rookie defenseman beat Schneider with an absolute howitzer of a one-timer to notch his third goal as an NHLer and all but put the game away midway through the third period.
“A lot of times, you don’t have a lot of time for that big shot, so just wristers,” Miller told NESN rinkside reporter Sarah Davis. “We worked on that a lot this week. I think a lot of guys did a great job. (Defenseman Zach Trotman) had a lot of shots through there, too. … It’s big if we can get it there, and the forwards get to the front of the net and bang it in.”
Winger Jimmy Hayes did just that during the second period, tipping a Zdeno Chara shot past the New Jersey netminder for a power-play goal.
“Schneider’s a heck of a goalie, so that was a big emphasis in our game plan to be around the net and continue to (make it) hard for him and get those greasy goals,” Hayes told Davis.
— Between Tuesday’s loss to the Washington Capitals and Friday’s win in New Jersey, Bruins defenseman Torey Krug sat down for a wide-ranging interview with NHL Network’s “NHL Live.”
The interview covered a variety of topics, but perhaps the most interesting involved Krug’s road to the NHL, during which he went undrafted and played three seasons at Michigan State.
“To be honest, I was destroyed when I didn’t get drafted,” Krug said. “I thought there was a chance. Numerous teams had talked to me about picking me in the draft, and when it didn’t happen, emotionally, I was a wreck. But then I realized about a year later that it was a blessing in disguise. I was able to pick where I went. I found a great home in Boston, and I’d love to stay here for as long as I (can).”
Krug decided to forgo his senior season with the Spartans to sign with the Bruins in 2012, and by the end of the 2012-13 campaign, he was a regular in Boston’s lineup. In one way, though, he remains a college hockey player: He’s continuing to take classes in pursuit of a political science degree.
“I made a promise to my parents — specifically my mom — that I would finish it out, and I’m still working towards it,” he said.
Here’s the full interview, which also includes a bit of Boston Red Sox talk and Krug’s pick for the worst baseball player on the Bruins:
(s/t Weekend at Bergy’s for the video)
— Friday’s victory was the 3000th regular-season win in Bruins history. Only the Montreal Canadiens have more.
Thumbnail photo via Julio Cortez/Associated Press
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