The Boston Bruins kicked off a crucial stretch with a big road win Friday night, routing the New Jersey Devils to snap a two-game losing streak.
Colin Miller, Ryan Spooner and Dennis Seidenberg each tallied two points in the 4-1 win, which allowed the Bruins to leapfrog the banged-up Devils in the Eastern Conference wild-card standings.
The victory was just the Bruins’ second in seven games, and it allowed them to begin their five-game road trip on a positive note.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Miller rocketed a one-timer past Devils goaltender Cory Schneider to give the Bruins a commanding three-goal lead with less than 14 minutes to play.
The goal was the rookie defenseman’s first since Nov. 25 and just the third of his NHL career. Seidenberg provided the primary assist for his first multi-point effort since Nov. 17.
Goalie Jonas Gustavsson surrendered a second-period goal to Bobby Farnham but nothing more to defeat the Devils for the second time this season. He finished with 19 saves in the win.
David Pastrnak made his return to the Bruins’ lineup after sitting out the previous 28 games with a fractured foot. The 19-year-old winger skated with Loui Eriksson and Patrice Bergeron on Boston’s top line and recorded one shot on goal in his first taste of NHL action since Halloween.
The Bruins were playing without defenseman Adam McQuaid and center David Krejci, who are on injured reserve with upper body injuries, and suspended winger Brad Marchand, but their losses were nothing compared to the Devils’.
Nearly half of New Jersey’s usual lineup was inactive for the contest, with Mike Cammalleri, Patrik Elias, Jacob Josefson, Tuomo Ruutu, Tyler Kennedy, John Moore and David Schlemko all sidelined with various injuries.
The Devils’ lineup Friday included three American Hockey League call-ups, including New Hampshire native Paul Thompson, who was making his NHL debut.
BREAKING OUT EARLY
Frank Vatrano scored just 2:02 into the first period to snap a streak of seven consecutive games without a point.
Vatrano hadn’t found his way onto the scoresheet since recording a hat trick in a Dec. 18 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins and had posted a minus-5 rating during his seven-game slump.
The 21-year-old rookie has struggled to produce at a consistent clip during his young NHL career, which already has included pointless streaks of five, seven and nine games.
Spooner stretched the Bruins’ advantage to two goals when his seeing-eye wrist shot from the blue line whizzed through a Matt Beleskey screen and past Schneider.
The goal, which came at the 4:49 mark of the second period, was Spooner’s ninth of the season, representing a new career high for the 23-year-old forward. It also extended Spooner’s point streak to four games.
DOING HIS JOB
Jimmy Hayes provided Boston’s third tally by doing what he does best: camping out in front of the net. The 6-foot-6 winger tipped a Zdeno Chara shot past Schneider on the power play to make it 3-1 Bruins late in the second.
The Bruins have rebounded from an 0-for-4 effort on the man advantage during last Friday’s NHL Winter Classic to score a power-play goal in each of their last two games.
The Bruins will be back at it Saturday night, when they visit the Ottawa Senators for Game 2 of their five-game trip. The teams’ last meeting ended in a full-scale line brawl, so tensions should be high heading into the rematch.
Boston also is expected to have Marchand back Saturday after the winger served a three-game ban for his hit on Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki.
Thumbnail photo via Julio Cortez/Associated Press
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