The Boston Bruins tallied nearly three times as many shots on goal as the New Jersey Devils did Tuesday night, but two power-play goals by the Devils proved to be the difference as the Bruins dropped a 2-1 decision at Prudential Center.
Boston, which outshot New Jersey 40-15 in the game, has gone 1-6-0 over its last seven games. It maintained its grip on third place in the Atlantic Division, however, as the Detroit Red Wings also lost 4-3 to the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday.
The Bruins lead the Red Wings by one point in the standings with five regular-season games remaining for each team.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Reid Boucher potted New Jersey’s second power-play tally with just under 16 minutes remaining in the third period to go up 2-1, and Boston was unable to recover despite outshooting its hosts 16-3 in the final frame.
Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid, who had surrendered a total of 13 goals over his previous three starts, allowed just one against the Bruins and finished with a career-high 39 saves.
New Jersey’s 15 shots on goal were the fewest Boston has allowed in a game all season.
CENTER OF ATTENTION
With Ryan Spooner remaining home as he dealt with an undisclosed injury, Loui Eriksson lined up at center for the first time in his Bruins tenure. Usually a winger, Eriksson centered Boston’s third line between Frank Vatrano and Jimmy Hayes.
The Bruins altered their lanes during the latter half of the third period, moving Eriksson back to wing on the first line alongside Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron and shifting usual first-line winger Lee Stempniak to the third line, where he joined Vatrano and center Noel Acciari.
DOWN EARLY AGAIN
The Bruins surrendered the first goal for the sixth time in seven games. This one came off the stick of Travis Zajac, who blasted a shot past Tuukka Rask midway through a first-period power play.
Boston had a number of chances to get on the board in the first, including one by the Eriksson line and two more by the second line of Matt Beleskey, David Krejci and David Pastrnak, but trailed 1-0 at intermission.
Marchand split Devils defensemen Adam Larsson and Andy Greene and then left them in the dust to score the Bruins’ first goal of the night.
The goal, which tied the game at 1-1 early in the second, snapped a streak of eight consecutive games without one for the B’s winger. It also upped Marchand’s season total to 35 goals, good for seventh-most in the NHL.
He’s the first Bruins player to reach 35 goals since Phil Kessel did so in 2008-09.
Zdeno Chara picked up an assist on the play, giving the defenseman a point in three of his last four games.
Winger Brett Connolly left the game in the first period with an apparent knee injury. He finished with just 3:17 of ice time.
The Bruins now head into the most difficult two-game stretch remaining on their schedule. They’ll visit the St. Louis Blues on Friday night and the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday afternoon before returning home for their final three games of the regular season.
Thumbnail photo via Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports Images