The Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils played a strange game Sunday filled with short-handed goals, penalty shots and Adam McQuaid’s first goal of the season.
But the story of the game was the Bruins’ penalty kill.
The B’s gave the Devils seven power-play chances Sunday night at Prudential Center, and seven times Boston’s penalty kill answered the bell, eventually giving the Bruins a 5-3 win.
And that penalty kill came up huge in the third period.
The Bruins and Devils entered the period tied at three, but Sean Kuraly was sent to the box for cross-checking a little over two minutes into the final stanza. What could have been a regrettable moment for the Bruins was nothing more than a blip on the radar, as netminder Anton Khudobin made two saves to keep the game level.
Four minutes later, New Jersey went on the man advantage again when David Backes went to the Sin Bin for roughing, but the B’s once again stood tall with Khudobin stonewalling three shots from the Devils in the two-minute period.
Less than a minute after the Bruins returned to even strength, McQuaid launched a shot from the point that deflected off a body and a post before finding its way past Devils goalie Eddie Lack.
But Boston didn’t make it easy on itself, as Patrice Bergeron was sent off for delay of game. The Devils, however, didn’t even get a shot on net during the advantage and the Bruins were able to close out the road win.
Boston’s penalty kill ranks third in the NHL at 83 percent — trailing only the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings — and will be a huge asset come playoff time as the Bruins appear primed for what could be a deep run.
However, the B’s penalty kill wasn’t the only star of the show, as Khudobin continued his recent stellar stretch in net.
One night after Tuukka Rask had his personal 21-point streak snapped against the Buffalo Sabres, Khudobin stopped 35 of the 38 shots that were sent his way, improving go 4-1-1 with a 1.92 goals allowed against in his last six games.
Here are more notes from Bruins-Devils:
— McQuaid scored for the first time in 364 days.
— Brad Marchand played against the Devils for the first time since his hit on Marcus Johansson that got him a five-game suspension from the NHL. The Devils didn’t forget either, as Marchand was leveled during the final minute Sunday.
Thumbnail photo via Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports Images
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