Pedestrian efforts will yield pedestrian results.
The Boston Bruins squandered a 2-0 lead to the New Jersey Devils and ultimately suffered a shootout loss in a New Year’s Eve matinee at Prudential Center.
After taking a two-goal lead in the second period, the Bruins delivered a mostly lackluster effort, and they were punished accordingly. New Jersey potted a goal in both the second and third period to force overtime, and ultimately won the six-round shootout 2-1 to earn a 3-2 victory.
Brad Marchand and Joakim Nordstrom had the goals for the Bruins. Blake Coleman and Jesper Bratt had the Devils’ tallies.
Jaroslav Halak made 42 saves for the Bruins, while Mackenzie Blackwood turned away 26 shots for the Devils..
Here’s how it all went down:
It didn’t take long for the Bruins to get on the board, scoring what proved to be the first period’s only tally just a few minutes after puck drop.
The Bruins needed little over three minutes to get going. At 1:17 in the period, P.K. Subban was whistled for interference on Sean Kuraly. With the man advantage well underway, Marchand won a loose puck at the end line, then quickly tapped a pass to Jake DeBrusk, who did a fine job of whipping around and firing a diagonal pass to Matt Grzelcyk at the point. David Pastrnak was waiting in his office at the dot, so when Grzelcyk’s pass arrived, he one-timed it. Blackwood stopped the shot, but it trickled slowly through his legs, and Marchand was waiting at the crease to smack home the loose change and collect his 20th goal of the season.
No. 20 for Marchy! 💪 pic.twitter.com/8WBWJqTyZV
— NESN (@NESN) December 31, 2019
The Bruins outshot the Devils 14-10 in the opening 20 minutes.
Although the Bruins took a 2-1 lead into the third, they spent much of the middle frame on the defensive, weathering what felt like an incessant storm of pressure from Jersey.
Nearing the quarter point of the period, a net-mouth scramble resulted in the Bruins’ second goal. Brandon Carlo teed up a shot that got through traffic, but was stopped by Blackwood. A rebound resulted, which Kuraly quickly gathered just behind the post and swatted into the crease. Multiple sticks attempted to bat the puck either away from or into the net, but in the end Nordstrom’s skate appeared to knock the puck in at 4:27, deflecting a couple more times until crossing the goal line.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) December 31, 2019
The goal originally was credited to Kuraly, but changed to Nordstrom later in the period.
A few minutes later, Sami Vatanen, from inside New Jersey’s defensive zone, zipped a diagonal pass to Coleman just before he reached the attacking blue line. Upon gaining the zone, Coleman left the puck for Nikita Gusev, then darted to the slot. Gusev slid a pass over to Coleman, who one-timed the Devils’ first goal of the game past Halak at 8:58.
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) December 31, 2019
The Devils put 12 shots on net in the second to Boston’s nine.
DEVILS PULL LEVEL
The Bruins played a pretty cavalier third period, and they eventually paid for it. It took them over 12 minutes to register their first shot on target of the third (it was their third shot attempt all period), with the Devils recording nine chances in that stretch.
In the back half of the period, the Devils really started pushing for an equalizer, and at 13:11 they were rewarded. Nico Hischier fed a pass to Subban at the point, and the defenseman unloaded a wrister. Bratt was standing just a few feet in front of Halak and managed to get his blade on the puck and redirect it to knot the game at two.
I don't want to sound like a BRATT, but I could really go for another goal like this… pic.twitter.com/CkLsbQxX3g
— NJ Devils on MSG (@DevilsMSGN) December 31, 2019
The Devils ultimately put up 19 shots in the third period, while the Bruins only had five.
TO THE SHOOTOUT WE GO
Neither side could find a goal in the overtime period, forcing a shootout. The Bruins had two shots in OT, while the Devils had three.
DEVILS WIN IT
Gusev went first for Jersey and was stopped, as was Charlie Coyle, who took Boston’s first chance.
Jesper Boqvist was turned away in the second round for the Devils. Pastrnak went second for the Bruins and put it in the glove of Blackwood.
Palmieri went third and was stopped, then Marchand hit the post to force a fourth round.
Both Wayne Simmonds and DeBrusk couldn’t score in the fourth.
Jack Hughes opened the scoring in the fifth round, then Chris Wagner answered for the Bruins.
Damon Severson undressed Halak in the sixth round with an impressive goal, giving the Devils the victory after Patrice Bergeron was unable to answer.
The Bruins will return home for a meeting with the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday. Puck drop from TD Garden is st for 7 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports Images