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NHL Nick's Net

Flurry of offense propels Boston to, 5-3, victory against New Jersey

Oskar Steen scored his first career National Hockey League goal and David Pastrnak ended a drought as the Boston Bruins defeated the New Jersey Devils, 5-3, at TD Garden on Tuesday night.

Linus Ullmark (9-5-0, 2.58 goals-against average, .917 save percentage in 14 games played) made 23 saves on 26 shots against in the win for the Bruins.

Devils goaltender, Mackenzie Blackwood (8-7-3, 3.32 goals-against average, .895 save percentage) stopped 29 out of 34 shots faced in the loss.

Boston improved to 17-10-2 (36 points) overall and in command of 4th place in the Atlantic Division– one point ahead of the Detroit Red Wings for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, while New Jersey fell to 13-16-5 (31 points) on the season and trapped in 7th place in the Metropolitan Division.

The Bruins were without the services of Karson Kuhlman (COVID protocol), Jake DeBrusk (COVID protocol) and Jakub Zboril (ACL, right knee) on Tuesday night as DeBrusk joined Kuhlman in the National Hockey League’s COVID-19 protocol hours ahead of hte game.

Curtis Lazar returned to action after missing Sunday’s, 5-1, matinée win in Detroit, while Steen was promoted to the third line right wing with Nick Foligno taking over DeBrusk’s slot at left wing.

As a result of DeBrusk’s absence and Steen’s promotion, Lazar was back in his regular role on the fourth line.

Anton Blidh was the only healthy scratch with John Moore on Boston’s taxi squad.

Tuesday night marks the first time this season that Steen is making an appearance in consecutive games since being recalled from the Providence Bruins (AHL). He appeared in back-to-back games on March 16th and 18th after being recalled last season.

Though he’s only appeared in seven career NHL games, the 23-year-old native of Sweden has three assists in four games this season entering Tuesday.

Three members of the Bruins’ staff joined DeBrusk and Kuhlman in COVID-19 protocol on Tuesday, including assistant coach, Kevin Dean.

As a result, Joe Sacco was in charge of the defenders against New Jersey.

Tuesday night also marked Military Appreciation Night at TD Garden as several Boston players contributed to more than $25,000 in donations for tickets that were given to active military members and their families in accordance with the Bruins “Seats for Soldiers” campaign.

According to a release from the club, Brandon Carlo, Connor Clifton, Charlie Coyle, Foligno, Derek Forbort, Trent Frederic, Matt Grzelcyk, Kuhlman, Charile McAvoy, Mike Reilly, Craig Smith and Jeremy Swayman all offered donations.

Early in the opening frame, Lazar (3) got a lucky break and strode towards the net before flinging a fluke shot through Blackwood’s five-hole as the Devils’ goaltender shifted his leg pad at just the right time.

The Bruins led, 1-0, as a result of Lazar’s individual effort at 2:53 of the first period.

Midway through the first period, Andreas Johnsson took an errant puck off of his face on an inadvertent flip pass attempt from Carlo intended for Taylor Hall.

Johnsson returned to action without issue.

Boston led, 1-0, heading into the first intermission and held a, 10-6, advantage in shots on goal.

The B’s also led in faceoff win percentage (62-38), while the Devils held the advantage in blocked shots (4-3), takeaways (2-1), giveaways (5-2) and hits (11-9).

There were no penalties called in the opening frame, so both New Jersey and Boston had yet to see time on the skater advantage entering the middle period.

Nathan Bastian spent enough time in Seattle for a cup of coffee with the Kraken (12 games) before he was claimed off waivers and returned to New Jersey (the team that had left him exposed at the 2021 Expansion Draft in July).

Tuesday night, in his 16th game with the Devils this season, he was the beneficiary of a timely poke check to breakup a pass attempt from Carlo to Pastrnak– breaking free in the process while both Bruins skaters trailed helplessly.

Bastian (5) beat Ullmark under the glove to tie the game, 1-1, on a great individual effort 57 seconds into the second period.

Less than a minute later, the Bruins took the lead back with a wacky goal.

Foligno sent a shot off of Blackwood that floated up the New Jersey netminder’s shoulder before rolling on top of the net whereby Steen (1) popped it up from beneath the crossbar as he battled a Devils defender in the crease and deflected it off of Blackwood’s back and into the twine– rather, under the twine.

Though everyone may have been perplexed as to the legality of the goal when they saw it in real time, Steen’s stick never touched the puck above the bar, technically speaking.

Besides, it deflected off of Blackwood before crossing the line too, so it’s not like Steen really meant to send the puck into the net as much as he was simply trying to keep it in play.

Foligno (5) and Forbort (2) tallied the assists on Steen’s first career NHL goal and the B’s took a, 2-1, lead at 1:17 of the second period.

New Jersey answered back in a hurry with a garbage goal of their own after Jack Hughes sent a shot on goal that rebounded to some open ice in the slot where Tomáš Tatar (7) buried the loose puck on the doorstep– tying the game, 2-2, in the process.

Hughes (9) and Jesper Bratt (21) were credited with the assists on Tatar’s goal at 3:05 of the second period.

The two teams combined for three goals in a span of 2:08.

That soon became four goals combine in a span of 8:45 as Frederic (2) banked a backhand shot off of Blackwood on the short side to put the Bruins up, 3-2, at 9:42 of the second period.

Lazar (4) had the only assist on the goal.

A few minutes later, Dawson Mercer took a puck off the face as McAvoy tried to flip the puck into the attacking zone. Mercer returned shortly thereafter.

Midway through the middle frame, the night’s first penalty was assessed as Hall tripped up Ryan Graves, yielding the Devils their first and only power play opportunity of the night at 13:45.

New Jersey didn’t convert on the ensuing skater advantage.

Through 40 minutes of action, the B’s led, 3-2, on the scoreboard and dominated shots on goal, 25-17, including a, 15-11, advantage in the second period alone.

The Devils held the lead in blocked shots (8-5), takeaways (8-2) and giveaways (10-5), while Boston led in hits (22-17) and faceoff win% (67-33).

As only one penalty was called up through the second intermission, only New Jersey had seen any time on the skater advantage and the Devils were 0/1. Meanwhile, the Bruins remained 0/0 as they had yet to be presented with a power play opportunity.

That power play presented itself early in the third period– at 5:28 to be exact– when Damon Severson was assessed a holding infraction.

But Boston didn’t capitalize on their only skater advantage of the night.

Instead, Severson (5) exited the box to an aerial pass through the neutral zone from Michael McLeod and promptly scored on a breakaway on Ullmark’s short side to knot the game up, 3-3, at 7:36 of the third period.

The Bruins had been caught in the vulnerable minute after special teams action.

Midway through the final frame, however, Pastrnak got to a dump-in first in the corner from Hall and cut back to the slot– wrapping the puck with him for a shot on Blackwood.

Pastrnak (7) gathered the ensuing rebound and elevated a quick reactionary shot over Blackwood’s glove to end a 10-game scoring drought and put Boston ahead once more for good, 4-3, at 14:11.

Hall (11) and Erik Haula (5) tallied the assists as the new-formed second line continued to strengthen their chemistry together.

With 1:46 remaining in the action, Devils acting head coach (as head coach, Lindy Ruff, is currently in COVID protocol), Alain Nasreddine, pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker, but it was ultimately to no avail.

New Jersey iced the puck with 52.1 seconds remaining and Blackwood was forced to return to the crease as the Devils would rather not give up a cheap goal in their own zone.

Except that’s what ultimately happened.

Boston forechecked and fought along the boards well enough to kill some time until the puck was freed and sent along the blue line where Tomáš Nosek found Carlo (3) for a wrist shot that deflected off of Mercer and squibbed through Blackwood’s five-hole to extend the Bruins’ lead to two-goals.

Nosek (4) had the only assist on Carlo’s goal at 19:37 of the third period as the B’s sealed the deal on what became a, 5-3, victory Tuesday night on home ice.

Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal, 34-26, despite both teams amassing nine shots each in the third period alone.

The Devils exited TD Garden with the advantage in blocked shots (13-9) and giveaways (15-10), while the Bruins wrapped up Tuesday’s action leading in hits (29-25) and faceoff win% (64-46).

Both teams finished 0/1 on the power play.

For the second time this season, the B’s have won three consecutive games– with New Jersey having been one of the three teams they’ve defeated in each three-game win streak.

Boston is 2-0-0 against the Devils in their regular season series with one final meeting remaining currently scheduled for March 31st at TD Garden.

The Bruins improved to 11-4-0 (5-2-0 at home) when scoring the game’s first goal, 12-0-0 (5-0-0 at home) when leading after the first period and 12-1-0 (4-1-0 at home) when leading after two periods this season.

New Jersey dropped to 5-12-2 (3-7-1 on the road) when allowing the game’s first goal, 2-11-2 (1-6-0 on the road) when trailing after one and 2-16-2 (1-9-1 on the road) when trailing through the second period in 2021-22.

Fresh off of their, 6-4, loss in the 2022 Winter Classic at Target Field, the Minnesota Wild pay a visit to Boston on Thursday before the Bruins hit the road for a pair of games on Saturday in Tampa and next Monday in Washington, D.C.

The B’s return home after visiting the Capitals to kickoff a seven-game homestand on Jan. 12th against the Montréal Canadiens in a game that was originally scheduled to be played in Montréal before the rise of the Omicron variant restricted indoor venue attendance across Canada.

Tickets for Boston’s game against the Habs on March 21st will be honored on Jan. 12th as the game has been moved up in the schedule.

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NHL Nick's Net

Devils ring in 2020 with, 3-2, shootout win over Bruins

The New Jersey Devils completed a, 3-2, shootout victory comeback over the Boston Bruins at Prudential Center on Tuesday afternoon to close out 2019.

Mackenzie Blackwood (13-10-5 record, 2.85 goals against, .907 save percentage in 30 games played) made 28 saves on 30 shots against for a .933 SV% in the win for the Devils.

Bruins goaltender, Jaroslav Halak (9-3-5, 2.20 GAA, .930 SV% in 17 games played) stopped 42 out of 44 shots faced for a .955 SV% in the shootout loss.

Boston fell to 24-7-10 (58 points) on the season, but remained in command of the Atlantic Divison, while New Jersey improved to 14-19-6 (34 points) and stayed in 8th place in the Metropolitan Division.

The B’s also fell to 10-6-2 on the road this season.

The Bruins were without the services of Kevan Miller (knee), Torey Krug (upper body), Charlie McAvoy (lower body), Connor Clifton (upper body) and David Krejci (lower body) on Tuesday.

Miller has now officially missed half of the season, since Boston played their 41st game of the regular season in New Jersey.

As a result of the numerous injuries on the blue line for the B’s, Jeremy Lauzon was recalled from the Providence Bruins (AHL) on Monday.

Lauzon has 1-9–10 totals in 35 games with Providence this season and made his season debut with Boston on the second defensive pairing with Matt Grzelcyk at his side.

Karson Kuhlman (fractured tibia) was assigned to Providence on Monday in what might be a conditioning stint, if not just a return to playing action with a plethora of depth forwards seeking playing time in Boston.

Kuhlman has not played since being injured in Toronto on Oct. 19th.

Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made changes to his lineup from Sunday night’s, 3-2, victory against Buffalo.

Anders Bjork, Charlie Coyle and Brett Ritchie were moved up to the second line, while Jake DeBrusk slid down to the third line left wing slot as Par Lindholm and David Backes drew back into the lineup.

Meanwhile, on defense, Lauzon was paired with Grzelcyk and John Moore remained with Steven Kampfer, while Zdeno Chara and Brandon Carlo earned first pairing duties.

Danton Heinen was the only healthy scratch for Boston on Tuesday.

Devils defender, P.K. Subban, caught Sean Kuraly without the puck and was assessed a minor penalty for interference at 1:17 of the first period.

The Bruins capitalized on the ensuing power play when David Pastrnak unloaded a shot on a one-timer that trickled through Blackwood, but slowed before reaching the goal line.

As a result, Brad Marchand (20) ensured the puck reached the twine by tapping it in from the crease and gave Boston the, 1-0, lead on the power play.

Pastrnak (30) and Grzelcyk (9) had the assists on Marchand’s power play goal at 2:03.

Both teams swapped chances for the rest of the opening frame, but no more penalties were called or goals scored heading into the first intermission.

Boston led New Jersey, 1-0, on the scoreboard and held the advantage in shots on goal, 14-10.

The Bruins also led in blocked shots (7-4), while the Devils had the advantage in giveaways (4-2), hits (8-4) and faceoff win percentage (53-47).

Both teams had one takeaway aside and the Bruins were 1/1 on the skater advantage, while New Jersey had yet to see any time on the power play.

Marchand went to the box nine seconds into the second period after tripping up Devils forward, Nikita Gusev, but New Jersey couldn’t convert on the ensuing power play opportunity.

Moments later, Kuraly worked the puck down low and squibbed it through Blackwood into the crease and off Sami Vatanen’s skate, whereby Joakim Nordstrom (4) poked the loose puck over the goal line to give the Bruins a two-goal lead.

Kuraly (12) and Carlo (9) tallied the assists on Nordstrom’s goal at 4:27 of the second period and Boston led, 2-0.

Almost midway through the middle frame, New Jersey sustained offensive zone pressure for a solid few minutes.

The Devils re-entered the attacking zone on a quick break while the Bruins were in the midst of a line change, as Blake Coleman dropped the puck back to Gusev for a give-and-go back to Coleman (12) for the one-timer goal at 8:58.

Gusev (16) and Vatanen (16) had the assists on Coleman’s goal as New Jersey cut Boston’s lead in half, 2-1.

Less than a minute later, Travis Zajac went to the penalty box for tripping Marchand at 9:07, but Boston’s resulting power play was short lived as Grzelcyk tripped up Nico Hischier at 9:20.

The two sides played 1:47 of 4-on-4 action before the Devils had an abbreviated 5-on-4 power play.

Entering the second intermission, the Bruins led the Devils, 2-1, on the scoreboard and, 23-22, in shots on goal– despite New Jersey holding the, 12-9, advantage in shots on net in the second period alone.

Boston also held the advantage in blocked shots (9-6), while the Devils led in takeaways (4-3), giveaways (8-4), hits (15-7) and faceoff win% (55-45).

New Jersey went 0/2 on the power play and the Bruins were 1/2 on the skater advantage after 40 minutes played.

Lauzon opened things up in the final frame of regulation with an interference minor against Miles Wood at 2:34 of the third period.

New Jersey didn’t score on the ensuing power play.

Almost midway through the third period, Nordstrom tripped up Mirco Mueller and was sent to the sin bin at 7:55, but once again the Devils couldn’t convert on the skater advantage.

A few minutes past the midpoint in the third period, Jesper Bratt (8) tipped in a shot from Subban by standing right in front of Halak– tying the game, 2-2, in the process.

Subban (5) and Hischier (15) notched the assists on Bratt’s goal at 13:11 and New Jersey was in full swing with momentum on their side.

Neither team took another penalty until overtime and the two teams finished regulation tied, 2-2, on the scoreboard with the Devils leading in shots on goal, 41-28– including a, 19-5, advantage in the third period alone.

Boston held the advantage in blocked shots (15-13), takeaways (9-8) and faceoff win% (51-49), while New Jersey led in giveaways (14-5) and hits (19-13).

The Devils were 0/4 on the power play and the Bruins were 1/2 on the skater advantage heading into overtime.

Cassidy started Patrice Bergeron, Marchand and Moore in the extra frame for Boston, while Alain Nasreddine began overtime with Hischier, Damon Severson and Vatanen on the ice.

Late in the overtime period, Bratt hooked Kuraly and was assessed a minor infraction at 4:48.

As a result, Cassidy used his timeout with 11.6 seconds left in overtime to drum up a plan if the Bruins won the ensuing draw and could muster a shot on goal before time expired.

At the horn, the B’s and Devils were heading for a shootout, tied, 2-2, through 65 minutes of action.

New Jersey finished the effort leading in shots on goal (44-30), giveaways (14-5) and hits (19-13), while Boston led in blocked shots (16-14).

The two sides were even in faceoff win% (50-50), while the Devils went 0/4 and the Bruins went 1/3 on the power play.

Nasreddine elected to shoot first in the shootout and sent Gusev out to face Halak in the opening round, but Gusev shot the puck square at the B’s goaltender.

Cassidy responded with Coyle to kick things off for Boston in the shootout, but Coyle missed the net after deking and losing the puck off his forehand while losing an edge in front of the crease.

Jesper Boqvist shot second for New Jersey and fired a shot directly at Halak.

Pastrnak was next up for Boston, but was denied by Blackwood as the Devils goaltender made a glove save while falling as Pastrnak stickhandled the puck and let it fly.

Devils forward, Kyle Palmieri, began the third round of the shootout with a shot off Halak’s glove and wide.

Palmieri was followed by Marchand in the third round of the shootout and for once the Bruins winger didn’t opt for a five-hole attempt.

Instead, Marchand rang the post over Blackwood’s blocker.

Through three rounds of the shootout, the two clubs were knotted, 0-0.

Wayne Simmonds began the fourth round of the shootout with an attempt at wrapping the puck around Halak’s outstretched legs, but Halak shut the door between the post and his skate.

Cassidy sent out DeBrusk to break up the deadlock, but DeBrusk crashed the net with speed and was denied by Blackwood’s leg pad as the New Jersey goaltender cut down on the angle of DeBrusk’s approach by playing out of the crease a little.

Just as it seemed like a shootout from hell, the Devils elected to utilize Jack Hughes’ skillset in the fifth round of the shootout.

Hughes dangled the puck and got Halak to commit to a hybrid stance before firing a shot below Halak’s glove and inside the post for the first goal of the shootout– putting New Jersey in command.

Not to be outdone, noted Bruins fourth liner, Chris Wagner, was sent out to tie the shootout and did just that after a nifty dangle to his backhand before roofing the puck over Blackwood and through the top-shelf– tying the shootout, 1-1, after five rounds.

In a grand twist from the other night’s own-goal in overtime against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Severson was sent out onto the ice to try to give New Jersey control of their own destiny and the Hockey Gods responded in kind.

Severson deked and scored a goal that was reminiscent of Wagner’s only about a minute prior with a backhand that he elevated over Halak to put the Devils ahead in the shootout, 2-1.

With the game on his stick, Bergeron had to score to extend the shootout, but Blackwood snagged the puck out of mid-air with his glove– denying Bergeron of yet another shootout goal.

No. 37 in black and gold hasn’t scored a shootout goal in about five calendar years as the Devils emerged with the, 3-2, shootout victory on home ice.

The B’s fell to 18-1-2 when having a two-goal lead at any time this season and fell to 0-6 in shootouts this season, while New Jersey improved to 2-4 overall past overtime.

The Bruins fell to 17-5-6 when scoring the game’s first goal, 15-3-2 when leading after the first period and 13-0-4 when leading after two periods this season.

Boston kicks off 2020 with a two-game homestand against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday and Edmonton Oilers on Saturday before making a quick visit to Nashville to face the Predators next Tuesday.

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