Rask (22-8-5 record, 2.29 goals against average, .922 save percentage in 36 games played) made 20 saves en route to the shutout– the 44th shutout of his career– for the Bruins, while Mackenzie Blackwood (6-6-0, 2.25 GAA, .931 SV% in 15 GP) made 29 saves on 30 shots against for a .967 SV% in the loss for New Jersey.
Boston improved to 26-4-5 when scoring first this season and 25-1-3 when leading after two periods, while also improving to 3-0-0 on their current six-game homestand.
The Bruins have also earned at least a point in their last 16 games (12-0-4 record in that span), while Rask became the second goaltender in league history to post multiple point streaks of at least 17 decisions (Pete Peeters accomplished the feat with the Philadelphia Flyers over 27 games in 1979-80 and again with the Bruins in 21 games in 1982-83).
The B’s improved to 39-17-8 (87 points) on the season and remain in control of 2nd place in the Atlantic Division standings. Meanwhile, the Devils fell to 25-33-8 (58 points) and are still in the basement (8th place) of the Metropolitan Division.
Cassidy placed Peter Cehlarik on the third line left win alongside Charlie Coyle and David Backes, while moving Joakim Nordstrom to Kuraly’s spot on the fourth line with Noel Acciari and Chris Wagner.
Kuraly (concussion protocol) joined Kevan Miller (upper body) and David Pastrnak (left thumb) as the only Bruins injured and out of the lineup on Saturday, while Steven Kampfer remained Boston’s only healthy scratch.
Kenny Agostino bumped into Rask at 2:23 of the first period and was assessed a two-minute minor penalty for goaltender interference, yielding a power play for the Bruins.
It only took 14 seconds on the ensuing power play for Boston to strike.
Jake DeBrusk knocked a puck out of the air to Patrice Bergeron, who sent a pass along to Brad Marchand (27) for the blocker side wrist shot past Blackwood.
Bergeron (37) and DeBrusk (11) had the assists on the game’s only goal at 2:37 of the first period.
With his assist on the goal, Bergeron tied Wayne Cashman for 6th all-time in points (793) in Bruins franchise history.
Almost midway through the first period, while Marchand was on a breakaway, Damon Severson hooked the Bruins winger in a last-ditch effort that resulted in a penalty shot.
Marchand was denied by Blackwood and fell to four-for-seven in his career on penalty shots at 7:16 of the opening frame.
After one period of play, Boston led, 1-0, on the scoreboard and in shots on goal, 13-10. The B’s also led in giveaways (4-2) and face-off win percentage (53-47), while New Jersey held the advantage in blocked shots (6-5), takeaways (6-4) and hits (12-8).
The Devils were 0/1 on the power play, while the Bruins were 1/1 heading into the second period.
The only event on the scoresheet in the middle frame was a penalty against Boston at 15:15 of the second period. Cehlarik was guilty of tripping recent new Devils acquisition, Connor Carrick, and served a two-minute minor in the penalty box.
Through 40 minutes of play, the B’s still led, 1-0, on the scoreboard and in shots on goal, 23-14. New Jersey maintained an advantage in blocked shots (9-8), takeaways (9-7) and hits (24-16), while the Bruins led in giveaways (9-5) and both teams were even in face-off win% (50-50).
The Devils were 0/2 on the skater advantage, while Boston was still 1/1 on the power play heading into the second intermission.
There were no penalties and no scoring in the third period, resulting in New Jersey pulling their goaltender with about 1:32 remaining in regulation, then using their timeout with 37.4 seconds left after a stoppage in play.
Time expired as the Bruins struggled to find an empty net goal and the Devils maintained pressure in the attacking zone in the closing seconds.
Boston had defeated New Jersey, 1-0, on a goal in the first three minutes of the game.
The Bruins finished the night leading in shots on goal (30-20) and giveaways (14-5), while the Devils wrapped up Saturday night’s action with the lead in blocked shots (14-12), hits (30-22) and face-off win% (58-42).
The Bruins continue their six-game homestand on Tuesday against the Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes will be wearing their Hartford Whalers throwbacks. Boston takes on the Florida Panthers next Thursday (March 7th) and the Ottawa Senators next Saturday (March 9th) before hitting the road to Pittsburgh on March 10th.