For the fourth time this season, the Boston Bruins came back from trailing in the third period to winning past regulation with a, 5-4, shootout victory over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night at TD Garden.
The B’s lead the league in third period multi-goal comeback wins this season with four– setting a franchise record in the process.
Jaroslav Halak (8-5-3, 2.27 goals-against average, .916 save percentage in 16 games played) stopped 31 out of 35 shots faced in the shootout win for Boston.
Devils goaltender, Mackenzie Blackwood (9-9-2, 2.87 goals-against average, .911 save percentage in 20 games played) made 44 saves on 48 shots against in the shootout loss.
Boston improved to 18-9-5 (41 points) on the season and remained in command of 4th place in the MassMutual NHL East Division, while New Jersey fell to 13-16-5 (31 points) and remained in 7th place in the division.
Tuesday night, the Bruins were without Ondrej Kase (upper body), Kevan Miller (knee), Tuukka Rask (upper body), John Moore (hip), Sean Kuraly (COVID protocol) and Jake DeBrusk (COVID protocol), while Brandon Carlo and Brad Marchand made their returns to the lineup.
Carlo made his first appearance in 10 games since sustaining an upper body injury (concussion, though it was never officially stated by the team) against the Washington Capitals on March 5th, while Marchand returned from COVID protocol after a false positive kept him out of the last two games.
Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, adjusted his lineup, returning Marchand to his usual role on the first line left wing alongside B’s captain, Patrice Bergeron, at center and David Pastrnak at right wing.
Cassidy moved Trent Frederic to center the fourth line as a result and scratched Jack Studnicka.
On defense, Jeremy Lauzon suited up alongside Charlie McAvoy on the first pairing, while Matt Grzelcyk was partnered with Carlo to round out the top-four defenders.
Cassidy put Jakub Zboril and Connor Clifton together on the third pairing, while Chris Wagner, Greg McKegg, Studnicka, Moore, Kase, Rask, Steven Kampfer, Kuraly, DeBrusk, Jarred Tinordi, Callum Booth and Miller made up Boston’s list of taxi squad members, healthy scratches and/or injured players out of the lineup on Tuesday.
Jack Ahcan was reassigned from Boston’s taxi squad to the Providence Bruins (AHL) on Monday.
Miles Wood (11) kicked things off with the game’s first goal on New Jersey’s first shot of the night after stopping P.K. Subban’s shot pass before firing it over Halak’s glove from the slot.
Subban (12) had the only assist on the goal as the Devils took a, 1-0, lead at 1:28 of the first period.
Moments later, the Bruins evened things up, 1-1, when Nick Ritchie (10) mustered a shot from just above the faceoff circle off of Blackwood’s glove hand and into the twine for Boston’s first 5-on-5 goal against New Jersey this season.
David Krejci (18) and Craig Smith (6) tallied the assists on Ritchie’s goal at 5:55.
Almost midway into the opening frame, an odd bounce didn’t go Karson Kuhlman’s way while the Bruins forward was pressuring to keep the puck in the attacking zone led to a New Jersey breakaway the other way for Devils forward, Michael McLeod.
McLeod (5) deked, pulled the puck to his backhand and beat Halak down low to give the Devils a, 2-1, lead at 9:34 of the first period.
Jesper Boqvist (1) and Ryan Murray (5) notched the assists on McLeod’s goal.
Entering the first intermission, New Jersey led, 2-1, on the scoreboard, despite trailing Boston in shots on goal, 12-11.
The Bruins also led in blocked shots (2-1), takeaways (4-2) and hits (12-6), while both teams had two giveaways each and were 50-5o in faceoff win percentage after one period of action.
Neither team had yet to see any time on the power play heading into the middle frame.
Travis Zajac (5) tipped a shot from Jesper Bratt through Halak’s seven-hole on the blocker side to give the Devils a two-goal lead, 3-1, at 3:45 of the second period.
Bratt (15) and Murray (6) had the assists on Zajac’s goal, which was his 200th tally of his National Hockey League career in 1,021 games (all with New Jersey).
Moments later, Marchand yielded the first power play of the night to the Devils after receiving a roughing minor at 9;20 of the second period.
New Jersey did not convert on the ensuing skater advantage, however.
Shortly after being free from the penalty box, Marchand made a big hit in the attacking zone that resulted in Bratt and Marchand exchanging pleasantries and receiving roughing infractions at 12:59 after the Bruins winger landed a takedown of the Devils defender.
About a minute later, Subban slashed Krejci and presented Boston with a 4-on-3 advantage for about 52 seconds before the Bruins would have an abbreviated 5-on-4 power play.
Nearly three minutes after his second roughing penalty of the game, Marchand (13) wired a catch and release snap shot past Blackwood’s blocker to pull Boston to within one.
Bergeron (17) and Krejci (19) had the assists on Marchand’s power-play goal and the Bruins trailed, 3-2, at 15:48.
Less than two minutes later, a costly turnover for Lauzon in his own zone off of a faceoff benefited Kyle Palmieri (8) with a quick unassisted goal to put New Jersey on top, 4-2, at 17:06.
Through 40 minutes of play, the Devils led, 4-2, on the scoreboard, despite trailing the Bruins in shots on goal, 25-23.
Boston held the advantage in takeaways (9-6), hits (18-15) and faceoff win% (57-43), while New Jersey led in blocked shots (8-4) and giveaways (4-3).
The Devils were 0/1 on the power play, while the B’s were 1/1 on the skater advantage heading into the final frame of regulation.
Midway through the third period, McAvoy (4) buried a rebound to bring the Bruins back to within one– trialing, 4-3, at 10:22 of the third period.
Smith (7) and Marchand (23) had the assists on McAvoy’s goal.
Boston went on the power play at 13:43 when Damon Severson caught McAvoy with a high stick, but didn’t convert on the ensuing advantage.
Moments later, however, Grzelcyk (3) sent a wrist shot from the high slot off an attacking zone faceoff win past Blackwood on the far side to tie the game, 4-4.
Smith (8) and Krejci (20) each had their third assist of the night on Grzlecyk’s goal at 16:00 of the third period– forcing overtime after Bergeron’s hooking minor at 16:18 was successfully killed by Boston’s penalty kill.
The Bruins finished the 60-minute effort leading in shots on goal, 44-32, including a, 19-9, advantage in the third period alone.
The B’s also led in hits (23-19), while the Devils led in blocked shots (11-7) and giveaways (8-3) entering the overtime period.
Both teams had 11 takeaways each and were 50-50 in faceoff win% heading into the extra frame.
New Jersey was 0/2 and Boston was 1/2 on the power play entering overtime.
Devils head coach, Lindy Ruff, started Pavel Zacha, Bratt and Severson in overtime, while Cassidy countered with Bergeron, Marchand and McAvoy to kick things off.
McAvoy slashed Severson while trailing on a play about midway through the overtime period, yielding a 4-on-3 advantage to New Jersey at 2:39 of overtime.
Boston then utilized their timeout to counter New Jersey’s power play and hold things off until the seconds ticked down and a shootout commenced.
Entering the shootout, Boston and New Jersey were tied, 4-4, on the scoreboard, while the Bruins led in shots on goal, 48-35, including a, 4-3, advantage in overtime alone.
The B’s finished the night leading in hits (24-22) and and faceoff win% (51-49), while the Devils wrapped up the night leading in blocked shots (12-8) and giveaways (8-3).
New Jersey finished Tuesday night’s action 0/3 on the power play, while Boston went 1/2 on the skater advantage.
The Bruins elected to shoot second in the shootout.
Ruff sent out Zacha, but the Devils forward’s attempt was stopped by Halak with a routine pad save.
Cassidy countered with Charlie Coyle, who promptly deked while skating towards Blackwood, pulling the New Jersey netminder out of position.
Coyle went from his backhand to his forehand while wrapping the puck around Blackwood– slipping it between the Devils goalie and the post to give Boston the, 1-0, advantage after the first round of the shootout.
New Jersey turned to Palmieri to even things up, but Halak got a chunk of the puck with his blocker before the rubber biscuit was deflected wide of the net.
Pastrnak mimicked Coyle’s goal– going from his backhand to his forehand and slipping the rubber biscuit between Blackwood’s outstretched pad and the post, only this time with less room between the Devils’ goaltender’s skate and the metal goal frame.
The Bruins won the shootout, 2-0, and added to their final total on the scoreboard– defeating the Devils in the process, 5-4.
Boston improved to 2-3-1 against New Jersey in 2020-21, as well as 3-2 in shootouts overall this season.
The Devils, meanwhile, fell to 0-4 in shootouts this season.
The Bruins improved to 6-6-2 (3-4-0 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal this season, while the Devils dropped to 11-7-1 (7-2-1 on the road) when scoring first in 2020-21.
Boston is now 4-6-2 (2-2-0 at home) when trailing after one period and 4-5-1 (3-3-0 at home) when trailing after two periods this season, while New Jersey fell to 8-3-1 (4-1-1 on the road) when leading after the first period and 7-2-1 (5-1-1 on the road) when leading after the second period this season.
The B’s finished the month of March with a 6-4-3 record and will begin April with a pair of home games against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday and Saturday.
Boston is 2-1-1 in their current seven-game homestand.