Newark, NJ – Brad Marchand bookended the Boston Bruins 3-2 over-time shootout win against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night. Marchand notched the first goal of the Bruins 2021 season at 17:40 of the first period. He then ended the game on the Bruins’ final shootout attempt.
The Bruins controlled play throughout most of the evening. The opening period was all Boston, as the visitors outshot the Devils 16-4. Third-year netminder Mackenzie Blackwood was the story for the hosts. The difference came when Devils forward Miles Wood was sent off for Goalie Interference at 17:02. That’s when Marchand struck first. David Krejci breaks up the Devils breakout at the New Jersey blueline. Patrice Bergeron taps the loose puck to Krejci, who races along the right-wing boards and feeds Marchand with a cross-crease pass. Marchand bangs it home to the left of Blackwood.
The second period was less entertaining as Boston outshot the Devils 10-6. The Devils had two power-play opportunities, but Tuukka Rask (20 saves) was up to the challenge. The Bruins had a man advantage of their own late in the period, but Blackwood kept the Devils within striking distance.
New Jersey tied the game 1-1 at 8:51 of the third. Bruins forward Sean Kuraly was handcuffed at the Devils’ blue line by Jack Hughes and lost the puck to a streaking Wood. The 6′-2″ forward from Buffalo turned on the jets as was in on Rask. Wood’s snapshot beat Rask blocker-side.
Boston countered again on the man advantage. Again at the expense of Wood for Goalie Interference at 11:13. Nick Ritchie rifled a rebound past Blackwood at the side of the Devils’ goal. Marchand fired a pass from the bottom of the right circle; Ritchie one-timed it, but Blackwood made the initial stop. Ritchie easily put his rebound past Blackwood at 13:12. Matt Grzelcyk assisted along with Marchand.
The Bruins lead was short-lived as defenseman Ty Smith wristed a shot from the left point that bounced off Rask, Charlie McAvoy, and lord knows what else before popping into the Bruins goal. Smith’s goal at 13:46 was his first career NHL point. Matt Tennyson and Hughes were credited with the assists.
In the three on three overtime period, Rask made two beautiful stops on New Jersey. None better than when he stoned Kyle Palmieri on a breakaway. Boston outshot the Devils 37-22 on the evening. The Bruins won 57% of the face-offs. For their part, New Jersey outhit the Bruins 26-13 while doubling up Boston 14-7 on blocked shots.
New Jersey went first in the shootout. Rask turned aside Nikita Gusev, Jesper Boqvist, and Hughes. For his part, Blackwood turned aside Charlie Coyle and Andrej Kase before allowing Marchand to seal the win with a five-hole goal.
The two teams square off again on Saturday in Newark at 1:00 pm.