Boston, MA –The New Jersey Devils played spoiler in the Boston Bruins‘ homecoming. Riding a pair of goals from Kyle Palmieri and 25 saves from MacKenzie Blackwood, the visitors outlasted the Bruins 3-2 in their first game back at TD Garden in three weeks. It was the second straight win for the Devils after missing just over two weeks due to a COVID outbreak.
New Jersey had the period’s only power play after Boston’s Chris Wagner tripped Miles Wood behind the Devils net. The Bruins penalty kill limited the Devils to just one shot on goal during the man advantage.
The opening frame was lackluster overall. Each team registered seven shots on goal, but neither team had a quality scoring chance.
Devils forwardPalmieri kicked off the scoring at 1:34 of the second period when he buried a Jack Hughes feed past Jaroslav Halak‘s glove hand. Hughes dumped a behind-the-back pass to a streaking Palmieri as he entered the Bruins zone.
Boston defenseman John Moore was called for Tripping at 8:01, giving the visitors another man advantage.
Devils defenseman PK Subban negated the New Jersey power-play when he was sent off for High-Sticking at 9:05. The veteran’s stick drew blood from Anders Bjork, giving Boston a four-minute man advantage upon completing Moore’s penalty.
However, it was the Devils that capitalized. Palmieri added to the Devils’ lead when he picked up a loose puck along the boards and raced in alone to beat Halak through the legs at 10:39. The short-handed goal, his second goal of the game, was also his second goal of the season.
Jake DeBrusk answered the bell for Boston at 12:36 when he sniped the puck top shelf to beat Blackwood. The unassisted power-play goal was DeBrusk’s first goal of the season.
After a pile-up in front of Halak, Boston’s Charlie Coyle and New Jersey’s Nathan Bastian came away from the scrum with matching Roughing penalties at 15:08.
Just twenty-nine seconds into four-on-four action, the Devils added to their lead. Pavel Zacha spun his way through Boston defenders, dished to Andreas Johnsson, and then buried a return pass from Johnsson past Halak, making it 3-1. With the goal, Zacha has scored in the Devils’ last two games.
New Jersey’s Ty Smith sent the puck into the stands while in the defensive zone giving the Bruins a power-play with 2:11 left.
David Pastrnak and Charlie McAvoy combined to draw the Bruins to within one when McAvoy tipped Pastrnak’s wrister from the blueline past Blackwood to make it 3-2 at 18:54.
Boston continued to pepper Blackwood as the final minute ticked away, but there wasn’t a comeback in store tonight.
Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy felt that it was a lack of competing primarily in the second period that did the team in.
“I just thought they (New Jersey) were winning the races and winning the one-on-one puck battles,” said Cassidy. “You’d think after four or five days of not playing; we’d be the hungrier team, so we’ll address that.”
“I thought our work ethic inside the game was real good,” said Devils coach Lindy Ruff. “I think everyone knows that eventually, Palms (Palmieri) was going to breakthrough. Jack (Hughes) made a great play, and Palmieri found the back of the net on the first one.”
“Obviously, the second goal going in alone, shorthanded, that was a big goal for us at that time,” added Ruff.
The Bruins travel to Lake Tahoe on Friday for the NHL Outdoors game against the Flyers on Sunday. It was announced tonight that the start time had been moved up an hour to 2:00 pm EST.
The Devils host Buffalo on Saturday at 12:30 pm in Newark, NJ.