NEWARK, NJ – The Bruins did plenty of things right and finished with their third straight win, but it came at a cost.
The Bruins scored five goals – including a pair of short-handed markers in the first period – and moved back into first place in the Northeast Division with a 5-4 win over the Devils. Tyler Seguin’s 13th goal of the season in the third period provided the needed insurance for the Black and Gold after a failed Jersey comeback.
But the B’s also might have lost Brad Marchand in the proces. He left the game wobbly-legged in the second period after taking an Anton Volchenkov elbow to the side of the head.
The Bruins have been guilty of many slow starts in the last couple of weeks, and they made sure it was a different story on Wednesday night. The Bruins potted a goal on the second shift of the game with Gregory Campbell slamming home a rebound after Jaromir Jagr had powered through the Devils defense and fired a backhanded shot from the slot.
Johnny Boychuk was denied on a short-handed penalty shot nearly three minutes later, but the Bruins' PK unit wasn’t done doing damage. Rich Peverley picked off a Steve Sullivan pass in the neutral zone, and fed Daniel Paille for a short-handed partial breakaway score to make it 2-0.
Three minutes later, Campbell tipped home an Andrew Ference point shot to give the Bruins a commanding three-goal lead, and it appeared Boston was about to hand the Devils their eighth straight loss without Ilya Kovalchuk.
It seemed even more of a certainty when Zdeno Chara tacked on a power-play goal in the second period after he attacked a loose puck left over on a Jaromir Jagr-to-David Krejci play in front. But the Devils responded with a pair of goals in the second half of the second period, including a short-handed Travis Zajac strike after Volchenkov had knocked Marchand out of the game with an elbow to the side of his head.
There was little response from the Bruins on the ensuing PP, or with their raised fists, after watching one of their best players get taken out with a dirty head shot.
An Andy Greene strike in the third period cut it to a one-goal game, but Boston scored what proved to be the winning goal in the latter moments of the game.
GOLD STAR: Gregory Campbell scored goals on both of his shot attempts, finished at a plus-2 rating, played 21:12 of ice time and won 11-of-17 face-offs while centering Jaromir Jagr and Brad Marchand. It was an impressive performance for Campbell, who usually gets little fanfare or hype as Boston’s regular fourth-line center. But Campbell used his toughness and tenacity around the net to fire home a rebound of a Jagr shot in the opening 70 seconds of the game and closed out the first-period scoring by tipping home an Andrew Ference point shot. There’s no overstating Campbell’s value to the Bruins in his ability to play up and down the lineup in times of need.
BLACK EYE: Anton Volchenkov finished a minus-1 in 7:34 of ice time and otherwise had no impact on the game aside from throwing an egregious raised elbow at the side of Brad Marchand’s head with less than five minutes to go in the second period. Volchenkov was summarily ejected from the game with a five-minute elbowing major and a game misconduct, and he should be getting a call from the Department of Player Safety after getting suspended two years ago for an elbow to the head of Zach Boychuk.
TURNING POINT: The Bruins found a way to weather the storm after losing the momentum badly in the final five minutes of the second period: they watched Brad Marchand get taken out with an elbow to the head and then allowed the Devils to pot a short-handed goal on the ensuing five minute power play when Anton Volchenkov was ejected from the game. But Tyler Seguin and Daniel Paille used their overwhelming speed to create a scoring chance, and Seguin snapped home his 13th of the season for the eventual game-winner. The Bruins just barely held on, but they did actually hold in for the two points in the end.
HONORABLE MENTION: Rich Peverley finished with a pair of assists in 17:42 of ice time and won 6-of-9 faceoffs for the Bruins in an encouraging stretch of offensive production for a third-line forward that’s been slumping all season. Peverley has four points (1 goal, 3 assists) and a plus-3 rating in the last two games after posting 12 points in his previous 36 games. With both Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand potentially out with injuries it becomes increasingly important that Peverley continue to function at a high offensive level. It’s likely he’ll slide into Marchand’s spot if the agitating winger is out for any length of time with a suspected concussion.
BY THE NUMBERS: 11-of-12 – the number of times in the last dozen games against the New Jersey Devils that the Bruins have taken home a victory.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “After the second period there was a lot of frustration in the room over that last five minutes. Guys were frustrated. But I came out before the third and told them, ‘We played a decent first . . . the second wasn’t good. But our goal remains the same as it was before the game: Win the game and you’re in first place.” – Claude Julien, on the scene inside the Bruins dressing room after the final five minutes of the second period saw them lose the game’s momentum.