By Danny Picardand Joe Haggerty
BOSTON -- The Bruins answered Claude Julien's call for a better transition game and more offense Monday night at the TD Garden, shutting out the New Jersey Devils, 3-0.
Tim Thomas, who picked up his first loss of the season on Saturday night, earned his ninth win of the year while making 28 saves. It was his fourth shutout. "I personally approached it as a must-win and I think the team did, too. We need to get back on track; we need to show some urgency," said Thomas. "We faced a team that's been playing better but has struggled this year, and we needed to come out with the win so that we could start building and getting back to the game that we were playing when we were having success."Michael Ryder put the Bruins up 1-0 with 4:34 left in the first period, on a 5-on-3 power play, after he sniped on Martin Brodeur from the left goal line.Nathan Horton added another 43 seconds into the second period, to give the Bs a 2-0 lead. The goal came as a result of a nice cross-ice neutral zone pass from Milan Lucic the exact type of transition that Julien had called for after Saturday nights 2-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators. Horton took the pass at the Devils' blue line on the right wing, skated into the offensive zone, and beat Brodeur to the low left corner with a snap shot from the right circle.Blake Wheeler added another, eerily enough, 43 seconds into the third period (the same time as Horton's goal the period before), after he beat Brodeur with a snapper from the left circle. GOLD STAR: Mark Stuart and Blake Wheeler each dished out 5,000 of their money to purchase tickets for military members and their families on Military Appreciation Night, and then each player gave the soldiers their moneys worth on the ice. Wheeler scored a goal in the third period, and has looked better and better as a center option for the Bruins during times of adversity. Stuart doled out five hits and really pushed the physical envelope in the second period with the kind of brute punishment people have come to expect from him in the defensive zone.BLACK EYE: Tyler Seguin was okay, but didnt really do much in his 12:53 aside from play a pretty passive role on the second power play unit. Seguin finally registered a shot on goal in the third period, but the 18-year-old passed up multiple wide-open opportunities from the left faceoff dot during Boston's first unsuccessful power play. On the night, the PP went 1-for-7 and is 2-for-16 since David Krejci went down.TURNING POINT: The Bruins managed to stave off a flurry of Devils shots early in the first period, and then Adam McQuaid really took the momentum away from the Devils with a prolonged bout against Rod Pelley. The McQuaid fight played a big role in the B's solid early start to the game, and certainly gave Boston the most bang for McQuaid's 9:05 of ice time.BY THE NUMBERS: 7-0-0 the B's perfect record when theyve scored the first goal this season. Apparently the Bruins are very good frontrunners, but then again there aren't many teams that aren't good frontrunners.QUOTE TO NOTE: "I was kind of looking around. I was kind of just expecting it, but no, it was nice not to have to do that. I think if you're hitting clean, you can kind of avoid that kind of stuff." Mark Stuart on the novelty of making some big, thumping hits in the second period and not being forced to fight after a clean hit something hes had to do on multiple occasions over the last two seasons.INJURY UPDATE: Claude Julien revealed after the game that both Johnny Boychuk (fractured forearmwrist) and David Krejci (concussion) will travel with the team to New York for Wednesday night's game against the Rangers, and theres a chance Boychuk could play. Hes now considered day-to-day with his injury.
Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comdannypicard.Joe Haggerty can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs