For much of the first 60 minutes of play, the Boston Bruins looked tired in their home game against the New Jersey Devils. In a way, who could blame them? They did just come off a hard-fought 5-3 win in North Carolina and dealt with the quick turnaround from getting back to Boston and prepping for the second game in as many days. Still, there were times in those first three periods when the Bruins either didn’t look to be trying too hard or were trying to no avail. In the end, they prevailed, winning 2-1 in a shootout.
The team was lucky to get even one point in the standings from this game, let alone two. For much of the game, they were playing from behind and looking like they would allow their first shutout loss of the season. Well, that is, until Nathan Horton broke through with a wrist shot as the minutes ticked down in the third period. Did you know he has a four-game point streak going right now? The novelty and relief of having him back in the lineup has not yet diminished.
In the shootout, Tyler Seguin scored again (actually, he scored twice, since some foolish person decided to throw a hot dog on the ice and Seguin got a do-over), Ilya Kovalchuk knotted it up and then Brad Marchand gave Boston all they needed to win on his first-ever shootout attempt.
Passing in the offensive zone seemed to plague the Bruins, who were wearing their third jerseys, which aren’t the luckiest ones sometimes, during this game. Often, a player would set up a prize of a pass in the offensive zone, only to watch it putter away and go nowhere at all. There was even a point where Milan Lucic threw a big hit on Horton that seemed to encapsulate the way the game was going. Not long after that, though, was when Horton scored.
This game saw the end of the Bruins’ perfect record of penalty killing and quite a few questionable penalties, including one instance where David Krejci was pushed into Johan Hedberg, received a goaltender interference call and then a case of obvious, independently-motivated contact on Tuukka Rask went unnoticed not long after that.
Though some players looked tired, Rich Peverley and Patrice Bergeron both put in some old-fashioned work, both of them potting a team-leading four shots on goal. Seguin, still snakebitten and unable to score in regulation, dished a nice pass to Marchand near the end of the first, but again, it went nowhere. The third line is not clicking very well so far, so here’s hoping that Peverley’s hard work can help affect change in future games.
Shawn Thornton also did what he does best to try to wake up his sleepy team in the first period by fighting Krys Barch, who has been quite a common Thornton opponent during his tenures with the Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers and now the Devils. It was a long bout, but didn’t have the awakening effect right away.
Funny enough, both the Bruins and the Devils get to keep holding the claim of being undefeated in regulation. However, Boston gets to make another claim: they lead the Eastern Conference once more with 11 points. They’ve also been able to get at least one point from their first six games for the first time since 1970-71.
Rest up, Bruins, and be at your best when the Buffalo Sabres come to town on Jan. 31. It’s Boston’s first time facing a Northeast Division opponent so far this season and tension with the Sabres got superheated last season, so this could be interesting.