Talking points: Drew Stafford makes excellent first impression vs. Devils
Drew Stafford made quite the first impression in a Bruins uniform. He had a hard-nosed power play goal scored in the second period until it was overturned on an iffy Jersey coach’s challenge, and notched the primary assist on Ryan Spooner’s game-winning goal in the third period. In general Stafford looked like a great fit with Spooner and Frank Vatrano on the third line, and that trio had immediate chemistry in their first game together. Stafford finished with a game-high seven shots on net, nine total shot attempts, four registered hits and plus-2 in 14:07 of ice time showing he’s still got plenty left in the tank this season. It might be a while before Jimmy Hayes gets his spot back.
Taylor Hall finished with an assist and a plus-2 for the night, but he was pretty bad for most of the game for the Devils. Hall took a pair of lazy tripping penalties in the first couple of periods, and could have been whistled for another one on Patrice Bergeron in the first period if the refs hadn’t completely whiffed on it. Things finally turned for him a bit in the third period when he blocked a Brandon Carlo shot and turned that into an odd-man rush and a Kyle Palmieri goal, but he still finished with just a single shot on net in 15:56 mostly lackluster minutes for the Devils. It sure didn’t look like Hall brought his ‘A’ compete level for New Jersey in this one.
A couple of screwy TD Garden sirens inadvertently went off in the third period with the first one directly preceding Kyle Palmieri’s game-tying goal. A series of events like that could have easily thrust the Bruins into a downward spiral if they were at a fragile stage with their confidence, but instead they pushed through it and scored the game-winner a few minutes later with a determined shift from the third line. Frank Vatrano, Drew Stafford and Ryan Spooner all touched the puck immediately before Spooner’s game-winner, and that rewarded the Bruins with the regulation win they desperately needed against a Devils team playing out the string at this point.
Torey Krug struck for the power play goal in the first period, and led all Bruins players with 23:17 of ice time while playing heavy duty hockey against a competitive Devils bunch. It wasn’t all good for Krug, of course, as he was on the ice, and couldn’t handle a speeding puck that exploded on him that led to Devante Smith-Pelly’s shorthanded goal in the second period. But Krug rebounded from that with strong play the rest of the way, finished with four shot attempts and a hit to go along with the power play fireworks. Krug now has six goals on the season and looks like he might be able to get back to double-digits for the season if he can have a hot final few weeks offensively in Bruce Cassidy’s offense-friendly system.
BY THE NUMBERS
1 – the goal scored by Brandon Carlo in the second period was his first career NHL goal scored on the TD Garden ice after the 20-year-old rookie’s first five goals came on the road this season.
QUOTE TO NOTE
“It was a bit of a strange night. I saw the wave here [at TD Garden] for the first time in a long time.” –Bruce Cassidy, on a night full of weird events that the B’s managed to fight through to get the 3-2 win over the Devils.