New Jersey Devils

Another strong start for Khudobin in 35-save effort

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Another strong start for Khudobin in 35-save effort

Anton Khudobin stopped 35 of 38 shots in his evening of work and was the best player on the ice for the Bruins with the B’s defense giving up some really high-quality chances throughout the game. Khudobin was brilliant to start making a handful of big stops in the first five minutes when Boston had a couple of rough breakdowns. He then he stopped 26-of-28 in the final 40 minutes of a game where one of two miscues could have meant the difference. It continues a brilliant season for the Bruins backup goalie where he’s been very, very good on a number of instances where the team hasn’t been up to par in front of him. Both Khudobin and the Bruins were in a little better place by the third period, but it would have been for naught if he hadn’t been so good to start for the Black and Gold.

A bit of a tough night for a couple of rookies in Danton Heinen (9:04) and Jake DeBrusk (9:51), who both finished with less than 10 minutes of ice time and seemed to be having some difficulty keeping up with the fast and physical attack from the Devils. DeBrusk was on the ice for a couple of goals against the Black and Gold, but both first-year wingers are going to be monitored pretty closely for drop-offs in performance as the intensity picks up in the second half. Both have been pretty consistently good as rookies this season, but it really becomes a different animal in the second half of the NHL season leading into the postseason. It’s going to be like that each night for the remaining 30 or so games, and it’s going to be a big challenge for all of Boston’s rookies to be on point at all times.

The Bruins were nursing a one-goal lead in the third period after Adam McQuaid’s goal midway through the third period and Patrice Bergeron was whistled for delay of game after a puck went over the glass. Rather than buckle and potentially allow the tying goal with one of their best PK guys in the box, the B’s stiffened and finally got some quality play up and down the lineup while putting the clams on the Devils power play. The Bruins killed off that New Jersey PP with roughly five minutes to go in the third period got their empty net goal shortly afterward and never looked back while holding New Jersey to a 0-for-7 performance on the man-advantage.

It looked early on like it was going to be a tough night for McQuaid as he took a couple of penalties and was on the ice for a goal against in the second period. But McQuaid kept with it and stepped into a play to keep an offensive possession alive at the offensive blue line, and that wobbly, long-distance shot bounced off a Devils body in front and lifted past Eddie Lack for the winning goal. McQuaid finished with a goal and a plus-1 rating in 17:51 of ice time, had four hits and four blocked shots in a gritty night of work. Best of all, McQuaid went into berserker mode after Brad Marchand took a big hit setting up Boston’s empty-net goal, and fought through the entire Devils team to get a piece of Damon Severson at the end of the game. McQuaid is exactly the kind of player a hockey team wins with.

1 – the number of career shorthanded goals for Torey Krug after he scored one in the first period of Sunday night’s game by alertly throwing a puck to the front of the net from below the goal line. Krug’s bid bounced off Nico Hischier’s stick and went right through Eddie Lack’s pads for Boston’s first goal of the game.

“It’s a character statement. It shows that we have a lot of fight in the room. At this point in the season that’s going to take us a long way.” –Bruce Cassidy to reporters on the B’s fighting through a less-than-stellar performance to earn the two-point result when it was all said and done.



McQuaid's first goal lifts Bruins in 5-3 win over Devils

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McQuaid's first goal lifts Bruins in 5-3 win over Devils

NEWARK, N.J. - Adam McQuaid got his first goal of the season with 8:05 to play, and the Bruins extended their road point-scoring streak to 13 games with a 5-3 victory over the slumping New Jersey Devils on Sunday night.

Fellow defenseman Torey Krug scored twice and Tim Schaller also scored as the Bruins improved to 19-2-4 in their last 25 games and completed a sweep of the three-game season series. Patrice Bergeron added an empty-netter.

Anton Khudobin stopped a first-period penalty shot and finished with 35 saves as Boston avoided consecutive losses in regulation for what would have been the third time this season.

Miles Wood, Taylor Hall and Kyle Palmieri scored for the Devils, who have lost four straight and eight of 11. Eddie Lack, who was acquired in a trade with Calgary in late December, made 22 saves in his first start for New Jersey.

McQuaid, who returned to the lineup on Jan. 17 after missing 36 games with a broken right leg, snapped a 3-all tie with a shot from the right point that deflected off the stick of Devils forward Drew Stafford and bounced past Lack.

It was the first game between the teams since Brad Marchand was suspended for five games for elbowing New Jersey's Marcus Johansson in the head in Boston on Jan. 23. Marchand was booed every time he touched the puck in the wide-open game.

There was a scrum after Bergeron scored with 39 seconds to play. Marchand was knocked down by Damon Severson before the goal.

Boston took leads of 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 in the first two periods, scoring two unassisted short-handed goals in the first period and converting a power play in the second.

The Devils responded every time, getting three even-strength goals. Palmieri tied it at 3 by beating Khudobin in close after taking a nice pass from Hall.

The Bruins' first two goals were a little bizarre. Krug got his first when Nico Hischier tried to clear a puck in the crease and slid it under Lack, who was playing in his sixth NHL game this season.

Wood came out of the penalty box and tied the game with a breakaway goal at 16:32, but Schaller got the lead back for Boston with a stuff at the corner of the net with three seconds left after Hall could not handle a Lack pass.

Hall made up for the mistake 31 seconds into the second period after Hischier intercepted a Marchand pass.

Krug got his 10th of the season with a point shot three seconds after Drew Stafford was called for elbowing.

NOTES: Bruins RW Noel Acciari returned to the lineup after missing seven games with a lower-body injury. ... Devils D John Moore was a healthy scratch after playing in the opening 54 games. ... Bruins C Ryan Spooner got his 100th career assist on Krug's second goal. ... Boston is 16-5-4 on the road this season and 23-5-6 against Eastern Conference teams.


Bruins: Host Calgary on Tuesday.

Devils: At Philadelphia on Tuesday.

© 2018 by the Associated Press. 

Haggerty: Impressive B's adjust to getting opponents' best shot


Haggerty: Impressive B's adjust to getting opponents' best shot

BOSTON – With the Bruins ascending to true contender status the past couple of months, things have certainly changed for the Black and Gold. Most of it is for the better, with the B’s pushing up in the standings while sitting just five points behind the Tampa Bay Lightning for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.


Still, that also means the other 30 NHL teams are going to ramp up their effort against a team that’s been trouncing opponents on a regular basis lately. Boston isn’t going to sneak up on anyone anymore and teams are going to throw their best at the Bruins as New Jersey did on Tuesday night in a tight 3-2 Boston win at TD Garden.

The Bruins gave up the first goal of the game for the sixth time in a row and Tuukka Rask needed to essentially steal the two points with his 37 saves. The B's recognized a couple of things in the aftermath: They certainly didn’t play their best against a pretty good Devils outfit even without the injured Taylor Hall, and they’d better start preparing for opponents to throw everything they’ve got at them.

That started with a 20-shot barrage at Rask from the Devils in the opening 20 minutes and concluded with some Grade-A chances to tie things up in the third period that was once again foiled by the B’s goaltender.

“I would assume that when you’re going well that teams want to bring their A-game. They’re gunning for you, and our guys are getting used to it. They want to make sure that they’re out there and proving that they can play against a very good hockey team,” said B’s coach Bruce Cassidy. “I think more [on Tuesday night] their start was they lost a home game [on Monday], so the natural thing to do was let’s not turn down shots a lot of the times.

“We would probably do the same thing with our group. If we’re not scoring, make sure we get an ugly one, usually the philosophy. I don’t know if that was the directive, but I have to believe it was. “

It only makes sense given that the B’s are 22-3-4 in their last 29 games dating to when Rask was benched. They've since gone well beyond a hot streak and into an ascension to one of the NHL’s deepest, most well-rounded teams. They are scoring 3.3 goals per game and again notched three goals against the Devils on an off night with the NHL’s best forward line (Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak) carrying the burden, and they are the NHL’s best defense allowing just 2.4 goals per game.

The 5-on-3 advantage midway through the second period is when the Bruins seized control and Patrice Bergeron scored his 20th goal of the season from his usual spot right in the slot area manning the bumper position.

“It is his bread and butter. He scored the majority of his goals from there. Great chemistry with Marsh. They were killing five-on-three two high and one low a little bit," Cassidy said. "Usually, you see two are low and one high lot of times. There were some opportunities low; we got one across to [David Krejci], just missed, and Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] made the appropriate read as they were covering low and kind of went against the grain…good timing play and a great shot. It doesn’t surprise me from there; he tends to be able to hit it and hit it well. I’ve said this before; he is out there with [assistant coach] Jay [Pandolfo] pretty much every day working from that spot, moving into the puck whether it is five-on-four, five-on-three situations, so good for him.”

The Bruins were the first team in the NHL this season to boast three 20-goal scorers with Bergeron’s power-play strike, and were joined later in the evening by Dallas with Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Alex Radulov also turning the trick.

The Bruins rank seventh in the NHL on the power play and have the third-best penalty kill in the league as well. They took full advantage of some excessive officiating when Miles Wood was slapped with a double-minor penalty for taking a few retaliatory shots at Riley Nash. But that’s what good teams do. They take advantage when an opponent opens the door for them, and the Bruins stepped through when that chance arose against Jersey.

That’s what they’ll have to continue to do, knowing they’re going to receive the other team’s best punch just as they did against an urgent Jersey team while extending their point streak to 17 games.

“I think so,” said Nash, when asked if “teams are starting to get up to play the Bruins” at this point. “At the same time we just have to match that intensity and we knew that they were going to come out with a little something extra…but you have to match that.

“I think a lot of times we have gotten off to good starts, so I don’t think it’s something to be all too concerned about. But at the same time, it’s got to be addressed right away. I guess you find out next game if it’s a routine, or a habit or not. We knew that they were going to be desperate, but you got to match that.”

The Bruins probably don’t have to wait until their next game - Thursday in Ottawa - to find out. They’re no longer just a nice little underdog story or a team on the rise.

They’re piling up points with no discernible weakness on their roster and other teams are going to girding up to play the Black and Gold juggernaut. It will be up to the Bruins to be ready to handle all comers in what’s sure to be an intense second half of the season.