Bruins defeat Devils for 3,000th franchise win
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) The Boston Bruins had everything they needed to get back on track - a road game against the banged-up New Jersey Devils, a team they have owned lately.
Rookie Frank Vatrano scored early, Jonas Gustavsson made 19 saves and the Bruins continued to play well away from home, beating the Devils 4-1 on Friday night for the 3,000th win in franchise history.
“It’s always special when you look at 3,000,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “It means that that team has been around for a while. I have always been proud of being part of an original six team. This team has done a lot of things in the past and we hope we can follow it up in the future.”
Ryan Spooner, Jimmy Hayes and Colin Miller also scored as the Bruins snapped a two-game losing streak and won for only the second time in seven games.
The game was the start of a five-game road trip, and that might be the best place for the Bruins. They are now 12-3-2 on the road and 9-11-2 at home. Boston also has won its last five against New Jersey and 17 of 20.
None of the Bruins could explain the disparity in records.
“Maybe we keep it a little more simple on the road,” Gustavsson said after beating the Devils for the second time this season.
Bobby Farnham scored for the Devils, who have dropped three straight games in regulation for the first time since the start of the season. Cory Schneider finished with 27 saves.
“We’re definitely fighting it a little bit,” Schneider said. “I can do more.”
Vatrano jump-started this trip, scoring 2:02 into the game. Miller took a shot from the right point that Schneider stopped. The puck, however, lay in the crease and Vatrano collected it and scored his sixth goal, his first since a hat trick against Pittsburgh on Dec. 18.
“Obviously we talked about starting on a good foot with a big road trip coming up,” Vatrano said. “We couldn’t look past this game. I wouldn’t say we were struggling but we just weren’t getting in the win column of late. It was good to start off the game with a goal and get us started.”
Spooner stretched the lead to 2-0 almost five minutes into the second period. He wristed a shot from the blue line that Schneider seemingly did not see with Matt Beleskey screening him.
Farnham cut the margin to 2-1 at 11:57 of the second period with a shot from the right circle that Gustavsson simply missed. New Jersey’s Jordin Tootoo nearly tied the game minutes later but his shot hit off the post shortly after a Bruins penalty ended.
Boston restored the two-goal lead late in the second period with their league-leading power play and Miller iced it early in the third.
Hayes got his ninth of the season with 1:25 left in the period with period, tipping a shot by Zdeno Chara.
Miller tallied his third at 6:33 of final period, beating Schneider with a slapshot.
With leading scorer Mike Cammalleri missing his fourth straight game with an upper body injury and defensemen John Moore and David Schlemko also out, the Devils called up three players from Albany on Friday. Forward Paul Thompson, 27, made his NHL debut and defensemen Jim O’Brien and Marc-Andre Gragnani played in the league for the first time since 2013.
“I’d say this is the first time where we had a little bit of a challenge, where there wasn’t a character response,” said Devils coach John Hynes, who was disappointed with his team’s mental toughness.
Forward David Pastrnak played in his first game for the Bruins since sustaining a foot injury on Oct. 31.
NOTES: New Jersey starts a four-game road trip in Minnesota on Sunday. .... The Bruins are in Ottawa Saturday. ... Boston D Adam McQuaid (upper body) missed his first game this season. ... Boston forward Brad Marchand served the third and final game of a suspension for a hit in a game against Ottawa last week. ...Devils F Jiri Tlusty left the game with an undisclosed injury.