One night after clinching the final East Division playoff berth, the Boston Bruins lost in overtime to the New Jersey Devils, 4-3. Despite the loss, the Bruins remain in third place, one point ahead of the New York Islanders after the Isles lost in a shootout to the Buffalo Sabres.
The Bruins had a pair of one-goal leads in the game, but they were not able to finish off the Devils. They finished the season 3-3-2 against New Jersey this season. The good news? The Devils are not one of the other three teams in the division that is postseason bound.
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Here are some thoughts on the Bruins’ loss as they head home for a three-game homestand.
- The Bruins began the game looking like a team that clinched a playoff berth the night before and was still celebrating the feat. New Jersey outshot the B’s 8-3 in the opening 10 minutes as Boston took three minor penalties. The Devils finally made them pay with a Pavel Zacha power play goal. Moving forward, the Bruins have to be more disciplined and stay out of the box.
- Sometimes you need some puck luck. That was the case in the second period for the Bruins. David Pastrnak’s stick broke when he attempted a slap shot on the power play. The puck slid to Patrice Bergeron and the captain spun around and placed a perfect wrist shot by Devils netminder Mackenzie Blackwood to tie the game.
- What was New Jersey coach Lindy Ruff thinking when he challenged the second Bruins goal by Taylor Hall? Hall crashed the net and Matt Grzelcyk’s shot/pass hit Hall in the leg and went into the net. Hall appeared to barely swipe Blackwood’s arm trying to avoid the goalie and it did not affect Blackwood trying to make the save. Ruff lost the challenge and the Devils were assessed a minor penalty, but Boston failed to capitalize.
- Zacha ended the game in overtime when he roofed a backhander over Jaroslav Halak‘s shoulder during the 3-on-3 and during a delayed penalty call on the B’s. After giving up the goal, Halak broke his stick on the post, and for good measure, he finished it off on the glass by the Boston bench as he heading off the ice. Love the Halak stick smashing.
- Charlie Coyle left the game with an injury. Coach Bruce Cassidy did not have an update following the game, but Coyle had been playing some good hockey recently after being moved to the wing with Sean Kuraly. In what has been an underperforming season for Coyle, hopefully, he’s able to return before the playoffs.
- Brandon Carlo returned to the lineup and looked better than one thought he would after missing nearly two months. It is nice to see him getting healthy right before the postseason.
Boston returns home for three games, two against the New York Rangers and one with the Islanders, before finishing the regular season Tuesday night in Washington against the Capitals. The B’s have four games to work on things before the playoffs begin in a couple of weeks.