There are pretty hockey games, and then there are pretty hockey games.
Tuesday night’s matchup between New Jersey and Boston was neither of those things.
Sloppy play, bad penalties and missed connections filled the evening, and while the final score might have suggested that there was a flow of attack and counter-attack to the game, it was anything but.
Benoit Pouliot was the beneficiary of a half-period of Bruins buzzing the net as he scooped up a loose puck and feathered it past Johan Hedberg with 3:01 left to play in the third period, breaking the tie and giving the Bruins the decisive advantage after a back-and-forth third period that saw two goals scored by each team in the first 6:56 of the period.
Brad Marchand – who committed one of those bad penalties, a roughing call on Adam Henrique in the Bruins attacking zone and was benched for the rest of the second period – scored just six seconds into the third, getting a clean break off the faceoff and beating Hedberg five-hole to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead.
But it didn’t hold for long. Both outfits traded goals over the next few minutes, making it 3-3 with 13 minutes to play in the period.
Nick Palmieri, who bookended the Devils’ scoring, started the scoring at 10:46 of the second period when he squeeze a puck past Tim Thomas during a 5-on-3 advantage for New Jersey, but Chris Kelly would even the score four minutes later when Gregory Campbell won a battle for the puck down low and Rich Peverley got the puck away from an out-of-position Hedberg to give Chris Kelly a tap-in goal.
Shawn Thornton scored his first goal in 17 games (the last time Boston faced New Jersey in the final game of the 2010-11 regular season), and Chris Kelly netter Boston’s first goal. The Devils also got a marker from rookie Adam Henrique.