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Bruins vs. Devils 3/30/31 RECAP: Abysmal defensive effort ends with unbelievable 3rd period, Bruins comeback to WIN 5-4 in Shootout!

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It was bad until it wasn’t.

New Jersey Devils v Boston Bruins Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

First Period:

This period sucked.

Boston began the game with a series of defensive miscues and failed clears so bad I swear to you it was like they were daring New Jersey to score.

New Jersey, who if nothing else has a lot of offensive talent and skating speed on their roster, took that absolutely easy-for-them dare, and went up 1-0 early as Miles Wood was the first beneficiary of that first Really Bad Play:

And then, Nick Ritchie did something no Bruin previously had done at even strength this year, score a goal on any Devils goaltender. 1-1 everybody.

Blackwood probably wants that one back. I couldn’t believe that shot, of all the very many shots that have gone off a Devils goaltender this year, went in for Boston.

..aaaaand then Michael McLeod was beneficiary of an absolutely absurd bounce, and walked pretty much everyone on the ice to put the Devils back up 2-1!

So yeah, this period sucked. But if you think that period sucked, you should’ve seen what happened in the

Second Period, where suckage hit a brand new low!

oy.

Travis Zajac opened the scoring in this period after a long stretch of the 4th line getting absolutely worked over. They looked abysmal out there, and deserved this. 3-1 Devils.

Happy F$%king 200th, Travis.

Then, Brad Marchand woke right the hell up. He got into the mix with an armdrag takedown of Jesper Bratt, drew (and took) a penalty...

...The Bruins got another penalty out of it, and then once Marchy left the box, he put a rocket past Blackwood to put the B’s within one! 3-2 Devils.

A shift of shifts from the Little Ball of Hate. Just outstanding stuff.

...Aaaaaaaand then, Jeremy Lauzon did this!

Jesus christ, kid!

4-2 Devils.

And so, with fans unhappy and clogging our mentions and Gamethread with desire to sell, we leave this period on that particularly sour note.

Third Period

While the defensemen got the goals, it was Craig Smith who decided it was time to pop right off after switching lines with David Pastrnak. His first was creating a huge rebound for Charlie McAvoy, who absolutely should be a Norris candidate, to pot home halfway through the the period. 4-3 Devils

Well, I guess a more accurate descriptor is shot through Blackwood, as getting it past him was already an issue for the Bruins.

And then finally, not six minutes later, with the clock winding down, Matt Grzelcyk shot through a screen off a faceoff to tie this stupid, awful, no good game at 4-4.

And onto overtime we go.

Overtime

Not much happened, to be honest. The B’s took a penalty which was more than a little spooky, but they held the fort pretty well. It was the Skillz Competition where it would be decided.

The Shootout

If you have to score, send your best. Charlie Coyle got one, and then...

...Pasta got the clincher. Bruins WIN 5-4 in the Shootout!

Game Notes:

  • I’ll give Halak some credit, he was given not a whole lot of help throughout the game, and in a game where both goalies give up four goals SV% is relative, but he did not look super confident to begin his night, and was clearly frustrated with himself. He pulled it together when it counted, however! And that’s what matters.
  • Brad Marchand was on another level of absolute dominance. Scored a goal, threw a perfect arm-drag on Jesper Bratt, and was buzzing all night. Absolutely incredible night for him.
  • Craig Smith received credit for 3 assists tonight, was a shot-attempt and xGF% fiend and honestly I think he and David Krejci should’ve been united as part of a line a long time ago. He was unstoppable.
  • Coyle should count himself both lucky and happy that he ended up getting that shootout tally, because otherwise while his effort was there, he and his linemates were having a tough time stringing actual shots on goal together. They did go to the net, which is good! But they need to make more consistent efforts in getting shots off, especially if they were going to receive the chances they did.
  • I know that Butch wants his defensemen involved in the rush and that absolutely worked against the Devils tonight, every pairing that does not involve “being a Boston University alumnus” probably shouldn’t bother for the rest of the year and hang back, especially against teams like the Devils who are generally not great, but absolutely have invested in skating speed where Boston hasn’t, and that’s going to get them every time.
  • Not that it would’ve mattered tonight: I really hope this game was a come to jesus moment for Don Sweeney regarding the young defense. Jeremy Lauzon and Jakub Zboril have their bright spots, but they need help and development time, and throwing replacement player after replacement player at the problem of “they’re either too green or not good enough” isn’t going to make things better. Both had rough, rough shifts throughout and it cost the Bruins dearly on more than one occasion, particularly Lauzon.
  • 4th line got worked and rode pine for most of the night. Only 7 and a half minutes or lower for each.
  • Deadline’s in a couple weeks, and a week’s worth of Pennsylvania pro hockey awaits. You might be able to get away with some of this against Philly, but Pittsburgh will make you pay for it; they’re on a four game winning streak as of this writing, and their goaltending has finally stabilized a bit. They’re gonna need to come ready to skate.

Speaking of which, next game is against Pittsburgh at home, with the puck dropping at 7pm EST. We’ll see you there!