By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
2019 certainly did not end the way the Bruins would have liked, as the Black and Gold coughed up a two-goal lead and dropped a six-round shootout decision to Mackenzie Blackwood and the Devils at the Prudential Center.
Skating with three straight victories to their name, the Bruins continued their quick start ways with a Brad Marchand power-play strike, which was really just finishing a David Pastrnak bomb that found itself chilling on the New Jersey goal line before Marchand collected his 20th goal of the year, scored 2:03 into the first period.
And much like they have over the course of this get-right streak, the Bruins extended that lead and jumped out to a two-goal edge on a Joakim Nordstrom putaway scored at the 4:27 mark of the second period.
But the Devils’ Blake Coleman capitalized on a bad Boston line change and beat Jaroslav Halak just four minutes later, and brought the Devils back within one by the period’s end on what was his 12th goal of the season.
The Coleman goal was just a sign of things to come, too, as New Jersey straight-up dominated the third period and outshot the Bruins by an outright blasphemous 19-5 mark. In fact, the Bruins didn’t even land their first shot of the third period on Blackwood until there was just 8:42 left in regulation.
That obvious bend but don’t break philosophy ultimately forced the Bruins into some extra hockey, too, as Jesper Bratt’s deflection tied things up at 2-2 with under seven minutes left in regulation.
And while the Bruins had their looks in the five-minute, three-on-three session — Matt Grzelcyk rang iron and Patrice Bergeron had a great net-front drive on Boston’s final (power-play) possession of the period — it was off to the shootout, where Chris Wagner was the lone B’s skater to beat Blackwood in the six-round loss.
It was another hard-luck loss for Halak, too, as the 34-year-old made 42 saves in the losing effort, and was sensational from in tight on second-look chances the Devils generated against a battered Boston defense corps.
Jeremy Lauzon, meanwhile, made his season debut on the Boston backend, and finished with two shots, two blocked shots, and one hit in 15:40 of time on ice.
Despite the loss, which dropped the Bruins to a league-worst 0-6 in the shootout this year, the Bruins extended their point streak to eight games (3-0-4).
The Bruins return to action on Thursday night with a home head-to-head against the Blue Jackets. This will be the first meeting between the B’s and Jackets since their second-round playoff series last year.