By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Devils’ Egor Sharangovich beat both the clock and Bruins netminder Jaroslav Halak with just 1.7 remaining in overtime to give New Jersey a 2-1 victory over the Bruins on Saturday.
“I knew how much time was left,” Halak, who made 29 saves in the loss, said. “He made a good play. He snapped it fast. I wish I could take that one back, but it is what it is.”
Deadlocked at 1-1 in the third period, Halak kept the game tied with a fantastic sprawling save on a Kyle Palmieri breakaway chance with 9:32 left in regulation. Halak made another tie-preserving stop before the end of the frame, too, with a big stop on a two-on-one look from the Devils’ Travis Zajac with 4:01 left to play.
And then another with a glove save on Jack Hughes in alone with just over three minutes remaining.
This loss had absolutely nothing to do with Halak.
His night was instead spoiled by what was another flat night from the B’s offense, which went without an even-strength goal once again, scoring their lone goal of the loss by way of Patrice Bergeron’s shorthanded tally.
Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron team up on the penalty kill.— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) January 16, 2021
Bergeron with the shorthanded goal.
1-1 game. pic.twitter.com/PxpPgCvc9K
The Bruins will take offense however they get it — and the Bergeron-Marchand combination has now scored 10 shorties since the start of the 2018 season, which is as many or more than seven NHL teams have totaled over that span — but it wasn’t enough to beat the Devils, and it won’t be enough to beat most teams in 2021.
“We’re not shooting enough,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said after the defeat. “We’re always looking to make a pass. it showed tonight. Our forward shot totals can’t be encouraging.”
Held to just 28 shots in the loss, the Bruins had just nine total shots from forwards other than Bergeron, who led the team with seven shots. Matt Grzelcyk and Jeremy Lauzon had the second-most shots behind Bergeron’s seven, with four shots each.
It’s just not enough from an offense doing its best to stay afloat during David Pastrnak’s ongoing recovery from offseason hip surgery.
Craig Smith made his Bruins debut after missing Opening Night due to a lower-body ailment. Smith finished with two shots in 17:07 of action, and got a little too close to N.J. netminder Mackenzie Blackwood on what was a non-goal call against the Bruins via Smith’s incidental contact.
With Smith in action, Jack Studnicka, who began the year as Boston’s first-line right wing, took a seat as Boston’s healthy scratch up front.
But Studnicka’s absence may be a short one, as winger Ondrej Kase left Saturday’s contest with an apparent upper-body injury after taking a Miles Wood stick up high. Kase does have a significant injury history, too, having missed 65 games since the start of the 2018 season, including an 18-game absence due to a concussion in 2018.
“Upper-body, unable to return,” Cassidy said fo Kase. “Probably have a better update for you tomorrow.”
The Bruins will conclude their road trip with a Monday head-to-head with the New York Islanders. The Bruins have wins in five of their six meetings with the Islanders over the last two seasons.