Down by one and with their net empty, the Bruins scratched and clawed their way to two near-goals, but were denied on both occasions, as the Devils’ MacKenzie Blackwood posted a 40-save shutout to give New Jersey a 1-0 win at TD Garden.
The first came on a Patrice Bergeron goal scored with 1:10 remaining in the third period after the Bruins fished a loose puck out from under Blackwood and through him for Boston’s first goal of the evening. But a challenge from Devils head coach Lindy Ruff got the referees to take a look for goaltender interference, and after a relatively quick review, the officials determined that Krejci impeded Blackwood’s ability to make the save.
“I think the goalie interference could’ve went either way,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said after the loss. “[The ref] was in front of it and signaled goal. It’s supposed to be egregious. What am I supposed to say on that?”
“It is what it is,” Bergeron said. “I’m sure there’s 20 different angles.”
But then came the worst kind of review possible, with a shot that appeared to go over the line coming with just eight seconds remaining in the game, but with no noticeable white between the goal line and the puck. Historically these calls are never kind to the team that believes they scored. And ultimately that history held true following a lengthy video review from the officials, as the officials confirmed their original no goal call, much to the dismay of the TD Garden crowd.
The Devils, meanwhile, put themselves in front at the 16:37 mark of the first period in this one, with a Kyle Palmieri deflection off a Ty Smith shot, good for Palmieri’s seventh goal (and fourth against the Bruins) of the season.
With the Bruins trying whatever they could to get the better of a goaltender that’s dominated them all season, Blackwood’s 23-save start saw Palmieri’s tally hold as the game’s only goal through two periods of play.
The Bruins then whiffed on a 1:43 power-play opportunity to begin the third period, but were given a chance to claw their way back even with a Janne Kuokkanen high-sticking penalty against Charlie McAvoy.
Originally missed by the on-ice officials, a quick review as McAvoy gushed blood out of his face put the Bruins on a four-minute power play and with the game-tying goal in sight. But the Bruins landed just three shots on Blackwood during the opportunity before a McAvoy penalty nullified the man advantage with just 14 seconds remaining. Among the Bruins’ worst misses during that stretch: A decision from David Krejci to opt for a touch-pass to Nick Ritchie at the front of the New Jersey net when Krejci had a wide open look at Blackwood’s net had he simply fired it on goal.
And the B’s didn’t really get another high-quality look on Blackwood until those almost tallies in the final 70 seconds of action, and finished with their effort of at least 40 shots and one goal or fewer (tied with Florida for most in the league).
New Jersey’s victory on Boston ice also gave them three straight regulation victories at TD Garden for the first time in the history of this head-to-head series.
Bruins winger Brad Marchand was considered a game-time decision (depending on how his testing went) after missing Saturday’s contest by way of his move to the COVID list, but remained out of action for this contest. Same for Jake DeBrusk (third straight absence) and Sean Kuraly (fourth straight), who also remained in COVID protocol.
The Bruins and Devils will meet again on Tuesday night.