Down by two goals entering the third period, and against a goaltender that’s given them fits throughout the 2021 season, the Bruins stormed their way to an overtime frame behind tallies from Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk before two shootout goals downed the Devils in a 5-4 final at TD Garden.
Riding the high of a 1-0 shutout victory on Sunday, the Devils didn’t need much to get going in this contest, as a fortunate bounce and putaway from Miles Wood just 88 seconds into action got New Jersey on the board against Jaroslav Halak.
The Bruins countered with a Nick Ritchie wobbler through MacKenzie Blackwood at the 5:55 mark, but the Devils regained their lead and carried it into the first period behind a Michael McLeod breakaway tally just minutes later.
The Devils carried that momentum on into the middle frame, too, with goals from Travis Zajac and Kyle Palmieri.
The Palmieri strike was an especially brutal one, too, as it came just 1:18 after Brad Marchand made it a one-goal game, and came by way of a completely brutal defensive-zone turnover from Jeremy Lauzon.
Kyle Palmieri scored to extend his goal streak against the Bruins to four games (5-0—5). He is just the second player in @NJDevils franchise history to record a goal in four straight games against Boston, joining Ron Delorme in 1978-79 (4-0—4 in 4 GP w/ CLR). #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/enlAD7SlQq— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 31, 2021
But it was with a staggering 19 shots on MacKenzie Blackwood’s net in the third period, and the aforementioned tallies from McAvoy and Grzelcyk, that the Bruins made this comeback possible. That and some comeback-preserving stops from Halak (31 saves in the winning effort) on some high-quality looks in both the third and overtime.
It was also the Bruins overcoming what Bruce Cassidy felt like one of the worst defensive-zone efforts of the year.
“I thought our first touch was probably the worst it’s been all season,” Cassidy said.
One of Cassidy’s biggest issues came with the B’s defense looking for those up-the-middle breakouts that resulted in a pair of goals against, and could’ve ended up with an injury in the case of the attempt that led to the first goal of the night, with Lauzon’s pass ending up in Bergeron’s feet and without enough speed for No. 37 to do anything with it.
“The message was, especially if you’re going to go up the middle of the ice in the National Hockey League, you need to be clean,” Cassidy said. “You need to be assertive.”
The Bruins were paced with a three-assist night from both David Krejci and Craig Smith, while seven Boston skaters finished the winning effort with at least one point.
Brandon Carlo returned to the Boston lineup after a 10-game absence due to a concussion sustained on a hit from Tom Wilson earlier this month. Back on the B’s second pairing opposite Grzelcyk, the 6-foot-5 Carlo finished Tuesday’s contest with two hits and two blocked shots in 22:14 of action.
Jake DeBrusk and Sean Kuraly, meanwhile, remained out of action due to COVID protocols.
The Bruins will continue their homestand Thursday night against the Penguins.