This one hurts! After scoring near the end of the first, the Devils managed to hold off a struggling Bruins hockey club all the way up until the ever so fatal third period, where Boston came out of the woodworks and punched in three un-answered goals and an empty netter to stun New Jersey and walk away with two points with the help of a couple of missed calls and a bad call (in the eyes of Devils fans) on David Clarkson which, in turn, led to a Bruins powerplay goal allowing them to pull within 1 point of Conference leader New York Rangers.
Two total penalties in the game and a fight between Brad Mills and Gregory Campbell were all that were accounted for in regards to minors and majors. In the third period, it was the one penalty called on Devils winger David Clarkson at the 5:37 mark of the third is what wound up being the finisher ultimately in this evening's contest. Clarkson was called for hooking in the neutral zone.
With 90 ticks left on the clock in the first period, Petr Sykora lit the lamp above Bruins goalie Tim Thomas with his twelth goal of the season which was set up by current linemates Zubrus and Elias getting the secondary assist. Aside from Sykora's goal, dominant play by Jersey's 3rd and 4th lines were key in tonights game, despite the loss. Highlight player of the bottom two lines was by far Cam Janssen. Cam absolutly LEVELED Andrew Ference in the corner in the Boston zone. Janssen recorded 2 shots on net with 7:25 minutes worth of ice time and concluded the evening -1.
In a scoreless, and penalty-free second period, New Jersey continued to hold off Boston with all around fair and solid play. With a handful of opportunities for BOTH teams and a couple of shots ringing off of iron on both nets, the teams each recieved their fair share of luck for the evening. New Jersey out shot Boston 12-6.
The third period was all but sealed up. Boston applied pressure though early on in the period, scoring and tying the game one goal a piece 181 seconds in as a shot fired by Andrew Ference for his 3rd tally of the season. Ference's goal was assisted by Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell. Before the 10 minute mark, Boston would strike for two more goals to ultimatly put the game out of reach for the utterly silent New Jersey team who hadnt struck for a point of their own since the 1st period. A powerplay goal (yes, a powerplay goal scored on the Devils, the number one PK unit in the NHL) scored by the offensive powerhouse Nathan Horton assisted by David Krejci seven minutes and ten seconds in the third... 35 seconds later, Gregory Campbell gets his 5th of the year, and second point of the night (first on an assist on the Ference goal). Campbell now has 4 points in 3 games played against New Jersey this season. Shawn Thornton set up yet another goal this evening finishing the game with no goals, 2 assists, 2 points, +2 rating, and had 1 shot on net in ten and a half minutes of ice time.
The Devils seemed out of it. Tired, deflated, and out played through this point, despite the hot start out of the gate for the first 45 minutes of play. As we've learned before, to win the game, you need to dominate for the whole 60 minutes, as Winnipeg learned on Saturday night (read more here). New Jersey coach Pete DeBoer pulled Brodeur for the extra attacker with just under two minutes left in the third period as it left the Devils defenders scrambled. A block shot out in front helped keep the score 3-1, allowing New Jersey to set up a play down ice, which, inevitably, resulted in a Devils turnover which allowed Bruin Chris Kelly to get his 14th of the year on the empty net to make the game a three goal defecit. The score would remain the same. The Devils were dropped, late in the third, once again by the Bruins, at home, in the month of January.
The Player of the Game this evening comes from the opposition, tonight, Bruins goalie Tim Thomas is awarded as the Player of the Game this evening shutting 30 of 31 shots faced in 60 minutes of play this evening with a save percentage of .968% improving his overall season save percentage to .936, ranking 3rd in the league amongst goaltenders. Thomas' victory tonight was his 19th of the year and 180th of his career (459 behind Martin Brodeur, who was credited with the loss). Thomas' record improved to 19-9-0.
Saturday afternoon the Devils will play host to Atlantic Division rival Philadelphia in their third game at home and third against Philly this year. New Jersey is 1-1-0 in two matchups versus the Flyers being outscored 6-4 in those two meetings. The game will take place at 1:00p.m. Saturday, January 21st at Prudential Center. This will be the second to last game played before the NHL All-Star break in which Devils rookie defenseman Adam Larsson and Devils rookie forward Adam Henrique will participate in representing Jersey's Team.