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Bruins Pop Their Corks Too Early, Blow 2-0 Lead And Lose 3-2 In Shootout



The Boston Bruins ended 2019 with a thud as they blew a 2-0 lead and remained winless in the shootout (0-6) losing 3-2 to the New Jersey Devils. Devils defenseman Damon Severson sealed the comeback win for New Jersey as he beat Bruins goalie Jaro Halak – who finished with 42 saves  – in the sixth round of the shootout. 

That capped what was an absolutely dominant performance by the Devils who outshot the Bruins 31-14 in the final two periods, including a 9-0 edge for the first 11:20 of the third period and by a 28-5 margin from the halfway point through the end of overtime. They outshot the Bruins 44-30 through regulation and overtime.

Brad Marchand and Joakim Nordstrom scored for the Bruins prior to the shootout, while Blake Coleman and Jesper Fast lit the lamp for the Devils. In the shootout, Severson and Devils rookie forward Jack Hughes beat Halak in the shootout and Bruins forward Chris Wagner was the only Bruin to beat Devils goalie Mackenzie Blackwood, who stopped five of six Bruins shooters, including the game-tying bid by Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron after the Severson tally. Blackwood made 28 saves in regulation and overtime.

Unlike the old Marchand, who is probably the reason for all the Marchand hate around the NHL, the new Marchand does the majority of his talking with his stick these days. That stick was yapping again today as the Bruins star winger took full advantage of an undisciplined P.K. Subban interference call 1:03 into regulation. Marchand came streaking at the net and buried the rebound of a David Pastrnak blast into the empty net behind Blackwood. Pastrnak and defenseman Matt Grzelcyk got the helpers on the powerplay tally 2:03 into the game. 

After the Bruins killed off a Brad Marchand tripping call nine ticks into the middle frame, the Bruins started to pick up where they left off in the first period, pressuring Blackwood and constantly driving to the net and dirty areas. That hard work paid off as the reunited fourth line of Nordstrom, Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner connected to put the Bruins up 2-0 4:27 into the second period. Nordstrom was waiting right at the top of the crease to scoop up the feed from Kuraly who had pulled Blackwood to his glove side low, leaving space between him and the near post so he could get the puck in front for a greasy goal by a line that prides themselves on greasy goals. 

That goal appeared to wake up the Devils and at 8:58 Coleman cut the Bruins’ lead in half with his 12th goal of the season. Coleman cut in and down the slot in front and took a seed from Nikita Gusev to bury the one-timer past Blackwood. Sami Vatanen had the secondary assist.

After Coleman’s goal, the Bruins got sloppy in their own end and allowed the game to become a track meet. Their depleted and tired blue line, missing Charlie McAvoy, Torey Krug and Connor Clifton, just couldn’t keep up and the Devils pounced. The Devils ended up out-shotting the Bruins 12- 9 in the second. That run and gun hockey carried over into the third period and the Devils had the Bruins on their heels for the first half of the period outshooting them 9-0 through the first 11:20 of the final frame. The bulk of those shots came via two Devils powerplays and thankfully Halak and the penalty kill were able to help the Bruins keep their one-goal lead. 

Unfortunately, Halak couldn’t do everything and the ‘Energy Line’ who seemed to be the only line not already popping champagne to ring in 2020. The Bruins continued to skate in mental quicksand and with 6:49 left in regulation, Subban got redemption for his lazy penalty that led to the early 1-0 Bruins lead and ripped a shot in on net that Jesper Bratt was able to tip by Halak and tie the game at two apiece. Nico Hischier had the other helper. 

Grzlcyk would hit the post with 2:41 left in overtime but the two teams ended up scoreless and headed to the dreaded shootout.

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