Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports

Bruins 3, Devils 2: Even an off night is enough to make it 17 in a row for Bruins

Ty Anderson
January 23, 2018 - 11:20 pm

It took the Bruins, who allowed 20 shots in the first period, well over 25 minutes to get settled into their Tuesday head-to-head with the should-have-been-tired Devils.

And even when Riley Nash found a way to score a seemingly improbable goal against the Devils’ Cory Schneider, New Jersey’s Damon Severson stormed down and re-established their one-goal edge on a two-on-one chance just two minutes later.

Not to be defeated just 30 minutes into their return to TD Garden, however, it was a full, two-minute five-on-three that put the puck back on the sticks of the Bruins’ best players, and Patrice Bergeron that rocketed the second game-tying tally home.

Naturally, when that happened, an apparent clock malfunction brought about a 13-minute delay that could have taken the wind -- which was finally benefitting the Bruins after their most sluggish start over the last month-plus -- out of the B’s sails.

“A little bit,” Bruins winger Brad Marchand said when asked if he was worried that the delay could have slowed down their charge. “We had the momentum, we had a big goal and it was still 5-on-3, so it definitely kind of took the wind out of our sails, but I mean, we still had an opportunity to capitalize and we didn’t. But, things like that happen.”

But Marchand took it upon himself to make sure it did not linger more than it needed to.

Though their power play had long expired, Marchand successfully turned a two-on-one into a one-on-one before he deked Schneider out of his pants for the B’s third goal. The goal, scored with just 33 seconds left in the second period, put the Bruins back into a lead-protecting situation, which is something they’ve beyond excelled at this season, with a now 22-0-2 mark on the second when holding an edge through 40 minutes.

It was also a simple reminder that when you’re rolling like this Bruins team -- now riding a 17-game point streak (their longest since 1983) following a 3-2 final -- has for well over a month now, everything has a way of bouncing your way by the end of the night.

“It’s all mindset,” Nash said after the victory. “You can dwell on a lot of things that go wrong or you can just put it behind you and keep going. I think that’s what we’ve done a really good job of. We get a break against us, we put it behind us and get back to work. You get a break for, and you use it to your advantage.

“Even in the 5-on-3, there’s lot of math going on that [the referees and timekeepers] had to break down and simplify, but at the end of the day, we get a five-on-three goal that helps is and then a goal in the last minute, which is a tough one to go back in the locker room and regroup from [if you’re the opposition].”

Say what you will about the B’s preventing the Devils from finding Grade-A looks in their 20-shot barrage in the first period, but 20 shots is 20 shots. And it could’ve been a lot worse had it not been for timely saves from Tuukka Rask, who made some more timely saves in the third period, including a breakaway stop (and second-chance rebound save) on Severson in what finished as a 37-save night. And it was obvious that the Bruins, going against a New Jersey team without its best offensive threat (Taylor Hall), struggled to find the ideal matchups for the Zdeno Chara-Brandon Carlo pairing, which was at times run into circles by some of the Devils’ quicker skaters.

Again, though, these are things you can overcome when you’re playing with the confidence that this Black and Gold squad has instilled into every follow-up shift.

“I don’t think we executed as well as we needed to early on to sort of suppress [New Jersey’s forechecking game]. Eventually we found it,” Bruce Cassidy said. “Part of that was in our D not getting back there quick enough; part of it is the forwards not getting some bumps so their D can’t get back there, and winning the wall battles. I think when we started winning the wall battles, more pucks, we got a little cleaner.”

“We believe every single night, we have a chance to win games,” said Torey Krug. “We know that it’s not going to be perfect. Every night you’re not going to win games.

“Right now the way that we are playing and the confidence in our system and our players are all playing confident as well. We have a chance to win every single game, so we are going to continue to look at it like that.”

The Bruins will look to make it 18 straight games with a point Thursday night in Ottawa.

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