Bruins top Devils behind Khudobin, McAvoy
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) By his own admission, Charlie McAvoy does not have a bag of tricks that he can use in the shootout.
And the Boston Bruins may hope it stays that way.
”I can’t say I was expecting that,” Patrice Bergeron said of McAvoy’s backhand goal scored in the 11th round of the shootout to lift the Boston Bruins to a 3-2 win over the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night.
The goal was McAvoy’s first ever in the shootout at the NHL level. Prior to this game, the Bruins had only been in one shootout this season.
”He’s so skilled and it’s hard on goalies, especially when they don’t know the tendencies of the player they’re facing,” Bergeron said. ”It was a great move and I was relieved that it was over with.”
That the game reached the shootout was due in large part to Anton Khudobin, who made 40 saves as Boston improved to 9-7-4 with its third straight win-all with Khudobin in goal.
”Hard work pays off,” Khudobin said. ”When guys are playing like this, blocking shots … there will always be positive results.”
Jake DeBrusk and Patrice Bergeron scored first period goals for the Bruins.
The Bruins weren’t the only team who left feeling good about their performance. Even though New Jersey has dropped three of its last five in falling to 12-5-4, collectively the Devils felt they deserved a better outcome.
”I thought we deserved a better outcome,” New Jersey coach John Hynes said.
Jesper Bratt and Brian Gibbons scored for the Devils, and Cory Schneider made 27 saves.
The shootout opened with Hall and David Pastrnak trading goals. And it stayed that way until McAvoy’s game-winner.
”(Schneider) was challenging,” McAvoy said. ”I thought maybe if he was out far I could try and pull it by him.”
Prior to the extra period, the first of three regular season meetings between the longtime Eastern Conference rivals was essentially a special teams affair.
Despite not scoring on their four power plays and surrendering a man advantage goal to the Devils, it was the Bruins who left with two points thanks to two first period even strength strikes and the play of their ostensible backup goaltender.
The Bruins struck first when rookie left winger DeBrusk opened the scoring with his fifth of the season with a shot from the right circle at 1:25. And Bergeron added to Boston’s lead with his fifth of the season at 11:02.
”Give Boston credit,” Hynes said. ”They came out hard. Unfortunately for us we made a couple mistakes early and they (scored) on (them).”
The Bruins had a two-goal lead and Khudobin, who made his third straight start, tried to make it hold up with a pad save on a Nico Hischier break-in with and a diving stop on Travis Zajac in a span of 1:13. But there was nothing he could do on Bratt’s power play goal with 2:50 left as New Jersey’s rookie right winger lifted a loose puck in the slot to halve the deficit while Brian Boyle was tied up with Zdeno Chara in front of Khudobin. A video review upheld the goal.
The game remained 2-1 until the Devils equalized on Gibbons’ top-of-the-crease deflection with 4:44 left in regulation. Up to that point, though, Khudobin was the story as the netminder stopped a Blake Coleman shorthanded attempt with 10:35 left in the second. Khudobin also benefitted from Hischier, the first overall pick in last June’s NHL draft, losing control of the puck alongside the goal line late in the period. Midway through the third, Khudobin stoned Hischier from the top of the crease.
”He’s been playing great hockey,” McAvoy said of Khudobin. ”He gave us a chance tonight when they were putting the pressure on.”
The Devils outshot the Bruins, 42-29.
NOTES: Prior to the game, New Jersey announced RW Kyle Palmieri would miss 4-6 weeks with a broken right foot, suffered in the Devils’ 4-3 overtime win in Minnesota Monday. The team later announced Palmieri had been placed on the injured reserve retroactive to Monday. .New Jersey scratched D Dalton Prout and RW Stefan Noesen. .Bruins C Ryan Spooner dressed for the first time since suffering a torn right adductor on Oct. 15. .Boston scratched LW Matt Beleskey, D Torey Krug and D Paul Postma. …The Bruins did not have LW Anders Bjork (undisclosed), LW Brad Marchand (upper body injury), RW David Backes (colon surgery) and D Adam McQuaid (broken right fibula). … Boston announced RW Jordan Szwarz had been sent down to AHL Providence. …The Devils announced Friday’s home game against Vancouver will coincide with the team hosting the NHL and NHLPA ”joint initiative Hockey Fights Cancer” as part of the ”annual Cancer Awareness Month.”
Bruins: Host Pittsburgh Friday afternoon.
Devils: Host Vancouver Friday night.
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