Marchand’s goal keeps Bruins rolling with 1-0 win vs. Devils
BOSTON (AP) — Tuukka Rask had a perfect spot to watch most of the action.
Fortunately for the Boston Bruins, the few times he had to go to work, he was ready.
Brad Marchand scored a power-play goal early in the opening period and Rask made it stand up with 20 saves in a relatively easy night for his third shutout of the season, lifting the surging Bruins to a 1-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night.
“I think it comes with the experience,” Rask said of his light night. “You just kind of hang out, watch the game, take it like a practice. You start thinking too much and you kind of (hurt) yourself. You let your experience come in.”
The victory improved the Bruins’ streak of at least one point in every game to 16 straight (12-0-4) and they haven’t lost in regulation since a 3-2 setback to the New York Rangers on Jan. 19. It’s their longest since 18 games (14-0-4) last season.
Rask is 14-0-3 in his last 17 starts.
“Goalies are human, too,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “They have a tendency to let their foot off, so to speak, and take a mental breather. . He’s really in a zone right now. It looked like one of his easier shutouts, but these games are sometimes harder because you don’t get a lot of action and you’ve got to stay focused.”
Mackenzie Blackwood stopped 29 shots for the Devils, including Marchand’s penalty shot. New Jersey has lost five of seven.
“You realize it’s 1-nothing, but it’s not like I feel a ton of pressure to not let another one in,” he said. “It’s more so I want to keep feeling good about my game to give the guys a chance.”
It was the first time the Devils have been shut out since a 3-0 loss to Columbus on Dec. 23.
“We made a good first pass,” New Jersey defenseman Andy Greene said. “It was maybe that second and third play coming out of our zone.”
With Kenny Agostino in the penalty box for interfering with Rask, Marchand beat Blackwood with a wrister from the bottom of the right circle just 14 seconds into the power play after collecting a pass from Bergeron at 2:37. It was Bergeron’s 793rd career point, moving him into a sixth-place tie with Wayne Cashman on Boston’s all-time scoring list.
Marchand had his penalty shot after getting hooked by defenseman Damon Severson almost five minutes after his goal, but Blackwood made a right-pad stop.
Rask made a nice left-pad stop on winger Jesper Bratt, who cut in alone midway into the final period, bringing a loud roar from the crowd looking for some offense by the Bruins.
In the second period, the Bruins outshot the Devils 10-4, getting a couple of good chances in the final minute that Blackwood turned aside.
CAN’T MAKE THIS UP
Marchand played his 666th career game and entered the contest with 666 career penalty minutes against, yep, the Devils.
TO THE RESCUE
Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk, manning the front, with defenseman Charlie McAvoy carrying the rear, came jogging down a hallway holding a ladder to get a soccer ball down that was caught in some pipes in the ceiling about an hour before the game.
Typically, a group of players kick the ball to each other in a circle wearing shorts and T-shirts before they get into their uniforms for warmups.
NOTES: With so many forwards sidelined, the Devils moved defenseman Egor Yakolev up to play left wing on the fourth line. … Bruins winger Sean Kuraly is in concussion protocol. … New Jersey was without six forwards – Kyle Palmieri, Pavel Zacha, Nathan Bastian, Miles Wood, John Quenneville and Kurtis Gabriel, who was suspended for an illegal hit on Philadelphia’s Nolan Patrick on Friday. … Boston C Charlie Coyle turned 27 on Saturday.
Devils: Host Columbus on Tuesday.
Bruins: Host Carolina on Tuesday with the Hurricanes wearing their old Hartford Whalers jerseys, where the franchise was located before moving to North Carolina.