Bruins hope to avoid rare occurence vs. Devils (Feb 10, 2018)
NEWARK, N.J. -- One regulation loss is a rare sight for the Boston Bruins these days. Consecutive regulation setbacks would be more of a rarity for the NHL's hottest team.
The Bruins are hoping to avoid a consecutive regulation loss Sunday when they visit the New Jersey Devils in the second night of a back-to-back set for both teams.
The Bruins are coming off a 4-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday when Ryan Spooner and David Backes scored in an otherwise disappointing showing on home ice three days after a 6-1 road victory over the New York Rangers.
"We didn't want to forecheck tonight," Boston coach Bruce Cassidy told reporters. "We just wanted to beat guys 1-on-1. I don't think we stressed their D too much tonight. We just didn't execute."
"It seemed like we were backfiring on everything we were throwing into the engine tonight," Backes said.
Boston last suffered consecutive regulation losses Nov. 11-15 when it was on a four-game losing streak (0-3-1) as part of a 6-7-4 start and the Bruins look to avoid a second straight defeat Sunday night when it visits the New Jersey Devils.
Since their last set of back-to-back regulation losses, the Bruins (33-12-8) are 27-5-4. The last time the Bruins sustained consecutive losses occurred Dec. 14 with a 5-3 loss to Washington and a 3-2 overtime setback to the New York Rangers two nights later.
Since those games, Boston is 18-2-3. And during this run, the Bruins have responded well following losses.
While gaining 38 points since Dec. 16, the Bruins have followed losses by scoring at least three goals. The last instance was a 3-1 win over St. Louis on Feb. 1 that triggered a four-game winning streak.
While Boston would like to avoid consecutive losses, it also is hoping to notch a point in a 13th straight road game. Boston has won its last six road games and is 10-0-2 since a 5-3 loss at Nashville on Dec. 4.
It is their longest road points streak since going 13-0-3 from Jan. 11-March 30, 2014.
While Boston is the hottest team in the league, New Jersey is among the coldest. The Devils (27-19-8) are on a three-game losing streak following Saturday's 6-1 loss at Columbus.
"It was our own doing," Devils defenseman Andy Greene told reporters. "We gave up too many odd-man chances."
The Devils also are 3-7-0 in their last 10 games and are 5-10-3 in their last 18 since a five-game winning streak from Dec. 15-27. The Devils are 3-4-1 in their last eight home games in that stretch.
New Jersey is coming off its most lopsided loss of the season after allowing a season-high 51 shots on goal Saturday. The Devils gave up three goals in a span of 3:11 during the second period and allowed six goals for the second time this season.
"We have a huge game (Sunday) against Boston and it's not going to get any easier going forward," Greene said.
The Devils also had 35 shots on goal but only Will Butcher scored. Taylor Hall took three shots but saw his 12-game point streak snapped.
Keith Kinkaid took the loss in making his seventh straight start. He made 45 saves Saturday, but Eddie Lack could start Sunday.
If Lack starts Sunday, it would be his sixth appearance and third start of the season. He last started for Vancouver in an 8-2 loss at Detroit on Nov. 15 when he allowed five goals on 10 shots in 24:27.
The Bruins are 9-2 in the last 11 meetings after opening the season series with a pair of 3-2 victories. Charlie McAvoy scored the game-winning goal in the 11th round of the shootout in New Jersey on Nov. 22 and Brad Marchand scored the tiebreaking goal late in the second period on Jan. 23 in Boston.