Vatrano's early goal leads Bruins past banged-up Devils, 4-1
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) Rookie Frank Vatrano scored early, Jonas Gustavsson made 19 saves and the struggling Boston Bruins beat the banged-up New Jersey Devils 4-1 on Friday night for the 3,000th win in franchise history.
Ryan Spooner, Jimmy Hayes and Colin Miller also scored as the Bruins snapped a two-game losing streak and won for only the second time in seven games.
Bobby Farnham scored for the Devils, who have dropped three straight games in regulation for the first time since the start of the season. Cory Schneider finished with 27 saves.
The game was the start of a five-game road trip for the Bruins, and that might be the best place for them now. They are now 12-3-2 on the road and 9-11-2 at home.
Boston has won its last five against New Jersey and 17 of 20.
Vatrano jump-started this trip, scoring 2:02 into the game. Miller took a shot from the right point that Schneider stopped. The puck, however, lay in the crease and Vatrano collected it and scored his sixth goal, his first since a hat trick against Pittsburgh on Dec. 18.
Spooner stretched the lead to 2-0 almost five minutes into the second period. He wristed a shot from the blue line that Schneider seemingly did not see with Matt Beleskey screening him.
Farnham cut the margin to 2-1 at 11:57 of the second period with a shot from the right circle that Gustavsson simply missed. New Jersey's Jordin Tootoo nearly tied the game minutes later but his shot hit off the post shortly after a Bruins penalty ended.
Boston restored the two-goal lead late in the second period with their league-leading power play and Miller iced it early in the third.
Hayes got his ninth of the season with 1:25 left in the period with period, tipping a shot by Zdeno Chara.
Miller tallied his third at 6:33 of final period, beating Schneider with a slapshot.
With leading scorer Mike Cammalleri missing his fourth straight game with an upper body injury and defensemen John Moore and David Schlemko also out, the Devils called up three players from Albany on Friday. Forward Paul Thompson, 27, made his NHL debut and defensemen Jim O'Brien and Marc-Andre Gragnani played in the league for the first time since 2013.
Forward David Pastrnak played in his first game for the Bruins since sustaining a foot injury on Oct. 31.
NOTES: New Jersey starts a four-game road trip in Minnesota on Sunday. .... The Bruins are in Ottawa Saturday. ... Boston D Adam McQuaid (upper body) missed his first game this season. ... Boston forward Brad Marchand served the third and final game of a suspension for a hit in a game against Ottawa last week.