The Bruins were less than two minutes away from their fifth straight win and third victory in the last four nights but tired legs and uncharacteristic mistakes by trusted players like Zdeno Chara (twice) and Patrice Bergeron eventually caught up with them. The Devils rallied from an early 3-1 deficit, scoring a pair of power play goals 23 seconds apart late in the third period for a 4-3 win at TD Garden Saturday.
Boston (7-3-0) allowed four power play goals to New Jersey (2-5-4), something that you never see from a Claude Julien coached team.
“In the second period, we allowed them back in the game," Julien said. "Our penalty kill faltered, it wasn’t good enough. Too many mediocre players tonight."
The B’s were off Friday, which seemed to inject them with life in the first period. Torey Krug scored a power play goal 7:52 into the game and they were off. Jarome Iginla added his second goal in as many games 1:27 later but Adam Henrique answered with a power play goal for the Devils (foreshadowing!). Future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur (25 saves) looked helpless to stop Milan Lucic’s shot after an exquisite breakout by linemates David Krejci and Iginla.
Tuukka Rask (28 saves) allowed a rare soft goal, a one-timed backhander by Damien Brunner with 28 seconds left in the second period. That deflated Boston and Rask who picked up the puck and flung it after it went over the line then hit his stick against the ice in frustration. No one will ever compare this edition of the Devils to last year’s Blackhawks, but their flurry of goals at the end evoked some painful memories from Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final vs. Chicago in June.
Boston gets a couple days to regroup before a very difficult back-to-back: at Pittsburgh (7-3-0) on Wednesday (8, NBCSN) then hosting Anaheim (8-3-0) on Halloween (7, NESN).
What they'll be saying: I bet that Pittsburgh native Matt Bartkowski gets in the lineup on Wednesday, not as a favor by Julien (he doesn’t do garbage like that) but because the young defenseman has now sat out the last four games. One could argue that it would have made sense to put him in tonight since surely some of his teammates were a little banged up or tired but Julien stayed with his same lineup from Thursday vs. San Jose. Chara will never sit but with a full season, it is something that Julien should consider from time to time to save the captain’s energy for the playoffs. He had two penalties tonight which never happens but he still led the Bruins in ice time (23:47). With Iginla scoring goals now, it’s time to start talking about his line as one of the NHL’s best. They didn’t get much help from their teammates tonight but they combined for six points (2 goals, 4 assists). Along with his two assists, Krejci won nine of 11 faceoffs for a complete performance. I’m not calling him out since it’s not his game, but Gregory Campbell is the only Bruins regular without a point in the team’s first 10 games. Saturday night was a rough one for him too since he went 3 for 8 on faceoffs.
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter: @RichSlate