BOSTON — It wasn’t hard to measure Jaromir Jagr’s impact in his first game as a Bruin as he scored the lone goal Thursday in Boston’s 1-0 win over New Jersey at TD Garden. The tally won’t be used in the highlight video when he’s inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame since it went off his skate (it was reviewed but stood), but the ugly goals count just the same. His first goal for Boston also gave him the team lead as he has 15 in 2013,between Dallas and Boston.
Jagr claimed to have had a hard time sleeping Wednesday night but he had enough energy to go to the net to be in position for Brad Marchand’s centering pass that ended up bouncing in off his skate past Martin Brodeur (25 saves for the fellow draft class of 1990 alum). It was Marchand’s 16th assist and Zdeno Chara had his 10th assist on the play as well. He skated on the second line with Marchand and Tyler Seguin, who moved to center. Tuukka Rask made 40 saves for his third shutout of the season and 14th of his career.
Boston (24-8-4) won its third game in a row as it tries to keep pace with Northeast Division leaders Montreal (24-8-5), who beat Winnipeg 4-1 earlier tonight to stay one point ahead of the B’s (although Boston has one game in hand). Kaspars Daugavins also made his Bruins debut, skating on the third line with Jay Pandolfo and Rich Peverley. The Devils (15-13-9) are winless in their last five games (0-3-2) and if the playoffs started this moment, they’d be left out (ninth place, tied with Rangers).
For the second straight game, the Bruins allowed 40-plus shots on goal. That probably wasn’t a bad strategy either since he had sat on the bench the last two games and last appeared on Saturday in Boston’s 3-1 loss at Philadelphia. The B’s get one more shot at the Canadiens, in the regular season at least, on Saturday night (7 p.m., NESN) at the Bell Centre. Montreal has won the last two meetings to take a 2-1 series lead but Boston did win 2-1 up there on Feb. 6, which feels like a year ago.
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter @RichSlate