Ryan Spooner notched the game-winning goal with less than 12 minutes remaining in regulation to give the Bruins two more important points in a 3-2 win over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night at TD Garden.
Defensemen Torey Krug and Brandon Carlo also scored for the B’s, who more than doubled the shot output of the Devils (40-17), but still had their hands full with both their opponents and the officiating crew.
Anton Khudobin made just 15 saves for the victory, which is his third straight win after a rough 1-5-1 start to his second stint with the Bruins.
After a scoreless first period, the Bruins’ power play struck yet again with seven minutes gone in the second period, with Krug picking up his sixth goal of the season. All five players on the power play unit touched the puck, with Patrice Bergeron’s one timer saved by Devils’ goalie Cory Schneider. David Pastrnak got his stick on the rebound and poked it to open space to Krug, who teed up a slap shot that rattled the pipes behind the net to give Boston a 1-0 lead.
The B’s newest acquisition, Drew Stafford, looked like he had given Boston a 2-0 lead just over two minutes later on another power play. Stafford crashed the net and stuffed the puck past Schneider, but after the Devils challenged the goal it was overruled due to goalie interference. The call was very questionable, as there did not seem to be inconclusive evidence to overturn the on-ice call of a good goal. The overturned goal was the fifth this season for Boston, which is tied for the league lead.
Safe to say that Drew Stafford is officially part of the team after having a goal wiped away by a coach's challenge.— Ty Anderson (@_TyAnderson) March 5, 2017
Just 1:23 after Stafford’s disallowed goal, the Devils tied the game as the B’s power play was expiring, with Devante Smith-Pelly breaking free past the Bruins’ defense for a breakaway goal.
The Bruins regained the lead with 1:35 left in the second period, as the B’s were the beneficiaries of a couple deflections for their second goal of the night. Bergeron brought the puck into the New Jersey zone, but his centering pass was deflected by Adam Henrique before squirting into open space. Carlo jumped into the play and corralled the loose puck, then worked closer to the net before taking a backhand shot towards the net. The shot was redirected by the stick of Nick Lappin and found its way past Schneider for Carlo’s sixth goal of the year. David Backes picked up the other assist on the play.
New Jersey tied the game up at 2-2 with 5:51 elapsed in the final period, with Taylor Hall sliding a slick pass between the legs of Zdeno Chara to teammate Kyle Palmieri on a 2-on-1 break. The odd-man rush started when Carlo’s shot attempt was blocked by Hall. The puck bounced off Hall’s leg, then off the boards, before finding Hall’s stick on the break.
The new third line of Frank Vatrano, Spooner, and Stafford came through with the winning goal at 8:18 of the third to clinch the win for Boston. Vatrano outworked two Devils’ defenders behind the New Jersey net, then found Stafford near the front of the net. Stafford threaded a pass to Spooner, who was waiting at the corner of the net. Schneider had vacated that side of his net, and Spooner had plenty of space to knock in his 11th goal of the season to give the B’s their eighth win in their last 10 games (all under coach Bruce Cassidy).
Stafford was named First Star of the night after leading the Bruins with seven shots on goal and picking up that timely assist on Spooner’s goal. Stafford had more shots in his first game with the B’s than Jimmy Hayes did in his last eight games combined (five shots).
Next up for the Bruins is a pivotal road matchup with the Ottawa Senators on Monday night. Ottawa is currently two points ahead of the B’s for second place in the Atlantic Division, but the Sens (35-22-6) have two games in hand over Boston (34-25-6). Puck drop is at 7:30pm.
If you want MORE coverage of your team, check out Bruins Beat Podcast here on CLNS Radio! The latest episode is below and check us out on ITUNES as well!