Boston Bruins 3, New Jersey Devils 4: Final, OT
Newark, NJ --
The Devils Patrik Elias beat rookie relief-goalie Tuukka Rask
in overtime to put New Jersey over Boston, 4-3. With just over a minute to play in regulation, Boston's stalwart netminder, Tim Thomas
, had to leave a tied contest with an undisclosed "lower-body" injury that left Rask, who had spent almost 59-minutes on the bench, to fend off a bunch of fired-up Devils on a seven-game winning streak.
The Bruins had come into their game at the Devils brand spanking new home in Newark -- Prudential Center -- hoping to bring home another two points on their resume and a win against Atlantic Division powerhouse New Jersey. This was especially so because Boston head coach Claude Julien just happened to have been New Jersey's head coach last season.
During the first period the Bruins made inroads towards both goals as Boston captain Zdeno Chara
pinballed a puck through the New Jersey defense to open the scoring at 6:21 to put the B's up 1-0.
Meanwhile, the Thomas settled in quickly for the Bruins and made several tough saves to keep Boston in the lead.
Then, veteran sniper Glen Murray put a shot through NJ super stopper Martin Brodeur at 11:36 to make the score 2-0.
Shortly thereafter, new daddy and pugilistic winger, Jeremy Reich
, whose daughter Addisen was born on Tuesday, and New Jersey bouncer Arron Asham went a solid round. Reich held sway and landed several hard punches until Asham gained a slight upper hand at the very end of an entertaining bout at 13:16.
The fight seemed to give the Bruins even more momentum and defenseman Dennis Wideman notched another Boston goal, this time over the glove of Brodeur, to put the B's up 3-0 at 16:40 -- Marc Savard
got his 26th assist of the season (good for the league lead) on the play and extended his scoring streak to 11 games.
Thomas left the ice having saved all 11 shots he faced in the first.
A couple of minor penalties put the Bruins behind the 8-ball when New Jersey ended up with a 5-on-3 advantage in the first five minutes of the second stanza. But Boston killed both ends of the power play and actually ended up with several excellent offensive opportunities.
A bewildered Thomas looked to the heavens when he let in the first Devils goal -- although on a second viewing, the play was an outstanding effort from the goal scorer Elias and Brian Gionta, who earned his 100th NHL assist at 6:51.
Parise made it a real game at 15:51 when he beat Boston on the power play to make the score 3-2 with his 13th goal of the season.
However, the competitive Thomas returned the favor by twice stopping Parise from point blank range. He kept the score 3-2 Bruins as the second period came to a close.
"Can they hang on," was the question on every Bruins fan's mind as the teams squared off in the final period. But as the session reached it's halfway point, neither team had taken the lion's share of the momentum.
And it wasn't until New Jersey's Parise scored his second goal of the game to tie the game and ignite the crowd in The Rock at 14:03 that the Devils seemed ready to roll.
To make matters worse for Boston, with just 1:10 left in regulation, Rask replaced Thomas, who went down awkwardly after a quick move from left to right in the crease.
Rask, Boston's stellar rookie, who had nevertheless been on the bench for all three periods and both intermissions, was untested during his minute-plus and the game went to overtime tied 3-all.
In OT, the format changed to the 4-on-4 and Elias completed the comeback.
He beat Rask over his glove with his second goal of the game at 3:16 on the third Devil's shot during the extra period -- a heartbreaking ending to a game that had shown much promise for both Boston and Thomas.
Despite the loss, the point that Boston garnered by reaching overtime put them in sole possession of second place in the Northeast Division, one point ahead of their Thursday night opponent -- the Montreal Canadiens.
|Three star selections