Brad Marchand scored twice, Jeremy Swayman made 27 saves, and Boston beat New Jersey 5-2, ending the Devils' three-game winning streak. “There’s been a few games this year where we had the lead or we were tired and we kind of let it slip away from us,” Marchand said. “So it was great tonight that we’re able to keep our composure and put a good third period together and separate that lead a little bit.”
Erik Haula, Patrice Bergeron and Jake DeBrusk also scored as the Bruins ended a three-game losing streak on the road. Defenseman Charlie McAvoy added three assists in helping Swayman win his third straight game.
“Typically, there is weathering the storm, especially on the road, because they’re gonna have their push and they did,” said coach Bruce Cassidy, who has five players in their first season with the Bruins. “So I think it all happened in the third. Then you get the empty net and that’s how you end up with three goals and you extend the lead. So if you can script it as a coach, that’s how you want to do it.”
Rookie Dawson Mercer and Jesper Bratt each had a goal and an assist for New Jersey. Linemate Andreas Johnsson added two assists. “We’ve won a couple of games by just getting pucks to the net, getting 40, 40-plus shots,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said. “We saw tonight we made two really nice plays on the goals, but we didn’t get a lot of second opportunities because even when we came in to the dot line we didn’t shoot a lots of pucks.”
Boston never trailed after Haula scored his first goal of the season at 17:37 of the first period. Marchand extended the advantage to 2-0 early in the second period with a power-play goal. Mercer cut the lead to a goal just 28 seconds later, capping a quick counterattack. It was his fifth goal of the season.
Marchand restored the two-goal margin a little more than two minutes later, putting a rebound past Jonathan Bernier, who made 31 saves. Bratt narrowed the lead to 3-2 with 36 seconds left in the second period off a nice feed from Mercer, but Bergeron made it 4-2 midway through the third period, tapping the rebound of a David Pastrnak over the line. DeBrusk scored into an empty net.
Ruff smiled when asked if he ever gets sick of seeing the Bruins' top line of Marchand, Pastrnak and Bergeron. “They are the typical guys you wish you had on your team so you don’t get sick of them,” Ruff said. “We know that to win a game, you’ve got to do your part to make sure you limit them.”
NOTES: The two-goal performance was Marchand's 50th multi-goal game with Boston, tying him for fifth in Bruins' history with linemate Patrice Bergeron. ... McAvoy has had at least two assists in three of the last five games. ... Boston is now 2-4 on the road. ... Devils F Tyce Thompson did not play because he was hurt in the win over the Islanders on Thursday.
UP NEXT Bruins: Return home Sunday to host the Canadiens. Devils: Cross the Hudson River to face the Rangers in New York on Sunday.
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