BOSTON -- Milan Lucic scored his first goal in 10 games in the first period and added an empty-net goal in the third to help the Boston Bruins to a 3-0 victory against the New Jersey Devils at TD Garden on Thursday.
The Bruins outshot the Devils 43-14 and won their second straight game. Boston defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 in overtime Wednesday on a goal by Patrice Bergeron. Lucic had two assists against Pittsburgh, including one on the winning goal, and scored his seventh and eighth goals of the season Thursday.
"You know, I think when he plays like that he’s definitely creating a lot of chances for himself and also his teammates," Bergeron said of Lucic. "Definitely what we need from him, and he's definitely stepped up his game the last two games for sure."
Bruins goaltender Niklas Svedberg made 14 saves in his second shutout of the season.
With Lucic skating on Bergeron’s line, Julien has had to find forwards to play with center David Krejci. Against the Devils, Julien went with Brad Marchand and rookie David Pastrnak, who was recalled from Providence of the American Hockey League on Tuesday and played his first NHL game since Dec. 4.
"Well, you know, I think when you look at how they’ve played -- and I liked them [Wednesday] night, that’s why I went with them again tonight -- I’m not going to change anything until I feel the need to change things," Julien said. "But Danny is skating as good as I’ve seen him skate so far this year. He seemed energized and [Lucic] is finding his game again. So, that line’s been good for us, and the other lines, too, are good. You know [Krejci] is playing with different players, [we’re] trying to find him some players that have chemistry with him, and [Marchand] has had some. Again Pastrnak, his skating tonight put their [defensemen] on their heels.
"So, you know, again I thought four lines, six [defensemen] did a great job for us tonight in winning this hockey game."
The Bruins (21-15-6) ended the Devils' two-game winning streak. Goaltender Cory Schneider made 40 saves. The 43 shots allowed were a season-high for New Jersey.
"Well yeah, it’s always frustrating when you don’t get the result," Schneider said. "It doesn’t matter how you play it or how you felt, at the end of the day you lose. We win as a team, we lose as a team. So we were there again. We were there despite whatever happened the first two periods. You never know, one goes in in the third, you just had to get that first one and it could have changed the complexion of the game a bit. They played really well and we didn’t play very well. The result sort of speaks for itself."
The Bruins dominated the shot battle in the first period, 18-3. Boston took a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal by Lucic at 18:50 while defenseman Zdeno Chara was screening Schneider.
The Devils (15-21-7) went 13:09 between shots on goal in the second period and were outshot 11-4. Soderberg scored an unassisted goal at 8:31 after stealing Mark Fraser’s pass up the right wall and shot from the right hash mark past Schneider to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead.
"I think we played a really good offensive game, good forechecks and we hung on to pucks, that was pretty much it," Soderberg said.
Boston held a 29-7 shots advantage after two periods.
"Yeah, I mean you’ve got to try to stay focused all the time," said Svedberg, who made his first start since he was pulled from a loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Dec. 27. "Obviously it’s a lot tougher when you don’t see that many shots. But I felt all right throughout the game. It’s all good."
The Bruins have won two straight games after losing three in a row, each in overtime or a shootout.
"We’re trying to build from the momentum that we created from [Wednesday] night by getting the extra point. I thought right away that we had a strong game; we limited their chances and their shots on net," Bergeron said. "I thought we had a lot of good looks and good chances, a lot of traffic. Lots of layers on the backcheck, push back and stuff like that, so it was a good effort."
Bruins forward Loui Eriksson did not play because of a hand injury. Julien said he didn’t think it would keep Eriksson out long-term.