The Boston Bruins fell to the New Jersey Devils 5-1 on Saturday night in the TD Banknorth Garden.
"They don't make mistakes," said defenseman Andrew Alberts of the Devils. "That's the way New Jersey has always played.
"Once they get the lead, they shut it down. And they're tough to get goals against."
Per that design, New Jersey broke out to a 2-0 lead quickly in the first period when former Boston University captain Jay Pandolfo took a nifty pass from Sergei Brylin and fluttered a puck by Bruins starting goalie Tim Thomas
Then, the Devils Jamie Langenbrunner beat a virtually helpless Thomas at 18:14 when a defensive breakdown left the forward in front of the goal, unobstructed.
Thomas finished the period with 12 saves and seemed to be the difference between the Bruins and a blowout in the first.
But Hannu Toivonen manned the Boston net at the start of the second period for what turned out to be the wake up call that the Bruins needed to get back into the game in the middle session.
"I was disappointed, of course," said Tim Thomas
of the decision to pull him. "I also did understand.
"It [may have] looked as if the bounces were not going to go my way…[or Coach Lewis] might have been trying to change things up and light a fire under the team."
On cue, the fired up Boston squad did get on the board quickly in the stanza when, as the extra attacker on a delayed penalty, Savard scored his seventh of the season at the 3:00 mark.
However, the story of the second period was destined to be the superb play of Toivonen, who was strong off the bench. The young goalie made an acrobatic split stop to stymie Patrik Elias with 51 seconds to go before the second break.
Prophetically, however, Brodeur, a Hall of Famer in waiting, needed to make only 13 stops through two sessions for the Devils.
In the third period the momentum swung solidly to the New Jersey vicinity of the rink.
The Devils Erik Rasmussen took a feed from former Boston College captain Brian Gionta and put New Jersey up 3-1 at 10:10. Then, Elias put the Devils up by three goals when he beat Toivonen over the glove, unassisted, at 14:01.
Brylin finally knocked the wind out of the Bruins when he beat a sprawling Toivonen off a rebound at 16:58.
Brodeur, who held the Bruins at bay the entire night, ended the contest with 19 saves.
"We knew that…coming in," said Paul Mara. "New Jersey thrives on mistakes.
"They sit back, relax, and wait for the other team to turn it over."
"They are a good defensive team, that's for sure," said Bruins assistant captain Patrice Bergeron
. "But we have to test them more.
"It's not about them, it's about us.
"It's about the way we compete, about the way we're playing and [we have] to do the little things right. That's what we were doing in the past ten games or so."
"Timmy had no real chance on either one of those goals," said Bruins head coach Dave Lewis. "I thought that I would just change it up and felt that the team needed that."
"It worked for a while and the guys responded and got a goal, but we could never get that tying goal."
Boston travels to Montreal to face the Canadiens Tuesday at 7:30. The game can be seen live on NESN and heard live on WBZ Radio.
The Bruins return home to the TD Banknorth Garden on Thursday night when they host the New Jersey Devils at 7:00 p.m. ET.
Tickets are available for all home games online by clicking here
, at the TD Banknorth Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, or by phone at 617.624.BEAR.