BOSTON, Mass. - Joe Thornton figured in all four of Boston's goals (1-3=4), and Sergei Samsonov added a goal and an assist, but the Bruins surrendered a late power play goal in the third period on their way to a 5-4 shootout loss at the hands of the New Jersey Devils Saturday night. Hannu Toivonen made 30 saves in his second consecutive start, filling in for the injured Andrew Raycroft. Boston has now earned at least one point in five straight games (2-0-3).
"Well, I think it's pretty simple tonight. Our major concern is the amount of penalties we took," said Coach Sullivan. "It's tough to win games when you spend that much time in the penalty box, that's the bottom line. We have to be better. We're obviously not where we want to be. Our expectation is higher and we must be better."
The captain echoed the coach's sentiments.
"We kind of gave it to them by taking so many penalties," said Thornton. "I thought we were great five-on-five, but discipline is another issue we need to deal with. We can't blame the officiating every night. It's up to us to be smart and stay out of the box. We know what we can and can't get away with."
The Devils got on the board first when Jay Pandolfo beat Toivonen three minutes into the first period. Pandolfo followed his own shot and stuffed in the rebound for the 1-0 lead.
Exactly two minutes later, the Bruins would tie the score. Joe Thornton dumped the puck into the Devils zone where it took a strange bounce off the boards directly to P.J. Axelsson. Axelsson was able to score on the play, as New Jersey goalie Scott Clemmensen left the net to play the puck.
Boston scored again at 15:24 when Thornton picked up a loose puck and took it to the Devil's goal, shooting it five-hole for the 2-1 lead.
The Bruins came out in the second period and continued where they left off the period before, scoring at 7:39 to extend their lead to 3-1. Glen Murray capitalized on a give-and-go with Joe Thornton for his 7th of the year, with Sergei Samsonov picking up the second assist. The assist was the 200th of Samsonov's career.
With play going back and forth for most of the period, New Jersey was able to get one back with just over two minutes left on a Viktor Kozlov blast from the left circle. The teams skated into the second intermission with Boston leading 3-2.
The Devils came out in the third period and scored at 5:55, tying the game at 3-3 on Viktor Kozlov's wrister, his second goal of the game.
Boston responded quickly though, scoring less than two minutes later when Sergei Samsonov fired a low shot to the far post to give Boston the 4-3 lead. Joe Thornton and Travis Green were credited with the assists.
Then, with just three minutes left to play, penalties would come back to hurt the Bruins. The Devils, scoreless on their previous eight power plays, would make the ninth count. Alexander Mogilny wristed a shot past Toivonen at 17:28 to tie the game at 4-4 and send it to overtime.
In overtime, the Bruins poured on the pressure. Boston's best opportunity to score came with under a minute remaining, when Brian Leetch found himself wide open in front of the net. Clemmensen sprawled out on the ice to cover the open net, but Leetch couldn't lift the puck past him and the game headed to a shootout.
Brian Gionta scored the eventual game winner on a hard snap shot that beat Toivonen under the arm, giving the Devils the 2-1 shootout edge. Viktor Kozlov scored the other shootout goal for the Devils. Joe Thornton netted the Bruins lone goal in the shootout, dekeing Clemmensen to the backhand and going top shelf with it. Sergei Samsonov and Glen Murray failed to score on their breakaway bids.
Toivonen, who appeared in his first NHL shootout, had this to say about the loss.
"Well, we got a point so we'll take that, but we need to stay out of the box. Even strength we're fine. We dominate five-on-five. We just need to cut down on the penalties," said Toivonen.