NEWARK - The Bruins extended their point streak to eight games but dropped their final game of the decade, 3-2, to the New Jersey Devils in a shootout on Tuesday afternoon at Prudential Center. Boston opened up a two-goal lead on tallies from Brad Marchand (2:03 of the first) and Joakim Nordstrom (4:27 of the second) but saw their game slip through the second period.
"We just didn't have enough urgency, puck management, decision making, I think those go together," said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy, whose team saw its three-game winning streak snapped and is now 4-0-4 over its last eight. "We gave them some easy opportunities and couldn't get out of our end…they had a lot of life in the third. They're at home, they want to do well. They just had more will than us in the third, that's for sure."
Blake Coleman cut into Boston's lead at 8:58 of the second period, before Jesper Bratt knotted the game at 2 with 6:49 remaining in the third. New Jersey outshot the Bruins, 19-5, over the final 20 minutes.
"It's frustrating," said Patrice Bergeron. "We kind of sat back and they were doing some of what we want to do to other teams, just a quick chip out of their zone with speed. They were getting some good O-zone time because of that. I think they simplified their game and got some good results….we spent too much time our zone."
Video: BOS Recap: Two-goal lead squandered in SO loss
Here are some other notes and numbers from the B's loss to the Devils:
Shootout Woes Continue
The Bruins, now with 10 non-regulation losses at the halfway point of the season, fell to 0-6 in the shootout in 2019-20. Neither team found the back of the net until the fifth round as Jaroslav Halak - Boston's best player on Tuesday afternoon - and Mackenzie Blackwood stood tall.
Jack Hughes broke the deadlock to open up the fifth round, but Chris Wagner responded with a beautiful backhand roof to keep the Bruins alive. Damon Severson followed with the eventual winner to start the sixth round, as Blackwood denied Bergeron with a glove stop to end it.
"It's big points that you let slip by," Bergeron said of the team's shootout troubles. "We've got to rectify that. Obviously, you don't want to put yourself in that situation when you're up by a goal in the third - we're better than that as far as closing games and being smart and staying on our toes and sticking to our system. But if you're in that position you've got to bear down."
Video: Cassidy, Bergeron, Wagner and Marchand react to loss
Already without David Krejci, Torey Krug, Charlie McAvoy, and Connor Clifton, Boston's injury bug roared on Tuesday as Steven Kampfer - up from Providence on an emergency basis - left in the second period after blocking a shot in the foot/ankle. Following the game, Cassidy said the team was awaiting the results of an X-ray.
"We're down a few guys anyway that play big minutes, so some other guys are forced to do it," said Cassidy. "But we've been there before. I think that's just part of the game that every team goes through at some point in time. Sometimes you play better when you play more."
Cassidy surmised that Krug - who practiced with the team on Monday - would be ready to go on Thursday night against Columbus. Charlie McAvoy, who has also missed the last three games, also skated on Tuesday back in Boston.
"I can't speak for where they're all at because I didn't see them today, but my guess is Torey will be ready to go," said Cassidy. "Charlie could be, but I think Torey was farther along."
Cassidy said before the game that Clifton could be out for a bit longer, but that the results of an MRI on his upper-body injury were still being determined.
Marchand Hits 20
Marchand opened the scoring with his 20th goal of the season, a tap-in from the crease on the power play as he cleaned up a David Pastrnak one-timer that trickled through Blackwood. Marchand has now scored 20-plus goals in seven consecutive seasons.
"I play with really good players, so I'm gonna get opportunities," said Marchand. "When you're playing with guys like Bergy and Pasta and [Zdeno Chara], and you're on the PP, pucks are gonna go in the net."
Video: BOS@NJD: Marchand cleans up loose puck for PPG
Heinen Sits Out
Cassidy made another change up front on Tuesday as Danton Heinen sat as a healthy scratch for the first time this season. The 24-year-old winger has just one goal and two assists in 14 games during December.
"It's a little bit of the details…if you look at the guys we've taken out of the lineup, from [Par Lindholm], [David] Backes, Nordy, Wags - these are all established players," said Cassidy. "He's not out of the mix. There's a few others as well. His just happened to be tonight.
"I thought the other night [against Buffalo], he had too many turnovers. We've talked about making plays, strong plays, typically on your forehand instead of your backhand…felt it was his night…just a couple of different things to get his attention."