East Rutherford, NJ -
The New Jersey Devils came out flying after honoring defenseman Ken Daneyko for his 18 seasons with their organization. The Devils got out to a quick 2-0 lead just 3:41 after the puck drop and never looked back as they beat the Bruins 4-2 to snap a three-game losing streak on Friday night. The game started 22 minutes late and the Bruins showed the after effects, spotting the Devils a three-goal lead they could not overcome. Glen Murray and Brad Isbister scored goals for the Bruins, who lost their fourth and final game of the season series to the Devils.
"You can't spot a team two goals and expect results," said Head Coach Mike Sullivan. "And that's what we did tonight. I think with the make-up of our team, it's difficult to come back from deficits like that. To spot them two goals like we did, it's tough to get back in the hockey game."
Former Boston College goalie Scott Clemmensen made 25 saves to pick up his third win of the season and second against the Bruins. It was his first start since December 29. The win gave New Jersey 79 points and put them in a tie with the Tampa Bay Lightning for sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
The late start caused the B's to come out flat and surrender a goal just 44 seconds into the period. Devils forward Scott Gomez one-timed a loose puck from the middle of the left circle that beat Raycroft for his 25th goal of the season.
Brian Gionta gave the Devils a two-goal lead at 3:41 of the first period off a face-off in the Boston zone. Gomez won the draw and the puck squirted out front to Gionta, who banged it home off the post to notch No. 39 of the season. The power play goal was their first of two on the night and Gionta's 20th, a new team record for power play goals in a single season.
Midway through the second period, New Jersey's Paul Martin faked a slap shot from the point and then quickly fired a pass down low to Zach Parise. Parise collected the pass and snapped it past Raycroft for his 10th tally of the year to put the Devils up 3-0. The goal forced the Bruins bench boss to make the goaltending change, with Tim Thomas
coming in relief. Raycroft left the game with 12 saves, while Thomas made 8 saves in the last period and a half.
"They had to wait too, so the wait isn't an excuse," said Raycroft in reference to the late start from the 40-minute Daneyko tribute. "I'm disappointed. I feel like I let the guys down a little bit. I just have to wake up in the morning and try to get better again."
With just 54 second left in the second period, Brad Isbister made a great play in the corner to get the puck to Marty Reasoner behind the New Jersey goal. Reasoner fed a streaking Glen Murray in front, who cashed it in for his 22nd score of the year to cut the Devils lead to 3-1.
At 7:32 of the final period, New Jersey crushed any Boston hopes of a comeback when Thomas misplayed a dump-in from Martin at his own blueline. The puck slid underneath Thomas' stick as he tried to pass it to defenseman Brad Stuart. The goal put New Jersey up 4-1 and the game out of reach.
Boston added one more on an Isbister backhander with just 44 seconds left in the third period, but it was too little, too late. Isbister finished with a goal and an assist in only his second game back in the lineup after being out with an ankle injury.
The Bruins will have no time to dwell on the loss as they get right back to work on Saturday night at the TD Banknorth Garden when they host the Buffalo Sabres at 7:00 p.m.
The Bruins will also take their "Hats Off For Kids" on Saturday, March 25 and Monday, March 27! Fans are encouraged to bring unworn baseball hats to the game where they will be collected at the turnstiles by Bruins wives and girlfriends for distribution to children who are fighting cancer at Tufts-New England Medical Center Floating Hospital for Children. All fans donating a hat will be entered into a raffle to win a Bruins team signed hat.