Pavel Zacha and Drew Stafford connected for the only two points the Devils would pick up against the Boston Bruins on Thursday night.
Stafford had the lone goal for the Devils and Zacha the lone assist, in his first game back from injury, as New Jersey fell to Boston 5-1. Defenseman Josh Jacobs made his NHL debut, while Cory Schneider made 22 saves on 25 shots in the loss as the Bruins take the season series 2-1. Patrice Bergeron had a two-goal night for Boston.
Here are 10 takeaways from the game:
1. Defenseman Josh Jacobs has had an eventful 24 hours. The newcomer was called up on Thursday morning to join the NHL club for the first time in his career and made his big league debut only hours later. The 23-year-old Michigan native lined up paired with Egor Yakovlev, who also made his NHL debut earlier this season.
In facing the Bruins, Jacobs played 14:54 with one shot on goal.
2. Jacobs becomes the ninth player this season to make their NHL debut with the Devils. It has been an injury-plagued season, that has paved way for several players in the organization to move up to the NHL and showcase their talents to John Hynes and his coaching staff. Jacobs joins, Mackenzie Blackwood, Brett Seney, Joey Anderson, Egor Yakovlev, Michael McLeod, Nathan Bastian, Colton White and Brandon Gignac who have received call ups from Binghamton and made their debut in the NHL this season.
The last time New Jersey had nine players make their NHL debut in a single season was back in 2015-16 when 10 players achieved that milestone by season's end.
3. Jacobs also became the 41st player to play for the Devils this season. New Jersey joins the Anaheim Ducks (48) and Edmonton Oilers (45) as the only three teams to use 40-plus different players this season. The 41 players ties a franchise record for most players to play a game in a single season for New Jersey. The last time the Devils had 41 different players play in a season was 2015-16.
4. It had been a little over a month and a half since the Devils lineup included 21-year-old Pavel Zacha. The Czech native has been on the sidelines recovering from a concussion, out since February 15th when the team played in Minnesota, a span of 16 games missed. In his return against the Bruins, Zacha was the third line center with Blake Pietila an Drew Stafford on his wings.
Zacha finished the night with an assist and 17:04 of ice time including 2:26 on the penalty kill.
5. The first period ended with the Bruins taking a 1-0 advantage into the intermission against the Devils. New Jersey managed to hold Boston off the shot-clock for the first 9:28 of the game before a shot broke through to Cory Schneider in the New Jersey net. The teams finished the first period at seven shots apiece, though the Bruins did convert on one of theirs, a shot in close from Patrice Bergeron to put Boston up 1-0 at the 18:34 mark.
6. After the Bruins took a 2-0 lead on New Jersey, it would be Drew Stafford who finally broke through Tuukka Rask and the Bruins net. Stafford, left alone at the top of the left circle converted a Zacha cross-ice pass to cut Boston's lead to 2-1.
The goal was Stafford's first since January 2nd and just his third goal of the year. Zacha was credited with the assist.
7. With the absence of Kyle Palmieri, due to injury, rookie Joey Anderson had to step up and replace those big minutes on New Jersey's second line. Anderson took the role in stride, logging a career-high in minutes with 17:29 against Boston with 2:29 on the penalty kill. Anderson lead all Devils forwards after each period in ice-time.
8. The penalty-kill went a perfect 100 percent against the Bruins. New Jersey took three penalties against Boston (Santini, Coleman, Zajac) and each time held the Bruins off the board. The Devils had just one single power play, which came and went without scoring.
9. Will Butcher missed the game against the Bruins, unable to participate in the game or the morning skate session, out sick. Without Butcher, Steven Santini was bumped up to the Devils second pairing with Connor Carrick.
Santini had three shots on net, tied for the team lead with Blake Pietila and Eric Tangradi, and played 19:08 while registering one hit.
10. The four-game homestand continues on Friday with a matinee matchup with the Arizona Coyotes. The Devils have just two more contests this season against Western Conference teams, including the Coyotes. New Jersey will host St. Louis next weekend, March 30th.