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Gustavsson outduels Schneider as Bruins edge Devils

by Matt Kalman

BOSTON -- Ryan Spooner scored the only goal in the shootout and Loui Eriksson scored a first-period goal for the Boston Bruins in a 2-1 win against the New Jersey Devils at TD Garden on Sunday.

Boston (19-9-4) is 5-0-1 in its past six games and 11-1-3 in its past 14. The win pulled the Bruins within one point of the Montreal Canadiens for first place in the Atlantic Division with two games in hand.

"I like what I see," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "We'll make the most of it, we've got an opportunity on Tuesday (against the St. Louis Blues) to finish strong (before Christmas break) and more than anything else, if we look at our game tonight and we look at the areas we could have been better at and focus on that, maybe we have a chance to win ourselves another game before Christmas and who knows?"

Spooner was 0-for-5 in his career in shootouts before he attacked the net with speed and roofed his shot. He got some words of advice from Julien, who picked Spooner to leadoff in the shootout.

"He said to me actually, he said, 'have confidence when you're shooting just like you do in practice,'" Spooner said. "And I went out there and that's a move that I use, so it's good."

Bruins goaltender Jonas Gustavsson made a save on Lee Stempniak before Kyle Palmieri missed the net and Mike Cammalleri hit the post to clinch Boston's victory. Gustavsson, the backup to 2014 Vezina Trophy winner Tuukka Rask, was 0-1-1 in his past two starts. He's 6-2-1 with a 2.42 goals-against average and .912 save percentage.

"[Gustavsson] played extremely well. We saw some big saves when we needed them," Julien said. "He played well. I keep saying that over and over again, when your other goaltender can give you games like that, it just makes your team that much better. So [Gustavsson] is doing a good job for us."

Cory Schneider made a season-high 38 saves for the Devils (16-13-5), including nine in overtime. New Jersey has lost three in a row and four of five.

"Cory was great," Devils coach John Hynes said. "Cory was excellent for us. When they had pushes he was able to come up with some big saves, and I think as the game wore on we battled really hard. And when we had a couple breakdowns, they had a really good push there late in the third. Cory was excellent and obviously you saw what both goaltenders did in overtime."

The Devils outshot the Bruins 8-4 in the first period and didn't get their first shot on Gustavsson until 7:52. But the Bruins scored on their third shot of the period.

David Krejci made a backhand pass to the front of the net, where Eriksson beat Schneider with a one-timer at 6:15 for a 1-0 lead.

The Bruins went the final 9:24 of the period without a shot on goal.

The Devils tied it at 1-1 when Andy Greene drove to the net and tipped Stempniak's feed past Gustavsson at 1:51 of the second period. The Bruins outshot New Jersey 15-13 in the second and Schneider preserved the tie with several fine saves, including Adam McQuaid's one-timer from the top of the right circle that required Schneider to stretch out and make a glove save.

After a scoreless third period, the Bruins had a power play to start overtime. But the goalies starred; Gustavsson denied Travis Zajac on a 2-on-1 and Schneider denied a shot by Bruins defenseman Colin Miller.

"I just tried to be pretty aggressive on the shooter there," Gustavsson said. "And then I noticed he kind of slowed down a little bit and looked for the other guy, so I tried to back in a little bit and then he passed and came across and I got a piece of it."

New Jersey started the game without forward Patrik Elias, who was a healthy scratch. The Devils lost forwards Jacob Josefson, who played one shift after he blocked a second-period Torey Krug shot and then didn't return, and Sergey Kalinin (third-period collision with Krug) to injury.

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