BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins thought their acquisition of Jaromir Jagr would bring them more goals.
They just didn't know Jagr doesn't always have to use his stick to score them.
Jagr's first goal for the Bruins, 1:20 into the second period, went in off his skate and was the only score in a 1-0 victory against the New Jersey Devils in his debut with his new team at TD Garden on Thursday.
Jagr was acquired from the Dallas Stars in a trade Tuesday for two prospects and a draft pick.
"I knew it was coming," Jagr said about the pass from Brad Marchand. "They always said, 'You've got to drive to the net,' and now I understand why they were saying that, and I never really drive to the net, now I know why. If I knew it when I was 20, I would have 100 more goals by now."
Jagr said he barely slept the past two nights. He was extremely hard on himself in the postgame scrum after he logged 19:12 of ice time and fired five shots on goal.
"I told them [linemates Marchand and Tyler Seguin], 'I've got to get better.' I felt bad for them they had to play with me, but I've got to get better. That's for sure," Jagr said.
Boston goalie Tuukka Rask, making his first start since backing up Anton Khudobin in the previous two games, made 40 saves for his third shutout of the season. Rask was tested early, as New Jersey outshot Boston 17-6 in the first period. He shook off any rust he might have had and turned away every New Jersey offering.
"I was saying to [Khudobin] in the first intermission I'd rather take 17 shots than three or four shots, just to get you going," Rask said. "And even though they had 17 shots, there were a lot of shots from the outside. So it was good to get that feeling, feel for the puck and stuff like that."
The Bruins are 7-0-1 in their past eight home games and have won three in a row overall. However, they've allowed 87 shots on net in their last two games, both on home ice. That's something coach Claude Julien will be looking to rectify.
"A lot of things that we used to take pride in has slipped away from our game a little bit," said Julien, whose team trails the Montreal Canadiens by one point for first place in the Northeast Division heading into Saturday' game at Bell Centre. "We've got to bring that back to our play. It's changing at the wrong times, teams coming up the ice in outnumbered situations, a lot of that stuff, not putting the pucks in deep when there's nowhere to go, still forcing plays. Those are all bad habits that I've seen that have crept into our game lately and has given teams more shots."
The Devils are 0-4-1 in their past five games overall. They're now in ninth place in the Eastern Conference.
"I mean, I'd be lying if I said we don't know where we are in the playoffs, but we're not thinking about 'You win a game, you lose a game, you're automatically not going to make it,'" Devils defenseman Andy Greene said. "We play these last 11 games now, leave all the cards on the table, and see what happens."
Jagr took the ice 1:16 into the first period after a New Jersey icing. The rousing ovation from the TD Garden crowd ended only when Seguin, playing center in the absence of Patrice Bergeron, lost the faceoff. Jagr gave the Bruins fans more to cheer about as the night went on.
Meanwhile, Rask was on top of his game -- including one sequence in which the netminder had to flash the left pad to stop Alexei Ponikarovsky, then use the same pad to stop David Clarkson in the slot after the rebound.
Following two strong performances by Khudobin, Rask had something to prove.
"Obviously you want to keep it going," Rask said. "Like when he plays, he's really hot, when you go out there, you kind of want to keep that rhythm going for your team and get those wins. Maybe it gives you that extra boost."
With the loss to the Bruins in the books, Devils coach Peter DeBoer was already looking forward to the next game; New Jersey hosts the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night, then plays at the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday
"The guys did everything that we asked them to do but score," DeBoer said. "You can't fault their effort or their execution in the game plan. That's a good team, tough building, and I thought we played a heck of a road game. It's that time of year, you have to forget about it and move forward and get ready for the next one."