By Andrew Gross/The Record (TNS)
The Devils continue to do just enough to stay close.
But not win.
And with whatever playoff hopes they have getting slimmer and slimmer, this six-game losing streak seems to have all but extinguished them.
The Bruins held a huge shot advantage and dominated possession team but settled for a tense, 3-2 win on Saturday night at TD Garden after the Devils twice grinded their way into ties.
Still, the Devils (25-27-12) are now in an 0-4-2 slide and have lost five straight one-goal games. Goalie Cory Schneider, making his fifth straight start, again gave his teammates a chance with 37 saves.
Anton Khudobin needed to make just 15 saves for the Bruins (34-25-6), now 8-2-0 under interim coach Bruce Cassidy.
Devils coach John Hynes was prepared to use a lineup featuring 11 forwards and seven defensemen for just the second time this season before captain Andy Greene was a late scratch for a personal reason.
Right wing Nick Lappin was inserted into the lineup as an emergency recall from Albany (AHL) and defenseman Dalton Prout, acquired just prior to Wednesday’s trade deadline from the Blue Jackets for defenseman Kyle Quincey, made his Devils’ debut.
The Devils were coming off a 1-0 loss Thursday night at Washington in which they took a season-low 15 shots — their previous low was 17 shots — as they were able to defensively stifle the NHL leaders but lost on a power-play goal.
They were certainly prepared for more of the same on Saturday.
“We have to continue to compete hard and learn how to win and find ways to win,” Hynes said. “If we do that, we’re in a race.”
That actually would take an extended winning streak — the Devils longest this season is five games — as they started play on Saturday nine points shy of the Eastern Conference’s final wild-card spot.
Without Greene, a yeoman worker who anchors the defensive efforts, the Devils scrapped their way through the game despite the Bruins’ possession advantage.
And Kyle Palmieri’s goal off Taylor Hall’s two-on-one feed under the behemoth Zdeno Chara tied the game at 2 at 5:51 of the third period, an odd one with the end-of-period siren twice going off in the first 6:36 and the Devils in possession in the Bruins’ zone both times.
But Ryan Spooner, wide open at the right post, put the Bruins back ahead, 3-2, at 8:18.
The Devils went nearly nine minutes into the second before getting their first shot of the period and, by then, trailed 1-0 on Torey Krug’s power-play slap shot at 7:06 with Hall in the penalty box for tripping Kevan Miller in the Bruins’ zone.
Hall went right back to the box for tripping Krug – again in the Bruins’ zone at 9:44. Just after the whistle blew on Hall’s second infraction, defenseman Ben Lovejoy beat Khudobin with a slap shot from the right point that was immediately waved off.
But so was Drew Stafford’s apparent power-play goal at 10:21 on a scramble at the crease as Hynes challenged that Stafford, making his Bruins’ debut after being acquired from the Jets, interfered with Schneider by pushing the goalie back with a stick into his pads.
Given that reprieve, Devante Smith-Pelly tied the game on a breakaway backhander just four seconds after Hall exited the penalty box. The goal snapped the Devils scoreless streak at 106:48.
However, defenseman Brandon Carlo, with a backhander from the left circle that deflected off Lappin’s stick and over Schneider’s right pad, made it 2-1 at 18:25 of the second period.
Schneider stopped all 16 shots he faced in the first period — the Devils had five shots — and was at his sharpest smothering Riley Nash’s quick release from the slot at 15:54.
Vancouver 4 Los Angeles 3
Edmonton 4 Detroit 3
Chicago 5 Nashville 3
Washington 2 Philadelphia 1 (OT)
Winnipeg 6 Colorado 1
Boston 3 New Jersey 2
Tampa Bay 2 Buffalo 1 (SO)
Ottawa 3 Columbus 2
Dallas 2 Florida 1
Montreal 4 NY Rangers 1
LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
Greaves shines in Scotland’s stunning win over Bangladesh
Maqsood, Singh help Oman beat Papua New Guinea
Afghanistan will stick to daring T20 approach, says skipper Nabi
Bayern smash five past Leverkusen to reclaim top spot
Al-Saadi wins Qatar Cycling Federation’s season-opening race
Fowler takes lead in Las Vegas, eyes end to drought
Rodriguez makes debut but Rayyan go down to Duhail; Sadd stay top
Thrilling victory for Tandon, Golan and Willstrop advance
Mir on target as Sevilla go third after win over Celta