Spooner scores lone shootout goal, Bruins beat Devils 2-1
BOSTON — The streaking Boston Bruins are starting to sneak up on the Eastern Conference leaders.
Ryan Spooner scored the lone shootout goal and Jonas Gustavsson made 29 saves to lift Boston over the New Jersey Devils 2-1 on Sunday.
"We have shown that we can play with all the teams in the league," Spooner said.
Loui Eriksson scored in the first period for Boston, which improved to 11-1-3 in its last 15 games and pulled within one point of first-place Montreal in the Atlantic Division.
"Yeah, I mean, 10 games into the season you wouldn't expect that many games later we would be right back there," Bruins forward David Krejci said. "But there's still 50 games left, so we'll see what happens."
Through 15 games, Boston was 7-7-1 while battling injuries and trying to build chemistry with a new-look roster. Montreal was the hottest team in hockey at 12-2-1, while the New York Rangers were 11-2-2 over in the Metropolitan Division.
Now, as the NHL approaches the halfway mark, the Bruins have made up ground and are tied with the Rangers, who trail first-place Washington in their division.
Andy Greene scored in the second for the Devils, who have managed only five goals in the last five games. They've dropped three straight and four of five.
Spooner scored over the right shoulder of goalie Cory Schneider on the Bruins' first attempt. Schneider made 38 saves but is winless in his last four starts against Boston.
"Am I happy with the way we're playing? Absolutely," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "I think it's nice to see our players compete and play the way we have been. It's been good that way. But being satisfied is a dangerous word in our business, so we don't use that very often."
Torey Krug, Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Krejci all had great opportunities to score in overtime but were stymied by Schneider as the Devils were outshot 9-2. Boston missed its best chance when Bergeron's shot hit the side of a wide-open net.
"Cory was great," Devils coach John Hynes said. "When they had pushes he was able to come up with some big saves, and you saw what both goaltenders did in overtime."
Gustavsson kept the Bruins in it by foiling a 2-on-1 for Adam Henrique and Travis Zajac with 3:17 remaining with a pad save after Zdeno Chara had fallen down.
Eriksson converted a perfect feed from Krejci to beat Schneider at 6:15 of the first period.
Greene tied it when he redirected a pass from Lee Stempniak past Gustavsson at 1:51 of the second. The Devils dominated the period with 13 shots but only mustered that one goal.
"We took it to them a lot in that game and it's tough not getting that second point, but we are happy with our effort," Zajac said.
NOTES: Boston is tied with Ottawa for most goals in the Eastern Conference and tied with Montreal for the best goal differential at plus-21. ... Bruins center David Pastrnak was sent to Providence of the AHL for a conditioning assignment after missing the past 21 games with a foot injury. ... Kyle Palmieri snapped a Devils streak of five straight periods without taking a penalty when he received a double-minor for roughing in the second. ... Boston has won 16 of the last 19 matchups against New Jersey. ... Devils forward Sergey Kalinin had to be helped off the ice late in the third period and did not return. ... Boston has killed off 49 of its last 52 short-handed situations over the last 15 games.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.