New Jersey Devils Win Game of the Year Candidate vs. Bruins

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - FEBRUARY 18: Mackenzie Blackwood #29 of the New Jersey Devils celebrates with Damon Severson #28 and Kyle Palmieri #21 after the Devils 3-1 win over the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on February 18,2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - FEBRUARY 18: Mackenzie Blackwood #29 of the New Jersey Devils celebrates with Damon Severson #28 and Kyle Palmieri #21 after the Devils 3-1 win over the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on February 18,2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

It’s strange how this 2020-21 New Jersey Devils season is going. Any time the team wins a game, it’s either due to domination or just by a particular miracle. While we aren’t good enough to get into the playoffs this year, we are showing we can grab everyone’s attention. One of the teams that we never expected to beat this year was the Boston Bruins. This year we are 4-0-1 against the Bruins, which is pretty surprising considering our roster. Each game has been insanely close, with the Devils winning out in the end. However, I believe the most recent game against the two teams on March 28th, 2021, has to be one of the best games of the year, and here’s why.

Kyle Palmieri Beats the Bruins by Only One Goal

After the Devils’ embarrassing loss to the Washington Capitals, they knew they couldn’t have the same performance against the Bruins. From the get-go, the offense looked better. Even if we didn’t get any goals, it felt like the Devils were not making too many cautious mistakes as they did against the Capitals. However, Bruins goalie Jaroslav Halak who was in for Tuukka Rask, stood very strong. The Bruins didn’t have Rask and Brad Marchand due to both being on the COVID list. Towards the end of the first period, Kyle Palmieri continues his point streak against the Bruins got the only goal of the game.

Ty Smith, who has impressed us all year, came into the Bruins zone and fired the puck toward the net. Thankfully, Kyle Palmieri was there to help him out, as he deflected the puck past Halak, as he netted his 7th of the year. It also means that Palmieri’s trade stock has now gone up, as he looks to most likely be traded away once the trade deadline comes around. Smith would get his 17th assist on the year on that goal. It would be the only goal of the game for either team. The Devils did have chances in both the second and third periods; however, they could never capitalize. Nick Merkley had an opportunity while on a powerplay. However, he hit the post on a wide-open net, where Halak couldn’t reach it. Even then, Halak was able to stop every shot after that to keep it 1-0. However, the other goalie had perhaps the best game of the season.

The Bruins Can’t Poke Through Makenzie Blackwood’s Brick Wall

It’s pretty apparent that the reason why the Devils were able to survive against the Bruins. Mackenzie Blackwood perhaps had one of the best games of his career against a well-known scoring team. Blackwood was able to stop all 40 shots getting his first shutout of the year. Even without one of their top scorers in Brad Marchand, the Bruins still had many chances to beat Blackwood. The Devils did get outshot in this game 27-40. Perhaps another reason Blackwood did so well was that, like other games, the Devils had trouble keeping pucks on their sticks. It showed especially on their special teams.

Once again, the Devils had no idea how a powerplay is supposed to work. Instead of trying to attempt to attack the Bruins zone to get any attempts for goals, they end up turning the puck over due to the Bruins giving them pressure. Andres Bjork had chances on two of the Devil’s powerplays but couldn’t connect on the breakaway. The Bruins also were able to get inside their zone and able to clear the puck with ease. But even with all those issues, Blackwood still managed to play his heart out and win the game. This game is a type of performance we need to see from Blackwood in future games. But aside from the shutout, what made this game special was the game’s ending, where Blackwood made perhaps the best save of the 2020-21 season.

How The Refs Made This Devils-Bruins Game Have A Crazy Ending

When it comes to the referees, they haven’t been too kind to the Devils in close games this year. This entire month, the refs haven’t helped the Devils one bit. PK Subban’s offside goal in that OT game against the New York Islanders on March 14th, and then missing two high sticks against the Capitals on Thursday’s game. So, as you can see, March hasn’t been the best month for refereeing for the Devils. Even in this game, the refs almost made the game one-sided. In the third period, Charlie McAvoy got hit by a high stick by Janne Kuokkanen. Of course. The refs had to discuss it first to make sure it was a high stick to see if Kuokkanen would get the penalty. McAvoy was bleeding, so it ended up being a double minor for Kuokkanen. So, let me ask this question, where were these calls when Travis Zajac and Miles Wood got high-sticked on Thursday? They were bleeding when they got clipped, so why weren’t the Caps penalized? This league cannot keep being inconsistent when it comes to its calls. Thankfully the refs decided to help the Devils in the final minute.

With 1:11 to go, the Bruins tried to set up an attempt to scramble in front of the net. Patrice Bergeron then buried the puck into the net with 1:11 to go to tie the game. However, Lindy Ruff then decided to challenge for goaltender interference. It turns out that David Krejci pushed Blackwood’s glove when he was attempting to cover up the puck, meaning it was goaltender interference, and the refs waved it off. However, something crazier happened almost a minute later. With time running out for the Bruins, they attempted to attack one more time, the puck bounced around, and the Bruins began to celebrate as they thought the puck went in. However, the ref immediately waved it off and then looked at the replay booth and reviewed it. When the replay got shown, it showed that the puck looked like it crossed the goal line. However, in some way, Blackwood made a last-second toe save to keep the puck from crossing the line. The refs agreed the puck didn’t go over the line, once again disallowing another goal that could’ve tied the game for Boston. The Devils ran out the clock with 1.1 to go and won perhaps the best game of the year over the Bruins.