The Boston Bruins held on for a 5-4 win at New Jersey on Wednesday to take a one-point lead on Montreal in the Northeast Division. They also trail Pittsburgh by four points in the Eastern Conference.
Boston jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first period but had to withstand a late Devils rally when Matt D'Agostini scored with 37 seconds left to pull the Devils within one. But the Bruins were able to hold on and take advantage of a great performance from their penalty kill unit, which killed eight power plays. Gregory Campbell (two goals), Daniel Paille (goal, assist) and Jaromir Jagr (two assists) led the way offensively. Tyler Seguin and Zdeno Chara also scored for the Bruins, and Anton Khudobin got his ninth win with a 24-save performance.
Paille an unsung hero: While his finishing skills still need some polishing, Paille is a secret offensive weapon that may not remain a secret much longer. His all-around play has been huge for the Bruins this season and he's up to eight goals now. Julien can slot him in just about anywhere and know that Paille will provide a responsible and defensive performance. But he also has speed, hustle and a sneaky shot.
Marchand injured on hit to head: Bruins winger Brad Marchand left the game in the second period and did not return after taking an elbow to the head on a questionable play by Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov. While the play itself was hard enough to swallow for a team that is already missing Patrice Bergeron to a concussion, what was also difficult to watch was the lack of response from Marchand's teammates. Marchand is leading the team in points with 33 and goals with 16. With the way the Bruins have lacked passion and purpose as of late, it was not a good sign that the only player to go after Volchenkov was Jagr, who has been with the team for just over a week.
Jagr continues to contribute: With two helpers, Jagr has now registered a point in three of the four games he has played for the Bruins since being acquired on April 2. Jagr has been a spark plug for an offense that is suddenly clicking with 11 goals in two games.
Campbell taking advantage of promotion: Since being put on a line with Marchand and Jagr, Campbell has not disappointed. His two goals now give him four points in two games, as he had two assists in the 6-2 win over the Hurricanes on Monday. Campbell's grit has been paying big dividends.
Strong start but lack of finish remains: The Bruins roared out to a 4-0 lead in the first period despite allowing four Devils power plays. In contrast to recent games, their start was much better than their finish. The Bruins seemed to lay back a bit and once again made costly turnovers in their own zone that allowed the Devils to stick around and make things a lot more interesting than they needed to be.
PK dominance: Not only did the Bruins' penalty kill off eight New Jersey power plays, but they also struck for two short-handed goals, which turned out to be the difference between winning and losing in this game. It felt like the Bruins were short-handed for the whole first period and yet they played as if they were on the power play. If only the Bruins could play with that intensity and passion when they're even strength or on their own power plays.
Peverley peaking: Rich Peverley is really starting to find his game, at just the right time for the Bruins. There's no doubting his speed and instincts; he created two successful short-handed bids.
Roster remains the same: After watching his team put up a season-high six goals Monday, Julien didn't tinker with his lines to start the game. Here's what things looked like at the opening faceoff and until Marchand was injured:
Brad Marchand-Gregory Campbell-Jaromir Jagr
Daniel Paille-Chris Kelly-Tyler Seguin
Zdeno Chara-Dougie Hamilton