Sound D by B’s
Coming into tonight, the Bruins penalty kill was 23-for-23 at a perfect 100 percent and that trend continued through the first period, with the B’s successfully killing a tripping penalty to Andrew Ference with 4:41 left in the opening frame.
When the Devils put out six skaters on the delayed penalty, Tuukka Rask wowed the crowd with a half-split save on a bomb from the high slot by Ilya Kovalchuk. And then on the PK, he flashed the glove on a Devils’ shot headed right to the top corner as Rask was screened in front.
“A large core of their group were Stanley Cup champions only two years ago,” Devils head coach Peter DeBoer said prior to tonight’s game. “So we know what we’re dealing with. It’s a great test for us. A team like this exposes your weaknesses pretty quickly.”
Though the first period only saw a combined 18 shots on goal (nine for each side), both netminders have looked solid. Rask had the game off last night with Khudobin between the pipes, while Johan Hedberg is playing in his first game since April 3, 2012. Both have looked sharp.
With just under 2:00 to go in the first, Rask denied Ryan Carter a tip-in from right at the goal-mouth after a hard centering pass from Jacob Josefson at the right wing boards. Great stop by Rask.
Then, Hedberg denied a wrister from the high slot by Brad Marchand, and then the follow up from Patrice Bergeron. Nine different B’s had a shot on goal in the first, and the Black & Gold getting shots from all lines tonight, but New Jersey’s disciplined system isn’t giving them much to work with.
Thornton vs. Barch
After 5:39 of back and forth action to start the first, Shawn Thornton and the Devils’ Krystofer Barch decided that they needed to get their teams - and the crowd - a spark. The pair squared off at center ice in a very long and entertaining bout between two heavyweights that lasted one minutes and 17 seconds, with the most memorable punch a strong left that came from No. 22 (Barch is a lefty, but Thornton is ambidextrous when it comes to fighting - he’s as strong on his left as he is on his right). Thornton and Barch have fought twice before, when the Devil was with the Florida Panthers.
For the record, Boston is 45-16-9 when Thornton receives a fighting major…