Goaltending was always going to be one of the most important factors for the New Jersey Devils this season. It hasn’t looked exactly like they hoped it would (Corey Crawford retired before the season; Mackenzie Blackwood missed time due to COVID protocols), but it is still the easiest path forward for them to be competitive for the rest of this season.
They got it on Sunday afternoon in a 1-0 win over the Boston Bruins.
Scott Wedgewood was fantastic in the win, stopping all 40 shots he faced to record his second shutout of the season. His only two wins this season have been via shutout.
His play allowed the Devils to stay in the game long enough for Kyle Palmeiri to break a scoreless tie with less than five minutes to play in the third period.
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The win snaps what had been a five-game losing streak for the Devils and is only their second win over their past 10 games. It is also their first regulation win since a 3-2 win over this very same Bruins team back on February 18. The Devils still find themselves well out of playoff contention in the East Division, but it’s still a solid win for a team that badly needed it.
As for the Bruins, they have definitely slumped a bit over the past couple of weeks winning just three of their past nine games. But their past two games have been encouraging, and that includes Sunday’s loss. Sometimes you can play really well and simply not get the result to go your way, and that’s a pretty good argument that is what happened on Sunday. They not only put 40 shots on goal (while only allowing 25), they were getting shots from the players they almost certainly wanted them coming from. David Pastrnak had 10 shots on goal. Patrice Bergeron had five. Charlie McAvoy had three. Brad Marchand had two. If they put 40 shots on goal most nights, including 20 from that quartet of players, they are going to score a lot of goals on most nights.
Sometimes the other team’s goalie gets the best of you. That happened to them on Sunday.
The only other notable storyline in this game was Marchand delivering an extremely aggressive cross-check to the back of Ty Smith‘s head in front of the net. There was no penalty called on the play but it could be something that might get looked for potential discipline.
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.