Blackwood makes 40 saves for 1st SO, Devils top Bruins 1-0

BOSTON (AP) — Mackenzie Blackwood stopped 40 shots for his first shutout of the season, Kyle Palmieri scored and the New Jersey Devils held on to beat the Boston Bruins 1-0 on Sunday night.

The Devils improved to 4-0-1 against Boston this season, with each game decided by a goal.

Jaroslav Halak made 28 saves for the Bruins, who had earned at least one point in their last four games (3-0-1).

New Jersey had lost four of its last five. The Devils needed two replay reviews to go their way in the final 70 seconds of this one to seal the win.

The teams face off again in Boston on Tuesday.

With Halak off for an extra skater, Patrice Bergeron scored out of a scramble with 1:10 left when Blackwood was unable to cover a loose puck in the crease. But, the Devils challenged it for goaltender interference, and the score was overturned because David Krejci knocked it out of Blackwood’s glove.

“Immediately when I saw it, it looked like he pitchforked Blackie when he had the puck covered,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said. “I said to the other coaches: ‘I’m challenging it for sure.”’

Blackwood felt the replay would go his way.

“I knew I had it covered before they replayed that one,” he said.

Blackwood kicked out a rolling puck in the closing seconds just before it crossed the line. There was a long review that upheld the call on the ice.

“I saw the one angle and I saw the other angle, to me it looked like it didn’t cross the line,” Blackwood said. “They have to look at every angle.”

Boston coach Bruce Cassidy seemed somewhat surprised that Bergeron’s goal was disallowed.

“Typically, it’s supposed to be egregious,” he said. “I think they deemed it egregious. I don’t know. What am I supposed to say about that? They made the call and the call didn’t go our way.”

Halak stopped Miles Wood’s breakaway with 3½ minutes left in the third.

The Devils killed off most of a double minor penalty early in the third period when Janne Kuokkanen was whistled for high sticking Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy, before McAvoy was called for tripping late in the power play.

Boston had a few good bids on the power play, but Blackwood was solid.

“Not a lot of puck luck for us,” Cassidy said. “When we score some goals they come back on us.”

Palmieri scored 16:37 into the first period when he redirected Ty Smith’s shot from the top of the right circle past Halak’s glove and inside the near post.

Bergeron went to the locker room after getting hit in the head on a collision with teammate Trent Frederic along the boards with 5 ½ minutes left in the second period. He didn’t return until the third.

The teams came out with good energy at the start of a tight-checking opening period that featured very few quality scoring chances.

Halak had the best save in the opening period, flashing his left pad to stop Yegor Sharangovich’s wrister from the left circle.

The Devils had some tough luck in the second when Nicholas Merkley hustled to the puck near the right circle midway into the period and unloaded a backhander with Halak scrambling across the crease, but it hit squarely off the post.

Bruins forward Anders Bjork broke in alone on a short-handed bid late in the second, but Blackwood dropped to make a pad save.

STILL OUT

Bruins winger and leading scorer Brad Marchand (12 goals, 22 assists) missed his second straight game because he was in COVID protocol. Winger Jake DeBrusk and center Sean Kuraly were also still in protocol.

TIME TO GET AWAY

Ruff gave his players the day off Saturday after they played three games in four days.

“(It) was really important,” he said during a morning video conference with the media. “When you look at playing the number of games we did in the number of days; just to rest, get your mind away from the game and to reenergize to play the game we need to play.”

EXTRA HITS

Boston center Charlie Coyle played his 600th career game. … It was the Bruins’ third game of a seven-game homestand. … In the teams’ last meeting, also in Boston, Scott Wedgewood stopped 40 shots in New Jersey’s 1-0 win on March 7. Palmieri had the goal in that game, too.

“Both games our goalies stepped up and made some big saves down the stretch,” Palmieri said.

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