Bruins
Devils
2 - 0 Final
  for this game

Lucic, Thomas lead Bruins to sixth straight win

Dec 24, 2008 - 5:13 AM
By Joe Rizzo PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NEWARK, New Jersey (Ticker) -- Tim Thomas made 25 saves and Milan Lucic broke a scoreless tie 49 seconds into the third period Tuesday to lift the Boston Bruins to a 2-0 victory over the Eastern Conference's second-hottest team, the New Jersey Devils.

The East-leading Bruins continued to roll with their sixth straight victory - already their third winning streak of five or more this season - and are closing in on the San Jose Sharks for the NHL's top points total behind their 20-2-1 run, during which they have outscored the opposition, 97-47.

Boston is 9-1 in December, although it plays nine of its 13 games this month on the road.

Manny Fernandez had played four straight in goal - starting three - but coach Claude Julien, the Devils' former coach, opted to go back to Thomas in an unscientific platoon that has seen each Boston netminder go 11-1-1 in his last 13 decisions.

"Timmy's always good when he gets a rest," Julien said. "He had a chance to get a bit of a break there. It was just the type of goaltending we needed tonight. So far we have not gone wrong with either of the two goaltenders, so it's nice to use that to our advantage."

David Krejci added an empty-netter with 48 seconds remaining in the game and captain Zdeno Chara and fellow defenseman Shane Hnidy recorded assists.

"Today was the tightest game we've played all season," Lucic said. "It was our toughest challenge of the season. We handled it well. We didn't have many breakdowns. That's what it came down to today: which team was going to break down first. So far throughout the season we've shown that we can win in all types of situations, and that's a great sign for us."

Scott Clemmensen stopped 22 shots for the Devils, who had been nearly as hot, riding a 12-2-1 streak into the showdown.

"It was a playoff-type game," Devils coach Brent Sutter said. "What were the scoring opportunities, five or six for each team? That's how tight it was. An unfortunate break against us, and that's the way it goes. You're playing the first team in the conference. It was a good test to see where we're at, in a sense. They're where we want to be."

Chara said the Bruins used New Jersey's hot streak to get up for this game.

"It was a lot of motivation," Chara said. "We know they've played really well the last 15 games. We knew we were going to have a tough task, and that's how we approached it."

Lucic beat Clemmensen with a wrist shot from the slot for his 10th goal of the season after Chara's initial attempt from the right circle deflected off a Devils defender. The rugged left wing, who is second on the team with 71 penalty minutes, has four goals and five assists during his eight-game points streak.

"It was a lucky bounce for us," Lucic said. "It landed on my stick, I tried to get it off as quick as I could, and it found the five-hole."

One streak that stopped was the 18-game points run by Boston's Phil Kessel, who had 14 goals and 14 assists in his stretch. It was the best in the NHL this season, the longest by a Bruin since Adam Oates had a 20-game streak early in 1997 and four shy of tying the franchise mark.

Krejci, who has five goals and eight assists in a personal six-game run, tallied for the 13th time this season, securing the victory while Clemmensen was taken out for an extra skater in the final minute.

"You don't hear guys talking about the (winning) streak," Julien said. "I know this (Devils) team well and I know how they operate. I told our guys to be patient tonight, because they're going grind it out, they're going to try and break you, they're going to try and wait for you to make a mistake. And when you make that mistake, they're going to pounce on it."

With 4:09 left in the second period, Thomas made the kind of extraordinary save that has become a staple in the Bruins' surge toward the top of the East.

Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner and Patrik Elias formed a 2-on-1 rush, and Thomas kicked out the hard-shooting Langenbrunner's slapper from the right faceoff dot. The rebound went to an unmarked Elias in the slot for what appeared to be an easy put-back, but the diving netminder got the paddle of his stick on it.

"I remember the play, I just don't necessarily remember exactly what I did," Thomas said. "Langenbrunner actually made a good shot for a rebound and I was trying not to put it to (Elias), but there wasn't much I could do to handle it. And then when it went right on his stick, it was just reflex and a little bit of luck."

In a similar play 12 minutes earlier, Langenbrunner took a long pass, got behind the defense and ripped a slap shot from the right dot that Thomas saved. The rebound kicked into the slot, where Zach Parise gathered it and put it back through traffic on net, only to have Thomas turn it away.

New Jersey's Brian Rolston rang the crossbar with a slap shot from the top of the right circle just over six minutes into the game. Rolston went to the locker room with 8:57 remaining in the contest when he was hit with a slap shot from teammate John Madden while sitting on the bench, but returned before the end of the contest.






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    Bruins 2, Devils 0  FinalDec 24 2:53 AM


  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BOSTON 0 0 2 2
    NEW JERSEY 0 0 0 0 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: NONE
    3RD PRD: BOS - MILAN LUCIC 10 (ZDENO CHARA, SHANE HNIDY) 0:49
    BOS - (EN) DAVID KREJCI 13 (UNASSISTED) 19:12
    POWER-PLAY CONVERSIONS: BOS - 0 OF 4, NJD - 0 OF 3.
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD T

    Dec 23 9:32 PM


  • NHL
    BOSTON 2
    NEW JERSEY 0
    3RD PRD: BOS - (EN) DAVID KREJCI 13 (UNASSISTED) 19:12

    Bruins 2, Devils 0  3rd - 0:48Dec 23 9:27 PM
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    Bruins 2, Devils 0  3rd - 0:48Dec 23 9:27 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 15 roots (Close Finish)

    Bruins 1, Devils 0  3rd - 1:45Dec 23 9:22 PM
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    Bruins 1, Devils 0  3rd - 5:10Dec 23 9:20 PM


  • NHL
    BOSTON 1
    NEW JERSEY 0
    3RD PRD: BOS - MILAN LUCIC 10 (ZDENO CHARA, SHANE HNIDY) 0:49

    Bruins 1, Devils 0  3rd - 19:11Dec 23 8:58 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BOSTON 0 0 0
    NEW JERSEY 0 0 0 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BOS 9 9 18
    NJD 9 9 18
    GOALIES: BOS - TIM THOMAS
    NJD - SCOTT CLEMMENSEN

    Dec 23 8:38 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BOSTON 0 0
    NEW JERSEY 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BOS 9 9
    NJD 9 9
    GOALIES: BOS - TIM THOMAS
    NJD - SCOTT CLEMMENSEN

    Dec 23 7:47 PM
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    Bruins vs. DevilsDec 23 9:23 AM