Bruins Vs. Devils: Patrice Bergeron, Tim Thomas Shine As Boston Stomps New Jersey 6-1

With the Bruins and Devils facing off in the Prudential Center, the home team got on the board first, but it would be Tim Thomas and the Bruins who had the upper hand the rest of the way.

Even though the Boston Bruins were playing with fire for much of the evening, it was Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils who got burned.

The game began on a chippy note when Patrice Bergeron told Pierre McGuire in a pre-game interview that there would "definitely" be some physical fireworks, and the prediction was backed up within the first two minutes as Cam Janssen challenged Shawn Thornton to a marathon bout.

The Devils rode the wave of energy from the scrap, challenging Tim Thomas, and received the first power play of the evening when a puck went over the glass that Johnny Boychuk argued had been deflected by Petr Sykora, but referee Stephane Auger stuck with his delay of game ruling.

The Devils' power play unit had several good opportunities, but fate seemed to smile on Boston when Patrice Bergeron snagged a loose puck and charged for the New Jersey zone. The groans out of the Prudential Center changed, however, when Zach Parise stole the puck away and lead David Clarkson back into the Boston zone on an odd-man rush. The Devils captain sent a nicely executed saucer pass over to the former Kitchener Ranger, and Clarkson bounced a shot off the glove of Thomas and in with 14 seconds left on the man advantage.

Clarkson would have an almost identical opportunity to extend the lead a few minutes later, but this time Thomas was prepared, making a sharp glove save.

From that moment on, the ice began to tilt towards the visitors. Just past the eight minute mark, Andrew Ference would fire a shot from above the left faceoff circle that deflected off the skate of Chris Kelly and past Brodeur, tying the game. A few minutes later the Devils had their own mental mistake when Henrik Tallinder misplayed the puck in his own zone and over the glass, sending the Bruins on the power play.

The New Jersey penalty kill did an excellent job blocking shots through most of the kill, but the defending cup champions would take the lead when David Krejci found a loose puck and quickly sent a cross crease pass to Nathan Horton, who fired the puck off the crossbar and in.

Only down one goal after 20 minutes, the Devils had an early opportunity to tie the game when Nathan Horton went to the box for a hook on Mark Fayne, but the Bruins dominated the New Jersey power play, playing a significant portion of the penalty in the Devils' zone. Even a late attempt to set up would bite the Devils, as Patrice Bergeron would block an Adam Larsson shot at the blue line and leap on the loose puck. With the Bruins center heading up ice as the penalty expired, Bergeron would shrug off Larsson's attempt to hook him down and stuff the puck past a diving Brodeur as he drove to the net for the 3-1 lead.

The Devils would get another opportunity to right their footing when Chris Kelly was called for a hold and Benoit Pouliot issued a game misconduct for arguing the call. Despite the power play and the loss of a solid option on the wing for Boston, the Devils could not find a way to beat Tim Thomas, though they were able to prevent the Bruins from converting on two power play opportunities of their own late in the period.

With 20 minutes left in regulation, overcoming a two goal deficit was not impossible, but the situation quickly turned dire in the opening minutes of the third period. After breaking into the New Jersey zone with Tyler Seguin, Brad Marchand would circle the net before finding a wide open Bergeron in the slot, who one-timed the shot to put the Bruins up by three.

Two minutes later, David Krejci would redirect a Dennis Seidenberg shot at the side of the crease, and the Bruins now had a four goal lead as fans began heading for the exits, but Peter DeBoer stuck by Brodeur, leaving him in the net to face the rest of the evening. The future hall of fame goaltender would continue to see the visiting colors around him for much of the evening, as the Devils' attempts to turn up the physical play simply fed into Boston's preferred play style.

Fittingly, the cherry on top of the game would come in the final minutes of regulation when Shawn Thorton capped off the night for Boston by firing a long shot that Brodeur had a clean look at, but was unable to close off his five hole before the puck zipped through.

The 6-1 loss marked the fourth time this season that Brodeur has allowed four or more goals, and the fifth this season where he recorded a save percentage of .850 or lower. The Devils' franchise netminder stopped 21 of 27 shots, while Tim Thomas stopped 30 of 31 New Jersey attempts for his 17th win of the season, and the eighth game this season where the reigning Vezina trophy winner recorded a .960 or higher save percentage.

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