Devils desperate to end losing streak, but can they do it against dangerous Bruins team?
Another day, another game that has the potential to end in disaster for the New Jersey Devils. The Devils entered Sunday’s game against the Boston Bruins on a five-game losing streak and playing some awful hockey.
Head coach Lindy Ruff had yet to figure out line combinations that actually worked, so he changed them up again on Sunday.
Yegor Sharangovich, Travis Zajac, and Janne Kuokkanen would play together. Mikhail Maltsev was moved to the left wing and would play on the same line as Pavel Zacha and Kyle Palmieri.
Andreas Johnsson and Jack Hughes reunited with Jesper Bratt (playing in his 200th career game), and Michael McLeod would return to the lineup to take Nikita Gusev’s spot, featuring on a line with Miles Wood and Nathan Bastian.
Ryan Murray would rejoin the defense as Sami Vatanen’s partner instead of Will Butcher.
MacKenzie Blackwood, who had been struggling mightily, was rested and Scott Wedgewood would get his first start since Jan. 30.
1st period: Surprisingly good
The Devils really didn’t look like a struggling team in the first period. They looked much better, especially defensively, and were lucky that the Bruins were off their game. Wedgewood also looked very sharp in net.
It’s a shame that they couldn’t take advantage of the two power plays they were awarded to get on the board. Even so, this period was a grand improvement from what we’ve been seeing from the Devils.
2nd period: Not bad at all
The Devils had another strong period in the second, some sloppiness aside. The Bruins really were off their game, but Wedgewood was standing tall and doing a fantastic job in net.
Going into the third period during a rough stretch against one of the best teams in the league with a score of 0-0 is an accomplishment and an improvement that shouldn’t be dismissed.
3rd period: Have a game, Scottie
What a period of hockey this was for the Devils, who had been playing well all game. They found themselves on the penalty kill twice this period, something they’ve been the worst in the league at all season, but they were successful both times.
Kyle Palmieri, who’s been great against the Bruins all season, was able to score against them once again. This was the game’s only goal and came at a great time.
The Devils showed chemistry, ambition, and drive throughout this game, but Wedgewood must be given credit. He was phenomenal in this big shutout, making a total of 40 saves.
He did so well that he might be given the next start. Given the fact that Blackwood had COVID-19 not too long ago and has struggled since, that might not be the worst idea.
Key Moment: Wedgewood save on Pastrňák
We knew the key moment of the game would be one of Wedgewood’s 40 saves. His save on David Pastrňák was the best of the game and the key moment of the game.
One of the most dangerous wingers in the world, Pastrňák scores that goal nine times out of 10. He completely burned Vatanen and was basically one-on-one with Wedgewood.
— Here's Your Replay ⬇️ (@HeresYourReplay) March 7, 2021
The save Wedgewood made was incredible and kept his team in the game. Palmieri’s goal, as crucial as it was, doesn’t mean as much without this save. This save also represented Wedgewood’s elite play throughout the game.
Player of the game: Scott Wedgewood
Wedgewood came into this game and did what, frankly, no one thought he’d do. The Devils came in in low spirits, as did their fans, who were beginning to give up on the season.
Wedgewood played as good a game as anyone could’ve asked for and he did it against a top team. He might have even earned himself some more starts in the near future. The Devils now have to build on this win that Wedgewood earned them.