The New Jersey Devils had solid performances from upcoming prospects. But their effort was not enough to overcome the 2019 Stanley Cup Finalists, especially in the first period, where New Jersey was outshot 13 to 5, which could have been worse without spectacular play by Mackenzie Blackwood.
Boston finally cashed in with about six minutes left in the first period, when a deflected pass in front of the net went off of Jack Studnicka’s face. After the goal, the Devils didn’t exactly respond, failing to convert on their second power play of the evening. After a rude awakening from John Hynes, New Jersey played much better but still couldn’t get on the scoreboard in the second period. Worth noting is that Nathan Bastian held his own when challenged to a fight against Jeremy Lauzon. It can’t be easy to turn around and drop the gloves when you have no intention of doing so initially.
The third period was pretty even, but a goal just over a minute in sealed the deal for the Bruins. This time it was David Backes, who took advantage of Mirco Mueller’s gap control to put in a backhand. The game ended at 2-0 despite pressure by Nikita Gusev, Nico Hischier, and Jesper Boqvist in the final minutes.
This game was unlike the new-look Devils, failing to score on 29 shots and 4 power plays. Not to mention the defense was lackluster, which we may have to expect without Will Butcher and P.K. Subban. Even Andy Greene and Damon Severson were a part of the problem, with constant turnovers and poor breakout attempts. The two shining lights on defense were Ty Smith and Matt Tennyson, who out-performed their expectations. Smith moved the puck masterfully on the power play but needs to improve in his own zone. Matt Tennyson had 3 shots on net and didn’t get scored on, which is my bar for success with Devils’ defensemen. However, it will be interesting to see if the Devils put Tennyson on the 23 man roster, with 7 defensemen on one-way deals and Ty Smith chomping at the bit.
Devils’ Next Game
The Devils will head to Columbus on Friday for their final pre-season matchup versus the Blue Jackets at 7:00PM ET.