Devils no match for NHL-leading Bruins

Patrice Bergeron scored the tiebreaker with 4:08 left in the third period and the Boston Bruins beat the New Jersey Devils 3-1 on Wednesday night.

Trent Frederic and Pavel Zacha also scored for NHL-leading Boston, which improved to 28-4-3. Linus Ullmark made 26 saves.

“It’s almost getting used to,” Bergeron said of Ullmark, who won its 20th game of the season. “You don’t want to do that, though. … We are a good team defensively. And I think you (must) continue this.

Vitek Vanecek made 24 saves for New Jersey, which fell to 22-11-2. Nico Hischier scored for the Devils.

“We’ve done all the things we’re talking about,” said Erik Haula. “You have to play 60 minutes, especially when you play against the best teams in the league. If you don’t play 60, you are vulnerable. And we have to fix that. Like now.”

Patrice Bergeron (No. 37) celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal in the Devils’ 3-1 loss to the Bruins.
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Bergeron swung a Lindholm shot past Vancek for his 14th goal of the season.

“That Bergeron game,” Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said, “there aren’t (enough) words to describe it. It’s a big goal. Not everyone goes to these difficult areas. That’s why he scored. That’s why he has a thousand points. That’s why he’s our leader.

With New Jersey leading 1-0 entering the third, Hischier tied the game at 6:11 with his 14th of the season. The Devils captain headed for the net and redirected Fabian Zetterlund’s center pass past Ullmark.

Nico Hischier is mobbed by his teammates after scoring a goal in the Devils 3-1 loss.
Nico Hischier is mobbed by his teammates after scoring a goal in the Devils 3-1 loss.
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Although they were outplayed for most of the first two periods, it was the Bruins who broke through first. Frederic gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead 8:57 into the second period with his seventh goal of the season. Moments after killing off a New Jersey power play, the Bruins attacked. Lindholm intercepted a punt attempt and skated to the middle of the ice before dropping a pass to Frederic, who fired a quick shot past Vanecek from the high slot.

“Once you take care of the process, the results fall in line,” Bergeron said. “For me, it’s all about process and detail. It’s who we are. I think it’s our identity. We (must) concentrate and emphasize the details.

Zacha added an empty net for the Bruins.

Prior to the game, the Devils announced that defensemen Ryan Graves and John Marino had been placed on injured reserve, retroactive to December 21 and 20, respectively.

In the corresponding move, right wing Tyce Thompson and defenseman Tyler Wotherspoon were recalled from AHL Utica. Wotherspoon was left out, as were left winger Alexander Holtz and right winger Andreas Johnsson.

Devils defenseman Damon Severson played in his 600th NHL game. … Boston went 0 for 3 with a power play and killed both New Jersey power plays. … Third-line left wing Taylor Hall was booed by the 16,514 spectators every time he touched the puck. Hall spent four seasons with New Jersey, including 2017-18 in which he won the Hart Trophy and led the Devils to first place in the franchise playoffs since 2011-12.

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