When the game ended, Bruins defenseman Torey Krug was facedown on the ice, his stick stretched out in front of him, pointed at the Devils’ net.
His last-second shot had been blocked, the puck shunted aside, and the buzzer sounded on the Devils’ unconventional 4-3 victory. The Bruins gave up four power-play goals as they gave New Jersey its first road victory of the season.
“It’s tough,’’ said Krug, who took a double minor penalty for high sticking at 16:45 of the third period that helped set up New Jersey’s frantic finish, two power-play scores in 23 seconds sending the Devils bouncing past the Bruins.
“You can never take anything for granted in this league,’’ said Krug. “And we were on the bad side of it this time and in our own building. We had the lead in the third period; we’ve got to close out games, so we have to do a better job.’’
The Bruins were nursing a 3-2 late in the third period when Krug went into the deep left corner of the Bruins’ zone with the Devils’ Damien Brunner, both players trying to get control of the puck. Krug swung around and his stick knocked Brunner in the face, drawing blood and a double minor.
“I was just going in to battle with the guy and I stuck him in the face,’’ a disconsolate Krug said. “Didn’t mean to.”
At 18:11, Patrice Bergeron took a delay-of-game penalty when he flung the puck over the glass and the Bruins were staring at a 5-on-3 power play, against a Devils team that already had scored twice with a one-man advantage. To make sure, the Devils pulled goalie Martin Brodeur for a 6-on-3 advantage and Marek Zidlicky tied the game. With Brodeur back in the net, Andy Greene got the final power-play goal of the game.
“When you allow four power-play goals in a game that’s not a good sign for a win,’’ said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “I thought we had many mediocre players tonight.’’
It was a particularly tough night for Krug and the Bruins penalty killers.
“They did a good job,’’ said Krug, “but at the same time, we’ve got to do a better job of clearing pucks out and winning battles. I was out there for two of those goals. I wish I did a better job of clearing pucks and winning battles.”
The Bruins seemed to have the game in hand after taking a two-goal lead in a 1:27 spurt in the first period. But the Bruins’ penalty kill, normally a point of pride for the team, fell flat. Adam Henrique knocked in a rebound of Eric Gelinas’s point shot in the first, and Brunner made it 3-2 when he swiped a backhand between Tuukka Rask’s pad and the left post at 19:32 of the second.
“[The Devils] came up faster [in the second],’’ said Krug. “I don’t know if we were prepared for that or whatever may be the case. Maybe we didn’t play our style in the second period and they took it to us. Once again, we’ve got to try to do a better job.’’
Krug had a bright start to his game with a power-play goal at 7:52 that gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead. With Milan Lucic blocking the front of the net, the young defenseman took a pass from Jarome Iginla at the right point and flung a wrist shot past Brodeur for his fourth goal of the season.
“I got a nice pass from Iggy,’’ Krug said, shrugging. “We talked about shooting pucks tonight, and I did that and it went in somehow.’’
But Krug was in no mood to talk about scoring goals. He was still stewing about not stopping goals.