By DENIS P. GORMAN Associated Press
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Patrice Bergeron scored the tiebreaker with 4:08 remaining 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 like you get used to it,” Bergeron said of Ullmark, who won his 20th game of the season. “You don’t want to do that, though. … We’re a good team defensively. And I think you (have) to carry that on.”
Vitek Vanecek made 24 saves for New Jersey, which fell to 22-11-2. Nico Hischier scored for the Devils.
“We did all the things that we talk about,” Erik Haula said. “You have to play 60 minutes, especially when we we play against the best teams in the league. If you don’t play 60, you’re vulnerable. And we got to fix that. Like now.”
Bergeron tipped a shot by Lindholm past Vancek for his 14th goal of the season.
“That play by Bergeron,” Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said, “there’s not (enough) words to describe him. That’s a big-time goal. Not everyone goes to those hard areas. That’s why he scored. That’s why he has a thousand points. That’s why he’s our leader.”
With New Jersey trailing 1-0 entering the third, Hischier tied the game at the 6:11 mark with his 14th of the season. The Devils captain drove to the net and redirected Fabian Zetterlund’s centering pass past Ullmark.
Despite being 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. A few moments after killing a New Jersey power play, the Bruins attacked. Lindholm intercepted a clearing attempt and skated down the middle of the ice before dropping a pass for Frederic, who snapped 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 the process and details. That’s who we are. I think that’s our identity. We (have) to concentrate and put the emphasis on details.”
Zacha added an empty-netter for the Bruins.
NOTES: Prior to the game, the Devils announced defensemen Ryan Graves and John Marino were placed on injured reserve, retroactive to Dec. 21 and Dec. 20, respectively. In the corresponding roster move, right wing Tyce Thompson and defenseman Tyler Wotherspoon were recalled from AHL Utica. Wotherspoon was a healthy scratch, along with left wing Alexander Holtz and right wing Andreas Johnsson. … Devils defenseman Damon Severson played in his 600th NHL game. … Boston went 0-for-3 with a man advantage and killed both New Jersey power plays. …Third line left wing Taylor Hall was booed by the 16,514 in attendance every time he touched the puck. Hall spent parts of four seasons with New Jersey, including 2017-18 in which he won the Hart Trophy and led the Devils to the franchise’s first playoff berth since 2011-12.
Bruins: Host Buffalo on Saturday.
Devils: Visit Pittsburgh on Friday.