Newcomer Jagr, Rask lift Bruins by Devils for third straight win

Posted April 04, 2013, at 10:57 p.m.
Last modified April 04, 2013, at 11:37 p.m.

BOSTON — He had just scored the game’s only goal in his first game with his latest new team. He played almost 19 minutes, had a team-high five shots on goal and was clearly the player everyone came to see on what turned out to be a special night.

And when it was over, Jaromir Jagr said he was exhausted – and was apologizing.

“I told them (new linemates Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand), I’ve got to get better,” he said after he scored 1:20 into the second period and Tuukka Rask stopped all 40 shots in a 1-0 victory over the struggling New Jersey Devils for Boston’s third straight win. “I felt bad for them, they had to play with me. But I’ve got to get better, that’s for sure.

“I was very tired. I’ve got to get better for sure.”

Jagr, acquired Tuesday from Dallas for two young players and a draft pick that could turn out to be a first rounder, said the events of the last few days; the surprise of getting traded, moving to Boston and not sleeping much Wednesday night, were all factors in his being weary.

Remember, we’re talking about a 41-year-old guy here.

“Like I said, I’ve got to get better for sure,” he said. “I’ve got to get better so it’s going to be easier for them.”

His new coach was impressed. So were his new linemates.

“He’s good. He did a great job for a guy that just arrived yesterday and didn’t really practice with us much,” said coach Claude Julien. “He played his game. His goal was something we like to see and it’s called net drive.

“It doesn’t have to be a highlight goal but he was heading to the net and he wasn’t going to be pushed to the side and it went off his skate and in; so that’s a good example for the rest of the younger guys on the team to take from a guy who is still doing it at that age.”

Jagr, playing with Seguin, who shifted to center with Patrice Bergeron out with another concussion, was tied up with Bryce Salvador on a rush when Marchand’s pass hit his left skate and went past Martin Brodeur; both Jagr and Brodeur products of the 1990 NHL draft.

It was the 680th goal of Jagr’s Hall of Fame career and he noted he might not have wanted to score that way when he was 25, but will take what he can get now.

The crowd broke into a loud chant of “Ya-ger, Ya-ger” after he scored; the goal giving him nine points in his last eight games.

On a normal night, Rask would have been the story. He was sharp from the start and got help from a couple of posts in the first period in pitching his third shutout of the season

Rask, who sat out the last two games as backup Anton Khudobin played very well and won both (one a shutout), got in some work with goalie coach Bob Essenza and the work paid off. He was tested early as the Devils, still playing without the injured Ilya Kovalchuk (shoulder) had 17 shots in the first period.

The Bruins (28-8-4) have allowed just two goals during their winning streak; but have yielded 87 shots (and two goals) in wins over Ottawa and New Jersey. Julien admits he’s concerned.

The win kept Boston one point behind Montreal, which defeated Carolina, in the Northeast Division standing. The Bruins have a game in hand and visit Montreal on Saturday night.

The Devils, meanwhile, lost their fifth straight (0-2-3) as they try to stay alive in the chase for a playoff spot. The loss knocked New Jersey (15-13-9) into ninth place.

The Bruins notched their sixth straight win over the Devils and are 10-1 in the last 11 games against New Jersey.

“The guys did everything we asked them to do but score,” said New Jersey coach Pete DeBoer, whose team was blanked for the first time this season. “You can’t fault their effort or their execution in the game plan. That’s a good team, tough building and I thought we played a heck of a road game.”

David Clarkson had seven shots on goal and also hit a post.

The Bruins got their only power play at 7:05 of the second period, and this is where Jagr should really help. He stayed out for the entire two minutes, had one shot and made a couple of nifty passes.

NOTES: Jagr, talking after the morning skate, said, “I’m not 25 anymore. I don’t think this team really needs it (a savior). They won the Cup two years ago, and when you look at their top guys, they’re still here, so they know they can do it. For me, I wish I can somehow help the team to produce better and play better.” … Jagr was greeted by an ovation from the sparse crowd on hand to see the Bruins come out for the pre-game skate; and a bigger welcome coming out before the game — and even-bigger one when he hit the ice for his first shift 1:16 into the game. … Kaspars Daugavins, claimed off waivers from Ottawa last week, also made his Bruins debut, but newly acquired defenseman Wade Redden didn’t. No word on whether he will Saturday night. … Steve Sullivan, acquired by the Devils from Phoenix for a seventh-round pick, will join the team and debut Saturday against Toronto in Newark. He came up with New Jersey in 1995. … Marc Savard, his career apparently over because of concussions, took to Twitter to welcome Jagr. “Jagr going to have huge night,” he tweeted, adding, “Wish I could suit up with one of the greatest players of all time.”

Flyers 5, Maple Leafs 3

TORONTO — Jay Rosehill scored the winning goal as the Philadelphia Flyers extended their season-high win streak to four games with a 5-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night.

The Loss snaps Toronto’s three-game win streak. The Leafs (20-13-4) also had points in eight straight games entering Thursday.

Brayden Schenn gave the Flyers a 3-2 lead just 54 seconds into the second period. Then Rosehill sent Philadelphia (17-17-3) to its first two-goal lead of the game with just under five minutes remaining in the period. Both goals came off Leafs turnovers.

James van Riemsdyk got Toronto within one nearly seven minutes into the third, beating Ilya Bryzgalov in tight for his 15th goal of the season, but that’s as close as the Maple Leafs would get.

Luke Schenn picked scored an empty-netter with 16 seconds remaining in the third.

The bigger loss for Toronto came in the first period when Leafs sniper Joffrey Lupul was sandwiched by Rosehill and Adam Hall. Lupul was slow getting to the Toronto bench and went to the dressing room soon after. He played just three shifts and 1:40. The team announced soon after that Lupul suffered an upper-body injury.

After the hit, Rosehill and Maple Leafs tough guy Colton Orr dropped the gloves. The two know each other well, having played together for Toronto’s AHL affiliate during the 2011-12 season.

It’s Lupul’s second injury of the season after he missed 25 games with a broken arm suffered in January.

The 29-year-old has eight goals and six assists in 10 games this season. He was named the NHL’s first star for last week after leading the league with five goals and four assists in four games.

Lupul suffered a season-ending shoulder injury on March 6, 2012. In all, Lupul has played in just 11 games since Randy Carlyle took over from Ron Wilson behind the Maple Leafs bench on March 2, 2012.

The two teams exchanged four goals in the opening 20 minutes.

Philadelphia’s Ruslan Fedotenko extended his point streak assisting on Simone Gagne’s fourth of the season 1:19 into the game.

Before the four-minute mark, Nikolai Kulemin tied it 1-1, putting home the rebound off a Dion Phaneuf point shot. Kulemin now has five points in five games. Nazem Kadri picked up his team-leading 40th point with an assist on the goal.

John-Michael Liles gave Toronto its first lead of the night, beating Bryzgalov with a blast from the point for his second goal of the season near the midway mark of the first.

With less than 1 1/2 minutes remaining in the opening period, Jakub Voracek picked up his team-leading 16th goal of the season. Couturier now has points in four straight games.

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