The Bruins are clinging to the last playoff spot in the East, so every point is priceless. The Devils are mostly playing for pride: the pride of denying the Bruins those points, and the pride of sending NESN homer announcer Jack Edwards’s voice into previously unreached registers. It’s really the one thing the entire NHL can agree on.
New Jersey held off Boston for a 1-0 win on Sunday, thanks to Mackenzie Blackwood’s 40-save shutout, his first of the season. That’d be satisfying enough, but the way all the breaks went against the Bruins—and the multiple times they thought they had broken through, only to be checked by the merciless all-seeing eye of replay—makes it downright delectable. Consider: Edwards’s indignation over a non-call on the Devils in the waning seconds of the second.
Was Edwards right to be upset? Did David Krejci get tripped by Pavel Zacha? My answer, the correct answer, is some variation of I don’t care. Because you’re asking the wrong question. The NHL in the middle of some fundamental self-examination of situational refereeing, and yet I think everyone around the league concedes that the guiding principle for officials ought to always be: Make the call that will outrage Jack Edwards.
With the Devils still staked to their 1-0 lead, the Bruins—and Edwards—thought they had the tying goal with 70 seconds left in the game when Patrice Bergeron potted a loose puck. But the Devils’ challenge revealed that Krejci had jarred the puck loose from under Blackwood’s glove, and the officials waved off the goal. To the consternation of Edwards, who disbelievingly recited the very clear rule explaining why it should have been disallowed.
The Bruins got their best and final chance of the afternoon one minute later, but Blackwood groin-tearingly stretched across the crease to get his right toe on a bouncing puck just before it crossed the goal line. A lengthy review ensued, but not even a defeated-sounding Edwards could argue with this one.
“It was an unbelievable move on Blackwood’s part,” Devils head coach Lindy Ruff said. “That’s some serious stretching, some serious yoga, some serious control on his part to make sure that he isn’t the one that makes it go the rest of the way over the line.”
The Bruins have now gone 309:58 this season without scoring at 5-on-5 against New Jersey, and Blackwood and Scott Wedgewood have combined for a 121:06 shutout streak. Those are impressive stats. But an even more impressive stat, confirmed with the Elias Sports Bureau, is New Jersey’s streak of Jack Edwards Infuriations. We all pray their run continues.