NEWARK, N.J. (AP) – Patrik Elias knew Tuukka Rask was in a tough spot after the Boston goalie took over for the injured Tim Thomas with 1:10 left in regulation.
Elias victimized the substitute with his second goal of the game with 1:44 left in overtime, and the New Jersey Devils extended their winning streak to eight with a 4-3 comeback victory over the Bruins on Wednesday night.
“You wouldn’t want to be in his position,” Elias said. “It’s tough for a goalie. We knew right away we wanted to test him. He couldn’t see that shot with a screen in front of him.”
On the winner, Elias took a drop pass from Zach Parise and beat Rask with a screened shot that went between Boston defenceman Andrew Alberts’ legs.
Rask came in for Thomas after the starter fell awkwardly while trying to snare a deflected shot and had to leave the game.
“We’re not 100 per cent sure what the injury is,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “He’s still being evaluated. Rask was put in a tough position. Don’t blame him for the last goal.”
Parise also scored twice, and Martin Brodeur made 23 saves to help the Devils overcome a three-goal deficit. Zdeno Chara, Glen Murray and Dennis Wideman had first-period goals for Boston.
“We knew that the first period was gross,” Parise said. “There was no panic. It was a matter of waking up. We weren’t out of the game. It shows the difference between the team now and when the streak started. We’re more resilient and it’s fun to win.”
Parise lifted the Devils into the overtime with his second goal with 5:57 remaining in regulation. The goal was affirmed by a video review after Parise deflected Sheldon Brookbank’s point shot past Thomas with a chopping motion.
The replay confirmed Parise had not raised his stick too high.
New Jersey kept the winning streak alive with a strong comeback from the 3-0 first-period deficit.
Chara got Boston rolling with a blue-line shot at 6:21 that appeared to deflect off Devils defenceman Vitaly Vishnevski before eluding Brodeur at 6:21.
Murray upped the lead to 2-0 at 11:36 with a shot from the high slot following a Devils turnover in their zone.
Wideman, set up by Savard, beat Brodeur from the top of the left circle for a power-play goal at 16:40.
The assist extended Savard’s point-scoring streak to 11, longest in the league this season.
The Devils were much sharper in the second period, getting goals from Elias and Parise to cut the Bruins lead to 3-2.
Elias deflected Brian Gionta’s shot past Thomas at 6:51 to put New Jersey on the board. The assist was the 100th for Gionta.
Terrific sustained pressure on a power play paid off as Parise slipped the puck past Thomas at 15:51.
New Jersey almost got the equalizer in the closing seconds as Thomas made a spectacular diving stop to deny Parise.
Chances were few in the tense third period. In one of the few stretches of end-to-end action, Brodeur stopped Murray on the doorstep with 12 minutes remaining. On the transition, Thomas turned aside David Clarkson’s drive from the right wing.
Savard, taking a long lead pass from Murray, almost added a fourth Boston goal with under 8 minutes left. Savard’s hard shot trickled behind Brodeur who knocked it away at the last second.
It was costly miss as Parise got the equalizer about two minutes later and the Devils were on their way to another win.
And Julien lost an opportunity for some payback. He faced the Devils for the first time since they fired him with three games remaining last season and the club in first place in the Atlantic Division.
“Payback for me is winning the game for all the right reasons,” Julien said.
Notes: Devils LW Jay Pandolfo missed a third straight game because of a groin injury. … Marc Savard is 2-16-18 on his scoring streak. … This was final stop on a six-game road swing for the Bruins who wound up 3-3. … The Devils finally settled on a captain, giving the “C” to Jamie Langenbrunner. Elias was the captain last season. “I made it very clear I wanted time and the coaches wanted time to decide who the person would be,” coach Brent Sutter said. “The time has come.”