BUFFALO — Blake Speers had a pair of goals and Brandon Gignac had a tally and an assist in the New Jersey Devils, 4-3, loss against the Boston Bruins Sunday at the 2016 Prospect Challenge.
Despite Speers’ and Gignac’s performances, the Devils couldn’t replicate the offensive success from their 6-3 victory against the Buffalo Sabres the night before. Interestingly enough, Speers had a goal and an assist in that game and Gignac potted a pair and added a helper.
On Sunday at HarborCenter, the Bruins owned a 39-25 shot advantage, including a 12-1 differential to start the game.
“I thought Boston had pretty good jump,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky. “For two periods, they won more battles. I thought their speed game was a little different than Buffalo last night. They made some plays. We were really chasing.”
The Bruins took control of the game during the second period, scoring a shorthanded tally and a 5-on-3 goal. Anton Blidh scored with the man-down at 9:55 and Jake DeBrusk followed on the power play at 15:19.
Gignac cut into the deficit at 7:24 of the third, but Boston’s Rob O’Gara scored seconds later at 7:45 to regain the two-goal lead.
Speers’ second of the game came off the rush at 10:43 to produce the final result.
“I don’t think we created enough tonight,” Speers said. “We got outshot pretty badly. For whatever reason we weren’t getting the pucks first and couldn’t generate too many Grade-A, quality scoring chances. That hurt us tonight.”
The two teams had exchanged goals during the first period. Boston’s Colton Hargrove started the scoring at 2:31. The Devils responded with a 5-on-3 power play goal off Speers’ stick. Michael McLeod and John Quenneville had the assists.
Netminder Evan Cormier made his second consecutive start and played the first 20 minutes. He made 13 saves against the Bruins and finished the weekend with 22 stops on 23 shots. Mackenzie Blackwood played the final two periods and made 22 stops.
Next up, the majority of the Devils’ players will participate in the NHL Training Camp, which begins later this week.. The Prospect Challenge continues Monday when the Sabres and Bruins face off at 7 pm.