Newly signed Boston Bruins right wing Jaromir Jagr, left, laughs while talking to New Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur before their game Thursday in Boston. (Reuters/Brian Snyder)
BOSTON - Jaromir Jagr, brought to Boston to provide a little extra offensive pop, scored the game's only goal and Tuukka Rask stopped 40 shots, leading the Bruins to their third straight victory, a 1-0 decision over the struggling New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.
The Bruins (28-8-4) have allowed just two goals during their winning streak.
The Devils, meanwhile, lost their fifth straight game (0-2-3) as they try to stay alive in the chase for the bottom playoff spots in the East Conference. New Jersey (15-13-9) is the defending conference champion.
Jagr, acquired from the Dallas Stars for two players and a draft pick (potentially a first rounder) Tuesday, was a presence from the start and scored his 15th goal of the season (more than any of his new teammates) 80 seconds into the second period.
Jagr, playing on a line with Tyler Seguin shifting to center (with Patrice Bergeron out with another concussion) and Brad Marchand, finished with a team-high five shots on the goal in 18:51 of ice time.
The crowd broke into a loud chant of "Ya-ger, Ya-ger" after he scored the 680th goal of his NHL career. The goal gave the future Hall of Famer nine points in his last eight games.
Rask, who sat out the last two games as backup Anton Khudobin played very well and won both (one a shutout), was sharp from the start as the Devils, still playing without the injured Ilya Kovalchuk (shoulder) had 17 shots in the first period.
It was the third shutout of the year and 14th of his career for Rask, who outdueled future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur to go to 16-5-4 on the season.
The Bruins notched their sixth straight win over the Devils and are 10-1 in the last 11 games against New Jersey.
The Bruins got their first power play at 7:05, the power play the most in need with the acquisition of Jagr. Staying out for the entire two minutes, he had one shot stopped by Brodeur and made a couple of nifty passes.
In the minutes following the power play, the Devils went back to putting the pressure on, with Dainius Zubrus hit the crossbar and Clarkson, who had four shots on goal in the first period, hitting a post.
NOTES: Jagr, meeting the media 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 pregame 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 was not on hand. Daugavins dressed in place of Jordan Caron, who has just two points, both assists, in 13 games. ... 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. ... Boston center Chris Kelly, out since suffering a broken tibia March 11, is closing in on a return. ... Marc Savard, his career apparently over because of concussions, took to Twitter Thursday to welcome Jagr to Boston. "Jagr going to have huge night," he tweeted, adding, "Wish I could suit up with one of the greatest players of all time." .. Hard to believe? Both Jagr and Brodeur were picked in the 1990 NHL draft.