NEWARK, N.J. — It probably won’t get him traded the way it did Joe Thornton back in Nov. 2005, but Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron lost a draw clean to John Madden tonight that led to the game-deciding goal.
The faceoff took place in the dot to the left of goaltender Tim Thomas, and the right-shooting Bergeron was just flat-out beat by the left-shooting Madden, who slid the puck to Bryce Salvadore for the lone goal in a 1-0 New Jersey win tonight at Prudential Center.
“He won it clean. You’ve got to try to tie him up. I wasn’t able to do it and that’s it,” said Bergeron after the game.
For the night Madden, who doesn’t even rank among the NHL’s top 30 faceoff men, was credited with seven faceoff wins in 11 chances. The Devils as a team, according to the official stats, won 58 percent of the faceoffs.
But head coach Claude Julien said he didn’t fault his club’s efforts at the dot or anywhere on the rink.
“I think our team battled well in all areas. I think we did a good job,” he said. “There’s not much I really can say about our hockey team tonight except for the fact that somehow we didn’t find a way to get the puck past him.”
Among the players who gave a monster effort was Bergeron, who fired seven shots on net without a goal. While he seemed to have a little extra jump in his step in his effort to break an alm0st-three-month scoring drought, he said he was playing at the same level he has since his return from a concussion a couple weeks ago.
“I felt the same. I felt good. I’ve been feeling good since I came back,” said Bergeron.
The center was also as positive about his team’s effort as his coach was.
“The way we showed up today is the way we’ve got to play, the way we’ve got to win, it’s the way we’ve been winning games,” Bergeron explained.
The Bruins have now dropped two of three to New Jersey this season, which makes the Devils the fourth team to beat the Bruins twice this season. Next time they play, March 22 at TD Banknorth Garden, Julien knows what his team has to do to get the necessary offense to prevail. Although the Devils do their best to deny the inside, the Bruins have to make it a point to get there at all costs.
“It’s just a matter of you’ve got to work; you’ve got to work to get there,” said Julien. “You can’t hold, you can’t clutch, you can’t grab, so we’ve got to work our way in there. And if you do that, then you probably force them to take more penalties — which I thought they might’ve had a few more tonight, but that’s another thing.”