BOSTON — Patrice Bergeron made a triumphant return to the Boston lineup, scoring with 1:15 left to give the Bruins a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils Thursday night.
Bergeron, who missed the first three games of the season with a lower body injury, made his 2016-17 debut in his team’s home opener — and scored the winner off a pass from Brad Marchand.
Marchand, who tied the game 1-1 with 10:13 remaining, found Bergeron up high and Bergeron let a quick wrist shot go. Linemate David Pastrnak, covered by defenseman Kyle Quincey, crossed in front of Corey Schneider just as the puck got there, screening the goaltender.
The win was the third in four games for the Bruins, who went 2-1 on their opening trip without their most reliable forward in Bergeron.
Tuukka Rask stopped 28 shots in the Boston goal for his third victory in as many starts.
Schneider, a local product who also played at Boston College, was strong with 34 saves. He fell to 1-4-2 against his hometown team.
The Devils took a 1-0 lead when Kyle Palmieri connected on a power play goal 4:14 into the third period.
After Bergeron scored, the Bruins had to survive the final 49.9 seconds after David Backes, making his home debut with his new team, took a roughing penalty. The Devils (1-2-1) controlled the puck well but couldn’t get it past Rask, who has allowed five goals in three games.
The Devils, a young team that thrives on playing a defensive style, did just that in a game that was quiet for the first 40 minutes.
After two scoreless periods, the Devils broke through when Palmieri fired a screen shot from inside the left point that eluded Rask — Palmieri’s second goal of the season and the Devils third power play goal in two games.
The lead lasted until the 9:47 mark when Marchand, breaking down the right side on what looked like a harmless rush, used defenseman Andy Greene as a screen and fired a wrist shot through Greene’s legs and past Schneider on his right side.
It was Marchand’s third goal in four games.
Adam Jones breaks down 2-1 win with Dave Goucher & Bob Beers:
NOTES: With C Patrice Bergeron back after missing the first three games with a lower body injury, the Bruins sent C Austin Czarnik to Providence. Bergeron slid back into his spot on the top line, between LW Brad Marchand and RW David Pastrnak. … Bobby Orr, whose NHL career began 50 years ago this week, and Bruins legend Milt Schmidt, 98, dropped the ceremonial first puck. … Devils G Corey Schneider, who hails from nearby Marblehead and played at Boston College, said “It’s always special” to come home, adding, “Obviously it’s become a little bit more routine now but it’s still fun to be back. I feel like I was just here from the summer. Sometimes when I’m not here as often it’s a little bit different. But I don’t get to spend a lot of time here in the fall.” … The Devils hosted 2012 draft pick Alexander Kerfoot, currently at Harvard, at their morning skate. … New Jersey hosts the Minnesota Wild and Boston the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.