DENVER (AP) — Brian Boyle takes his role on the power play seriously, so he was happy to contribute and give New Jersey another close victory.
Boyle scored a go-ahead goal early in the third period, Jesper Bratt had a goal and an assist and the Devils beat the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 on Friday night.
Corey Schneider stopped 22 shots for the Devils, who won in defenseman Sami Vatanen’s debut with New Jersey.
Vatanen played his first game for the Devils after being acquired from Anaheim on Thursday. New Jersey gave up forwards Adam Henrique and Joseph Blandisi for the top-four defenseman, and he was given a full workload against Colorado. He had a team-high 22:47 of ice time.
“Actually I felt really good. I was surprised about that,” Vatanen said. “I just kept playing my game and tried not to think too much.”
J.T. Compher scored for Colorado and Semyon Varlamov had 19 saves.
Boyle broke a 1-1 tie with his fourth of the season when he knocked in a rebound on the power play at 13:11 of the third period. He took a couple of whacks at it after Varlamov fumbled Taylor Hall’s initial shot, and the second one went in.
“I tried to go high at first and then he lifted his pad up so I just tried to jam it in. It was nice that it went in,” Boyle said. “Especially quick plays like that, you just want to get a good piece of the puck and fortunately for me I did.
“It’s a lot of responsibility (being on the power play). You have to contribute.”
The win was the Devils’ 10th in one-goal games this season.
Neither team had great scoring chances through the first 30 minutes before the Devils cashed in on their best one on a turnover.
New Jersey took a 1-0 lead when Colorado defenseman Nikita Zadorov sent a blind backhander from behind the net toward the left circle. Bratt picked it up and beat Varlamov for his eighth of the season at 13:58 of the second.
“I thought there was only one guy forechecking. I can’t make those plays, I got to double check,” Zadorov said. “I saw one guy dump it in and he came from the other side of the net. I thought that guy might change, but he didn’t.
“Cost us the game. I think I made a bad play on the second…