If you are a fan of wide-open, offensive hockey, the Garden was not the place you wanted to be last night.

On the other hand, connoisseurs of a purer form of NHL play — gritty, tightly checked, physical — might have regarded the Bruins' 2-1 shootout win against the New Jersey Devils as a classic.

Coaches and players talk a lot about the the necessity of going the "dirty areas" of the ice. For 65 minutes last night, every square inch of the sheet was dirty.

"They're a very tough team to play against," said Brad Marchand, who scored the decisive goal in the shootout not long after the B's, smothered by the Devils much of the evening, got the tying tally from Nathan Horton with 4:05 left in the third period.

"They really don't give you a whole lot of time and space. Especially in our second game of back-to-back nights, they didn't give us a whole lot."