On Monday, the Bruins faced off against the Devils in Brad Marchand’s 800th career game. Tuukka Rask faced off against Scott Wedgewood at the Prudential Center.
The Bruins came into the game as the fourth-ranked team in the East division at 30-14-6. The Devils haven’t been as lucky this year, posting a 17-27-7 record going into Monday’s game.
In an absolutely dominant performance, Boston came away with the 3-0 victory, outshooting New Jersey 42-20. Boston outshot the Devils 17-4 in the first period and 18-5 in the second, showing their dominance in both offense and defense. The Bruins were actually outshot in the third period, but the all-time saves leader for the franchise didn’t disappoint.
Tuukka Rask saved 20 shots in his second shutout performance of the year. While he didn’t have to put up much of an effort to get the win, it’s always a confidence booster when a netminder lets in zero goals in 60 minutes played.
“This is a great accomplishment; it’s definitely not easy,” said Rask after winning his sixth consecutive game and getting his second shutout in five games. “You look at our division it’s tough, there’s no room to have slumps. You’ve got to be able to keep up with other teams. We’ve had our ups and downs, but I think lately we’ve kind of found our game and our identity and kind of stuck to it.”
Goals were scored by Nick Ritchie, Patrice Bergeron and Matt Grzelcyk. Ritchie started off the scoring by scoring a one-timer on the right hash about halfway through the second period.
Bergeron’s 20th goal of the year put the Bruins up 2-0 late in the second when he tapped in a pass from Brad Marchand right in front of the net. Grzelcyk’s goal was scored due to a deflection off of Devils defenseman Ryan Murray.
Scott Wedgewood gave the Devils a chance in this game, earning the second star with his 39 saves and .929 save percentage. But since the Devils’ offense couldn’t do virtually anything until the third period, Wedgewood’s performance was to no avail. Even Devils head coach Lindy Ruff showed his praise for the Bruins performance.
“I think we saw a completely different Bruins team,” Ruff said. “They were ramped up, getting ready for the playoffs and knew they could clinch. Those two top lines have a lot of speed, and the defense has a lot of speed. I just thought they brought their ‘A’ game.”
With their win and the Islanders’ surprising loss at the Sabres, Boston clinched a playoff berth and moved into third place in the division. With all four East division playoff spots locked up, the only question to be answered is who will face who in the playoffs.
If the playoffs ended today, the Capitals (#1 seed) would face the Islanders (#4 seed) and the Penguins (#2 seed) would go up against the Bruins (#3 seed). However, with a division separated by only four points from the one and four seeds, anything can happen.
The Bruins are 8-2 in their last 10 games and are tied for the longest winning streak in the NHL with Carolina and Florida. The Bruins are getting hot at the exact right time and ever since trading for Taylor Hall, they’ve looked like the team to beat in the East. With the ‘Perfection Line’ of Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak, this team is one to be reckoned with come playoff time.