A three-game winning streak had the Devils feeling good entering the final week of the regular season. The Devils have been able to figure out the Boston Bruins all season long, but that luck ran out in the penultimate meeting between the two teams this season.
Boston's 3-0 win over the Devils was the first regulation win by the Bruins in seven tries. The victory allowed the Bruins to exercise their demons against the Devils this season while also clinching a spot in the postseason as one of four teams from the East division.
Nick Ritchie lit the lamp to put the Bruins on the board in the second period. His 14th goal of the season put the Bruins ahead, 1-0. Later in the second, Patrice Bergeron's 20th goal of the season doubled the lead at 2-0 before intermission. As the Devils attempted to climb back into the game, Matt Grzelcyk's fifth goal of the season on a redirect put the game on ice.
Tukka Rask stopped all 20 shots from the Devils on the night for the shutout.
Devils short on shots
The most glaring statistic on Monday night was the shot differential between the teams. The first 11 shots on goal were all from the sticks of Bruins players as the Devils were not credited with a shot on goal until more than eight minutes into the game. In fact, Boston nearly outshot the Devils in the first period alone.
The Bruins had 17 shots on goal in the first period, compared to only four from the Devils in the first 20 minutes and 20 total shots on the night. Boston added another 20 shots in the second period when they broke through for two goals to take the lead for good.
Wedgewood tested often
Scott Wedgewood had his first start since April 22 on Monday night and the Bruins let him make up for some lost time. Wedgewood had 39 saves on the night, one shy of a season high and two away from the most in a single game in his career.
Wedgewood turned aside the first 25 shots he faced on Monday before Ritchie's shot broke the scoreless tie.
Bruins playoff bound
The magic number for the Bruins was down to only one. All that Boston needed Monday night was to at least head to overtime with the Devils. A win in regulation gave the Bruins 68 points and clinching the final playoff spot in the East division.
The Rangers are eliminated from playoff contention with Boston's victory.