May 3, 2021; Newark, New Jersey, United States; New Jersey Devils defenseman Ty Smith (24) slips into the goal while defending a shot against Boston Bruins left winger Jake DeBrusk (74) during the first period at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Catalina Fragoso-USA TODAY Sports
Tuukka Rask stopped all 20 shots he faced Monday night as the Boston Bruins clinched last playoff berth in the Eastern Division with a 3-0 win over the New Jersey Devils in Newark, NJ.
Nick Ritchie and Patrice Bergeron scored in the second period and Matt Grzelcyk added a goal late in the third for the Bruins (31-14-6, 68 points), who have made the playoffs in each of the past five seasons and in 12 of the last 14 seasons.
The Bruins ‘fourth straight win, coupled with the New York Islanders’ 4-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabers, propelled Boston to third place in the East, one point ahead of the Islanders.
The shutout was the second of the season and the second in five starts for Rask, who also shut out the Sabers in a 2-0 win on April 20.
Scott Wedgewood made 39 saves for the Devils (17-28-7, 41 points), whose three-game winning streak was interrupted.
The Bruins beat the Devils 17-4 in a scoreless first period before breaking through in the second.
A Bruins’ end-to-end run ended with Jakub Zboril passing on the ice to a wide-open Ritchie, who fired a shot from the right face-off circle that sailed past Wedgewood’s glove. at 9:08.
A second effort led to the Bruins’ second goal just under nine minutes later.
Wedgewood deflected a shot from David Pastrnak before Brad Marchand blocked the rebound. Marchand skated around the net and gave in to Bergeron, who was surrounded by five Devils skaters while managing to get the puck between Wedgewood’s legs with 2:06 left in the middle of the period.
The Devils made seven of the first nine shots in the third, but only threatened once, when point-blank wringer Jesper Boqvist sailed over the net with 3:27 left.
The Bruins froze the win 44 seconds later, when Grzelcyk received credit for the goal when his shot from the blue line glanced at Devils defenseman Ryan Murray and flew past Wedgewood.
– Field-level media