NEWARK, N.J. — Captain Patrice Bergeron scored his 20th goal of the season and the Boston Bruins clinched their fifth straight playoff berth with a dominating 3-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Monday night.
Tuukka Rask stopped 20 shots for his second shutout of the season and Nick Ritchie broke a scoreless tie in the second period as the Bruins won their fourth straight game and ended the Devils’ three-game winning streak.
Defenseman Matt Grzelcyk scored on a deflection off Devils defenseman Ryan Murray late as the Bruins won for the 10th time in 12 games. Brad Marchand, who was playing in his 800th NHL game, and Bergeron got the assists on the third goal.
The win was the sixth in a row for Rask.
Boston got off to a dominating start. The Bruins took the first 11 shots of the game and limited New Jersey to nine in the first 40 minutes in taking a 2-0 lead. The Bruins finished with a 42-20 shots advantage.
Devils goalie Scott Wedgewood gave New Jersey a chance, stopping all 16 shots in the first period and 35 of 37 in the first 40 minutes. He finished with 39 saves.
Ritchie got the game’s opening goal at 9:08 of the second period, taking a cross-ice pass by defenseman Jakub Zboril and beating Wedgewood with a one-timer from the right circle.
Bergeron’s 20th was a perfect play by the “Perfection Line”. Marchand got the puck from David Pastrnak, skated around the Devils’ net and found Bergeron alone in front.
Rask’s toughest saves of the game came against Devils captain Nico Hischier. He made a pad save on a breakaway in the first period and stopped a backhand in close with under five minutes to play.
The Devils called up forward A.J. Greer from Binghamton on Monday and he was in the lineup. He was acquired from the Islanders in the deal that sent Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac to New York. This was his first NHL game in two years. His night ended in the third-period fight against Bruins defenseman Connor Clifton.
NOTES: Bruins D Mike Reilly got a night off after an 11-game run after being acquired from Ottawa. … Zboril was in the lineup for the first time in seven games. … Devils F Mikhail Maltsev missed the game. He sustained a lower-body injury after being hit by a shot in Philadelphia on Saturday. … Devils coach Lindy Ruff said D P.K. Subban and Jonas Siegenthaler are getting closer to skating with the team after being sidelined by COVID-19.
The teams finish their eight-game season series here Tuesday night. The Devils lead 4-1-2, while the Bruins are 3-3-1.