By: Jeff Playdon | Follow me on Twitter @PlaydonJeff
The regular-season finale is finally here, and the Bruins will take on the New Jersey Devils on Game 82 of the season. With the Bruins clinching the third seed before their win the night before against the Senators, this game will be a good tune-up for game one against Montreal. There are a couple of interesting storylines going into the regular-season finale. One of those regards Tyler Seguin. This would be Seguin’s last game for a bit and would be a healthy scratch for the playoffs.
The other interesting storyline regards 30-plus buses from Quebec making the trip to Newark. The reason for that is thousands of Nordique fans making a statement to bring back NHL hockey to Quebec. Tuukka Rask would get the starting nod as Tim Thomas was getting much-needed rest before the playoffs. Other notable Bruins getting rest were Zdeno Chara and Mark Recchi, who were back in Boston. The Devils starting goaltender would be Johan Hedberg. The Devils would be without Zach Parise, Jay Leach, David Steckel, Anton Volchenkov, Colin White, and Dainius Zubrus.
Tied After 1st Period
The puck was dropped, and the game was on. Boston looked to get on the board first, but it looked like New Jersey wanted it more. It only took 1:47 for a goal to be scored, thanks to a Patrick Elias wrist shot over Tuukka Rask’s glove. Six more minutes surpassed in the period, and the Bruins fourth line was able to draw a tripping penalty to give them the first powerplay of the night.
Boston’s powerplay was able to put a couple of shots on the net, but six seconds after the powerplay expired, Rich Peverly was able to pot in the rebound from a Dennis Seidenberg one-timer slapshot. The period continued, and with three minutes left, Seguin was whistled off for tripping, and the Devils had their first powerplay opportunity of the night. Boston’s penalty kill unit did a stellar job, and shortly after, the period came to a close all tied up at one. New Jersey led shots on net 14-11 and looked to carry momentum into the second period.
Devils Dominate 2nd Period
The second period was underway, and just a minute in, a scary site for Boston occurred. Johnny Boychuk was slammed into the end board and limped to the bench favoring his right leg. He would remain on the bench for the rest of the period. With no goals or penalties being called in the period, there was really no action until the 13:14 mark.
David Clarkson skated in one-on-one against Tuukka Rask, and Rask made an unbelievable old-school pad stack save. It would probably go down as Rask’s best save of the season. The second period quickly ended, and after two periods of play, the game was still tied at one. New Jersey dominated the Bruins in the shot category in the second period outshooting them 10-1! Not pretty at all for Boston. This was New Jersey’s game to win, by the looks of it.
On to the Playoffs
The third period was set, and there were only 20 minutes left of regular season play. Four minutes into the period, Vladamir Zharkov went glove high on Tuukka Rask to make it 2-1 New Jersey. As the period progressed, so did New Jersey’s domination. At 9:10 into the period, Alex Urbom had a swift wraparound goal to make it 3-1 Jersey. With roughly six minutes left to play, Lucic almost netted one but was stopped by Johan Hedberg’s glove. As the seconds dwindled down in the game and Nordique fans made their way down the stairs in the crowd, Chris Kelly was able to tip in the puck and make it just a 3-2 loss for Boston. That was it, though, and the final was 3-2 New Jersey.
The Bruins capped off the regular season with a loss which brought their record to 46-25-11 and 103 points. The three stars of the game were Vladamir Zharkov (one goal), Alexander Urbom (one goal, one hit), and Johan Hedberg (24 saves on 26 shots, two goals allowed). Even though it wasn’t the best way to end the regular season, at least no one got hurt, and everyone was healthy going into round one. Boston would host their archrivals, the Montreal Canadiens, in the first round of the playoffs starting April 14th at TD Garden.