BOSTON (AP) — Michael Ryder and Milan Lucic scored on
deflections off New Jersey Devils players and the Eastern
Conference-leading Boston Bruins beat their closest challengers
The win clinched the Northeast Division title for Boston, which
locked up a playoff berth Saturday night when Florida lost to
The Bruins got another fluke goal when Marc Savard scored on a
power play on a rebound off New Jersey’s Travis Zajac, who had
stopped Matt Hunwick’s shot from the left point. And Chuck
Kobasew beat Martin Brodeur between the post and the goalie’s
left skate as Kobasew stood behind the goal line.
Andy Greene scored for New Jersey midway through the second
period, cutting the lead to 3-1. But the Bruins held the lead
three days after wasting a two-goal, third period advantage in a
3-2 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Kings.
The Bruins have 102 points with nine games left to 97 for New
Jersey, which has 10 remaining.
Boston had been struggling before cooling off a streaking team
and the winningest goalie in NHL history. The Bruins are 7-9-4
in their last 20 games after going 39-8-6. The Devils are 9-3 in
their last 12 and Brodeur is 9-2 since returning from biceps
Challenged by coach Claude Julien to work harder after Thursday
night’s loss, the Bruins responded. They even scored on their
first two power plays after Julien said they were “totally flat”
when they had the man advantage against the Kings.
On Boston’s first power play Sunday, Ryder scored his 25th goal
of the season. Mark Recchi centered the puck from the right
side, where it touched Ryder and continued to the other side of
the slot where it hit the skate of the Devils’ Paul Martin and
went past Brodeur.
The Bruins made it 2-0 just 1:52 into the second when Patrice
Bergeron passed the puck from the lower left corner to Kobasew,
who scored his 18th goal.
Savard, Boston’s leading scorer, then got his second goal in
four games after going 15 games without one when he scored on a
power play at 6:19 of the period.
Tim Thomas, the NHL leader in goals against average, gave up
Greene’s second goal of the season at 12:44 of the second
period. Greene kept skating to the net after passing from the
left point across the ice to Jamie Langenbrunner, who returned
the puck into the slot. Greene redirected it past Thomas.
But the Bruins regained the lead less than 5 minutes later on
Lucic’s 14th goal and first in 16 games. He skated in on the
left side and put the puck in front of the net where several
Devils and no Bruins were camped.
It hit the stick of defenseman Mike Mottau and ricocheted past