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game recap

Bruins pad lead for second in Atlantic with win against Devils

Have six-point edge after top line scores three times

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

Bergeron buries Pastrnak's feed

BOS@NJD: Pastrnak, Bergeron connect for opening tally

David Pastrnak finds an open Patrice Bergeron at the doorstep, where he slams the puck into the net late in the 1st period

  • 01:03 •

NEWARK, N.J. -- The Boston Bruins extended their lead for second place in the Atlantic Division with a 5-1 win against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Thursday.

The line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak combined for eight points for the Bruins (45-20-9), who have won three straight and moved six points ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs with eight games remaining.


[WATCH: All Bruins vs. Devils highlights]


"When [Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak] are going, they pull the rest of the guys along," Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said. "It's been a bit of a story earlier in the year, and now we're seeing more secondary scoring, but they're are go-to guys and drivers. Most teams have that in your top six, and we're no exception."

Cory Schneider made 22 saves for the Devils (27-39-9), who are 2-9-1 in their past 12 games and have been eliminated from Stanley Cup Playoff contention.

Video: BOS@NJD: Pastrnak finishes Marchand's terrific feed

"That first line has very good players, with very good chemistry," New Jersey defenseman Andy Greene said. "They know where they are and where each other is all the time."

Pastrnak scored his first goal since Feb. 6 after taking a pass from Marchand at the right post 12:58 into the second period to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead. Pastrnak was playing his second game after missing 16 with a thumb injury.

"Hopefully I'll get better," Pastrnak said. "I felt way worse than last game (a 5-0 win against the New York islanders on Tuesday). I think of the play before I have the puck, but I have to kind of stop and make sure I get the puck first since returning; I'll have to adjust that."

Marchand had three assists and leads the Bruins with an NHL career-high 90 points (31 goals, 59 assists) in 73 games.

Video: BOS@NJD: Backes scores late goal on deflection

"He's an elite player in this league, one of the best left wingers in the game, and he's proving that year to year," Bergeron said. "Those numbers don't lie. It's not just about points but about what he does, the details, the penalty kill, and all the hard work."

Drew Stafford scored from low in the left face-off circle 14:51 of the second to pull the Devils within 2-1. Boston goalie Tuukka Rask made one of his 21 saves on a breakaway by Blake Coleman with the Bruins leading at 13:16.

"I thought eventually we would find our game; we're a veteran-enough group to know that," Cassidy said. "The Devils have had some trouble scoring, so as long as we managed the puck, we knew we'd be OK. You could sort of tell the way the guys were talking on the bench that we did make some plays that we needed to be stronger on, and they corrected themselves."

Danton Heinen gave the Bruins a 3-1 lead when he scored from the left face-off circle 29 seconds into the third period. Sean Kuraly blocked a shot attempt by Steven Santini at the Bruins blue line to send Heinen and Chris Wagner on a 2-on-1.

Bergeron scored after taking a seam pass from Pastrnak 18:34 into the first period to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead and into an empty net at 18:42 of the third to make it 4-1. David Backes scored off a redirection past Schneider at 19:38 for the 5-1 final.

"We know [second place] is what we have in front of us right now," Bergeron said. "That's what we can work for. It's not easy; it's the last stretch and every point counts and we know Toronto is thinking the same way, but that's what we're kind of shooting for right now."

Video: BOS@NJD: Stafford rips Zacha's feed by Rask


They said it

"[Marchand] is growing his game playing with players that finish now, so the plays he's making are going in the back of the net. He works hard in every aspect of the game and he's grown his game, his skills have grown. I'm sure in the back of his mind people will start talking about 100, and why not? It's a nice number to get." -- Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy

"I think we are playing hard, night in, night out. We are playing for each other, understanding what we need to do to be a competitive team. Unfortunately, we're not in a situation where we were in last year, where we were coming down the stretch, playing for a playoff spot. It's intrinsic motivation to be able to play because of the playoffs." -- Devils coach John Hynes


Need to know

Bergeron has 15 points (nine goals, six assists) in his past 12 games. ... Marchand has 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists) in his past 12 games. ... Kuraly did not return to the game after blocking the Santini shot; no update was given. ... Devils forward Pavel Zacha had one assist in 16:57 in his return to the lineup after missing 16 games with an upper-body injury. ... Goalie Jaroslav Halak will start for Boston at the Florida Panthers on Saturday.


What's next

Bruins: At the Florida Panthers on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; FS-F, NESN, NHL.TV)

Devils: Host the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday (1 p.m. ET; MSG, FS-A, NHL.TV)

Video: Bergeron's big night propels Bruins past Devils

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