The Bruins were locked into the No. 2 seed in the East, and Buffalo was locked out of the playoffs regardless of the result of the regular-season finale. But there was another competition that was still up for grabs.
Bruins linemates Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand came into the game tied for the team lead in goals with 27 each. With bragging rights at stake for the two buddies, the pair put on a show, combining for all three Boston goals in regulation before the Bruins prevailed in a shootout for a 4-3 victory.
Seguin tallied the first two Boston goals, giving him 29 on the year and the team title despite a late goal by Marchand to pull the Bruins even at 3-3. Marchand finished with a career-high 28 goals but fell one short of Seguin.
He wasn't taking it too hard, though, not even with the fact that he had a perfect opportunity for another goal early in the third period when he swooped in all alone on a shorthanded breakaway but was denied by Sabres goalie Jhonas Enroth.
"It would've been nice to have [that goal], but stuff like that happens," Marchand said. "You can't get them all, and we're in the playoffs, so that's all that matters."
After the game, Marchand even came up with a creative explanation for why he failed to convert that breakaway.
"Yeah, I missed it on purpose because [Seguin] was crying about how he wanted [the goal lead] before the game," Marchand said. "So I let him have it."
While Marchand tossed some friendly jabs at Seguin, the youngster was more serious about his achievement, crediting Marchand and center Patrice Bergeron for helping him enjoy such a breakthrough season.
"It guess it's a good accomplishment, obviously. Look at my lineys — they're easy to play with, and I think if you look at some of my goals tonight, they set most of them up," Seguin said. "I'm very fortunate to play with them and capitalize."
Bergeron actually set up all three Boston goals and also scored the only goal in the shootout. Along the way, Bergeron tallied his 400th career point, with Marchand retrieving the puck for him as a keepsake.
"I didn't know anything about that,' Bergeron said of the milestone. "It's nice to get it, I guess. Brad got the puck. I don't know what I'll do with it."
Bergeron also may not know what to do with his two young linemates, although the veteran is usually more amused than annoyed by their antics and is always appreciative of their skills.
"It was fun," Bergeron said. "I knew Marshy was going to try to score another one just to get back to even with him. I guess it's healthy competition between the two of them. They try to do everything together I guess, but they're playing great. It’s nice to have them on my side."
Seguin also finished with a team-high 67 points, making him the youngest player ever to lead the Bruins in scoring at 20 years, two months and seven days at the close of the season.
"Yeah, it's pretty amazing," Seguin said. "It's definitely an honor. I did not know that [he was the youngest]. Obviously, again, like I was saying before, my linemates make the game a lot easier for me. Marshy and Bergy with how much chemistry they had already from last year, going all the way with the same line to the Stanley Cup championship, they had a lot of chemistry. It was nice to step on that line, and hopefully we’re going to get better."
They looked pretty good Saturday with three goals and six points between them, and they'll look to carry that momentum into the upcoming playoffs.
"You always want to finish the season on a good note and be playing your best going into the playoffs," Marchand said. "So it was nice to finish the way we did. Hopefully we can play that way in the playoffs."