Tuukka Rask in Goal, Zdeno Chara and Mark Recchi Get Day Off As Bruins Close Out Regular Season in New Jersey


The Bruins close out the regular season with a final date with the Devils in New Jersey on Sunday.

Boston has won the first three meetings with the Devils by a combined 11-2 count, and a win Sunday will complete their first season sweep of New Jersey since 1985-86.

While that little bit of history may be at stake, the game won't have any impact on the standings or affect the first-round playoff matchups. Those are already set, with the third-seeded Bruins slated to meet archrival Montreal in the opening round after the Canadiens locked up the sixth seed with a win over Toronto on Saturday night.

This final game for the Bruins is all about making sure everyone gets through it healthy and trying to avoid any bad habits from seeping into Boston's game as the Bruins head into the playoffs.

To help protect against any key injuries, captain Zdeno Chara and veteran forward Mark Recchi remained behind in Boston. They will get the day off after playing each of the first 81 games of the season. With Chara and Recchi sitting this one out, no Bruins will play all 82 games for the team this season.

Patrice Bergeron and Dennis Seidenberg got Saturday off when the Bruins defeated Ottawa 3-1 in their final home game, but will return for this game. Tyler Seguin and Shane Hnidy will remain in the lineup after returning on Saturday to fill in for Bergeron and Seidenberg.

Seguin will likely slide over to right wing in Mark Recchi's spot after playing center on the second line in Bergeron's place on Saturday. Seguin will almost definitely start the playoffs as the healthy scratch up front, so this might be his last game for a while to stay sharp and show he deserves another shot in the lineup. The other line combinations should remain the same, while the defense pairs will likely rotate throughout the game with ice time leader Chara out.

In goal, Tuukka Rask will get the start after Tim Thomas locked up the NHL save percentage record with 31 saves on Saturday. Barring an injury to Rask, Thomas shouldn't see any action in this one as there's no need to risk his .938 save percentage, which just barely beats Dominik Hasek's previous record of .937 in 1998-99.

The Devils will likely counter with Martin Brodeur, but could give the final start to backup Johan Hedberg after Brodeur allowed five goals on 29 shots in a 5-2 loss to the Rangers on Saturday.

Projected Bruins lines

Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin
Chris Kelly-Rich Peverley-Michael Ryder
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton

Dennis Seidenberg-Johnny Boychuk
Tomas Kaberle-Adam McQuaid
Andrew Ference-Shane Hnidy

Tuukka Rask
Tim Thomas

Scratches: Mark Recchi, Zdeno Chara

Projected Devils lines

Ilya Kovalchuk-Travis Zajac-Nick Palmieri
Brian Rolston-Patrik Elias-Mattias Tedenby
Vladimir Zharkov-Jacob Josefson-David Clarkson
Rod Pelley-David Steckel-Adam Mair

Henrik Tallinder-Mark Fayne
Andy Greene-Anssi Salmela
Mark Fraser-Jay Leach

Martin Brodeur
Johan Hedberg

Scratches: Colin White (leg), Anton Volchenkov (lower body), Dainius Zubrus (neck), Matt Taormina (ankle)

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