The Boston Bruins increased their lead to four points over the Florida Panthers for the final wild-card playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with a 3-2 overtime win over the New Jersey Devils on Friday night.
The Bruins will return to TD Garden for the final game of their back-to-back Saturday night against the struggling Arizona Coyotes.
Here are three takeaways from Bruins-Devils:
1. Niklas Svedberg Starts In Net
Tuukka Rask was unable to play against the Devils because of illness, which ended his streak of 18 straight appearances and gave Svedberg his first start since Feb. 10.
Svedberg made 29 saves on 31 shots for a .935 save percentage. His rebound control wasn’t great, but he didn’t give up any soft goals and made a tremendous save on Devils leading scorer Mike Cammalleri late in regulation.
2. Daniel Paille Opens Scoring, B’s Dominate First Period
Daniel Paille returned to the lineup Tuesday night against the Vancouver Canucks after missing the two previous games as a healthy scratch.
He ended a 36-game goalless drought Tuesday and scored another first-period goal Saturday night. His latest tally gave him goals in back-to-back games for the first time since Jan. 7, 2014.
Paille’s goal was the highlight of a strong first period for Boston in which it earned a 20-9 shot attempt advantage and a 12-4 edge in shots on goal. The Bruins also used a strong forecheck to create turnovers and generate lots of offensive zone time.
3. Ryan Spooner Scores First Career NHL Goal
The Bruins gave up a 2-0 third-period lead with sloppy defensive play, allowing the Devils to force overtime. But B’s center Ryan Spooner secured two very important points for the Bruins with his first career NHL goal at the 2:46 mark of the OT period. David Pastrnak made a good pass to Spooner in the left faceoff circle and the 23-year-old forward beat Devils goalie Cory Schneider high blocker side.
Spooner has played very well since being recalled to the Bruins last Saturday. He’s giving the B’s much-needed speed in addition to his improved play without the puck.
Thumbnail photo via Timothy T. Ludwig/USA TODAY Sports Images