BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Bruins are heading back to the playoffs.

The Bruins earned two points with a victory over the Devils on Monday night, guaranteeing them a spot in the top four of the East Division.

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Nick Ritchie got the Bruins on the board in the second period to give Boston a 1-0 lead — a lead which was doubled later in the period by Patrice Bergeron. Matt Grzelcyk scored late in the third period to make it a 3-0 lead for Boston, a lead which held until the game’s conclusion.

Tuukka Rask stopped all 20 shots he faced to earn his second shutout of the season.

The Bruins secured the fourth and final playoff spot in the East Division, though they could end up finishing the year anywhere from first to fourth place, depending on how the four teams play over the final week-plus of the season.

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It marks the fifth straight season of reaching the postseason for the Bruins, who had a seven-year streak of reaching the playoffs snapped in 2015. The Bruins lost in the first round of the playoffs in 2017, just months after Bruce Cassidy took over behind the bench for Claude Julien. They were eliminated by Tampa Bay in the second round in both 2018 and 2020, with their heart-wrenching loss in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final nestled in between.

They’ve missed the postseason just six times since 1968, which is the year that kicked off their stretch of 29 straight years of reaching the playoffs.

While the Bruins’ playoff opponent won’t be known until the teams are locked into their spots in the standings, it is guaranteed to be one of the Penguins, Capitals, or Islanders. If the Bruins win their first-round series, they’ll face the winner of the other series in their division. After that, the NHL will reseed all four remaining teams for the semifinals, with the winners of those series facing off in the Stanley Cup Final.

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Overall, this marks the 74th time in their 96 years of existence that the Bruins have reached the postseason.

CBSBoston.com Staff