Bruins

‘Our expectations are obviously higher’: Bruins clinch playoff berth with win over Devils

"You play for an opportunity to play for the Cup. We’ve accomplished the first part of that."

The Bruins clinched a playoff berth on Monday. AP Photo/Kathy Willens

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With a 3-0 win over the Devils on Monday, the Bruins clinched a playoff berth for the fifth consecutive season.

Nick Ritchie started the scoring for the Bruins midway through the second period, assisted by Jakub Zboril and Sean Kuraly. Later in the period, Patrice Bergeron scored his 20th goal of the season. Defenseman Matt Gryzelcyk powered in the clincher late in the third.

The Bruins would have clinched their spot later in the evening even if they fell to the Devils — all they needed was a win or a Rangers loss. The Capitals beat the Rangers 6-3.

The Bruins have made the postseason in 12 of the last 14 seasons, winning the Stanley Cup once. They made the Finals in 2019 and 2013. They join the Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, and New York Islanders in the East Division. Those four teams will jockey for seeding position over the next two weeks.

Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy was asked what he told his players after the win.

“First of all, congratulations,” Cassidy said. “Because our expectations are obviously higher than to just make the playoffs, but it’s still an accomplishment in this league. It’s not automatic. Ask Philadelphia who had a really good year last year and won’t be back in this year. Dallas is fighting for their life. They went to the finals last year, I’m sure they thought they would be in a better position than they are. So it’s not automatic.

“So first and foremost, it was, ‘Good job. Now let’s keep building for bigger and better things.'”

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The Bruins have five games left in their regular season.

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