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Mar 28, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Nick Ritchie (21) deflects a shot in front of New Jersey Devils goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood (29) during the third period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a simple formula for the Bruins: Win, or even earn a single point Monday night against the Devils, and they are officially dancing in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs. In fact, the Bruins don’t even need to do that, as a Capitals win over the Rangers on Monday would take care of business and clinch a postseason berth for the Bruins.

But with wins in three straight and some lineup questions still to be answered between now and a potential Game 1, the Bruins’ preference is certainly to do it on their own.

“I think everyone’s aware of where we’re at,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said Monday morning. “If need be, we will [discuss the stakes]. But at the end of the day: get our game in order, keep building our chemistry amongst the group, build our game as a team, and get guys ready.”

“As nice as it is, that’s what was expected: To make the playoffs and have a run,” Brad Marchand said. “Hopefully we can accomplish that tonight. It’s a big game for us and we want to continue to climb. That’s our goal, not just to make it but finish as high as we can. We want to be playing really good hockey going into playoffs.”

The Bruins will look to punch their postseason ticket against one of the few East teams who have given the Bruins fits in 2021, too, with just two wins in six meetings with New Jersey this season. All six head-to-heads have been decided by just one goal, while the Devils’ netminders have posted an utterly ridiculous all-situation .959 save percentage against Boston shooters.

On the lineup front, Mike Reilly will get the night off due to a ‘nagging’ injury, which will throw Jakub Zboril back into the B’s lineup for his first game since an Apr. 20 win over the Sabres.

Tuukka Rask will get the start for the Bruins, while the Devils will answer with Scott Wedgewood.

Here’s the complete expected lineup for the Bruins…

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak

Taylor Hall – David Krejci – Craig Smith

Nick Ritchie – Sean Kuraly – Charlie Coyle

Jake DeBrusk – Curtis Lazar – Karson Kuhlman

Jeremy Lauzon – Charlie McAvoy

Matt Grzelcyk – Kevan Miller

Jakub Zboril – Connor Clifton

Tuukka Rask


Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.