NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Patrice Bergeron scored on a rebound with 18.3 seconds left in overtime and the Boston Bruins maintained their hold on the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference with a 1-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night.
Tuukka Rask stopped 21 shots to pick up his fifth shutout of the season, keeping Boston two points ahead of Atlanta in the race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the conference.
The Thrashers, who have played one more game than Boston, beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2.
Bergeron's goal was somewhat controversial in that he apparently knocked the stick out of the hands of Devils defenseman Paul Martin on the play.
Bruins defenseman Mark Stuart took a shot from the point that Devils goalie Martin Brodeur stopped, but Bergeron had an open net to deposit his 18th goal of the season.
The game-winning play started near the Bruins blue line when Ilya Kovalchuck was stopped on a rush.
The Bruins counterattacked and Brodeur made a save on Bergeron from the right circle. The Bruins chased the puck down and Bergeron eventually sent a pass to the point for the shot that resulted in the goal.
The Devils picked up a point in defeat and are now one point behind Pittsburgh in the race for first place in the Atlantic Division. Both teams have six games left.
Brodeur made the save of the game in the opening minutes of the third period by putting his glove along the goal line to stop a move across the crease by Michael Ryder, who had skated around Devils' defenseman Andy Greene.
David Clarkson actually beat Rask with a 20-foot straight-on shot with 6:48 to go in regulation, but the puck banged off the crossbar.
Brodeur forced the overtime, stopped a 25-foot blast by David Krejci with 3.3 seconds to play.
The Bruins outshot the Devils 22-11 in the first two periods but there were only a handful of good scoring chances.
The most memorable one came in the opening minutes when Brodeur was stunned taking a slapshot by Stuart off his facemask.
Fellow Bruins defenseman Dennis Wideman had the best scoring chance when his shot from the point hit off Brodeur and lay in the crease for a split second. The Devils goaltender covered the puck seconds before forward Marco Sturm could poke it into the net.
Rask gave the Devils their best scoring opportunity with a giveaway in front in the first period. However, Dean McAmmond appeared to be tripped before he could get to the loose puck and no penalty was called.
NOTES: Devils C Patrik Elias was nominated by the New Jersey chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association for the Masterton Trophy, given to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. ... Flyers F Dan Carcillo was suspended two games for a hit on Devils F David Clarkson on Sunday. ... New Jersey won the season series 3-1. ... Boston is 19-13-6 on the road with a three-game winning streak.