BOSTON (AP) " David Pastrnak's wide postgame grin had much less to do with the two goals he scored than the two points he helped Boston pick up with a 4-0 win over Tampa Bay.
The victory Tuesday night was all the Bruins needed to clinch their first playoff berth since 2014.
"It's a new feeling. I'm enjoying it a lot," said Pastrnak, who was still a few months out from being drafted the last time the Bruins played a postseason game. "I think every single guy in this room did his job today and that's why we got the win."
Drew Stafford and Zdeno Chara also scored for the Bruins, who extended their season-high winning streak to six games. More importantly, by winning in regulation, Boston guaranteed a return to the postseason after missing out the last two years.
"It's kind of a nice feeling to be in postseason again," Chara said. "This team battled through some ups and downs throughout the year and it was one of those years where we really had to come together."
Boston fans wary of another collapse in the final weeks celebrated by cheering throughout the final two minutes. After the final horn, the Bruins skated from the bench and swarmed goalie Tuukka Rask following his career-best eighth shutout of the season.
"It feels great. The city deserves it. The organization deserves it and we feel like we deserve it, too," said Rask, who stopped 28 shots. "Everybody can breathe a little bit easier now, but we still have two games left before the real games start."
It might have been a costly victory for the Bruins, who played the last two periods without leading scorer Brad Marchand after he speared Tampa Bay's Jake Dotchin in front of the Lightning net. Marchand received a five-minute major and game misconduct (on his bobblehead night), which could keep him off the ice longer once the NHL takes a look at the video.
Marchand has been suspended six times in his career and was fined the maximum $10,000 by the league earlier this season for a questionable hit.
"It was an undisciplined penalty. There's no question about that," Marchand said. "It could have cost the team a very important game, but the guys did a great job of rallying and having a huge game."
This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings