Devils 3, Bruins 2
BOSTON (AP) _ Martin Brodeur stopped 28 shots to beat Boston 3-2 on Sunday, putting the New Jersey Devils into the second round of the playoffs while condemning the Bruins and their building to an early elimination.
Brodeur gave up an average of just a goal a game as the Devils won the best-of-7 series 4-1, going 3-0 at the soon-to-be-shuttered Boston Garden. The Bruins scored just twice in their last three games at the building that has been their home since 1928.
Bill Guerin had a goal and an assist, and Shawn Chambers and Valeri Zelepukin also scored to support another stellar effort by Brodeur. But his bid for a record fourth shutout in the series was spoiled by Cam Neely’s unassisted second-period goal.
Boston trailed 3-1 but closed the deficit to one goal when Ray Bourque’s shot from the point was tipped between Brodeur’s legs by Adam Oates with 4:41 left in the game.
Blaine Lacher made 17 saves for Boston. Since giving up four goals in 35 minutes in Game 1, Lacher has limited his magnanimity to 2.25 goals per game, joining Brodeur in a dual shutout in Game 4 until Randy McKay’s fluke goal.
But on Sunday, once again, this year’s rookie of the year candidate was no match for last year’s rookie of the year. Brodeur stopped Boston on a 5-on-3 power play early in the first period and two more man-advantages before Oates scored 12 seconds into Bobby Holik’s high-sticking penalty.
The Bruins finished 2-for-20 on the power play.
When the Devils got their first power play, though, they didn’t waste it. Nine minutes into the game and 51 seconds into the advantage, Guerin tipped John MacLean’s shot past Lacher to make it 1-0.
Neely evened it with a turnaround slapshot from the right faceoff circle 35 seconds into the second period.
Chambers one-timed a pass from Stephane Richer over Lacher’s right shoulder at 13:54 of the second to make it 2-1. Zelepukin made it 3-1 at 4:50 of the third period.
Bruins stars Ray Bourque and Adam Oates were on the ice for all three New Jersey goals. Oates finished the series with a plus-minus ratio of minus-6, Bourque minus-5, and Neely minus-4.
Basketball fans said goodbye to the Garden’s overflowing toilets and obstructed view seats on May 5, swarming onto the court after the Celtics’ final playoff game to snap pictures and pull up planks of the famous parquet floor.
Bruins fans said goodbye with a hailstorm of debris as the teams shook hands after the game, then gave the Garden one last cheer when the lights were turned out about 10 minutes after the game ended.
A fan who made it onto the ice was cheered by those who remained, but ushered out by security.
The absolute final game in Boston Garden will be Sept. 26, when the Bruins play an exhibition game against Montreal. There will also be a closing ceremony on Sept. 29.