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The Boston Bruins closed out the regular season with a 3-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils.
Loui Eriksson (10) and Brad Marchand (25) scored the two powerplay goals for the Bruins in the contest. Backup goalie Chad Johnson made 28 saves in the losing effort.

The Bruins lose 3-2 to the Devils in the regular-season finale (AP photo)

The Devils' Marek Zidlicky scored twice and Travis Zajac scored the other goal for the Devils.

The Bruins finish the 2013-14 regular season 54-19-9 for 117 points.

With this game meaning absolutely 0 in any fashion, the Bruins played it to perfection: they rested their key players, with the likes of Jarome Iginla, Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, and Zdeno Chara all getting the day off.

The Bruins called-up four young faces to fill the spots, with Matt Lindblad, Justin Florek, Craig Cunnigham and Alexander Khokhlachev all skating in the places of the regulars. Koko made his NHL debut in the game, so he'll remember this game much more than the rest of us will.

The Devils opened up the scoring in the first period through Zidlicky at 7:12 on a wrap-around score that beat Johnson.

But it was Loui Eriksson who tied the game at 19:28 of the period on the powerplay, scoring after a nifty tic-tac-toe passing sequence between Brad Marchand and Carl Soderberg.

The second period saw no goals scored with the Devils outshooting the Bruins 11-4 in the 20 minutes of play. The game really started to drag on here, as both teams were going through the motions in a game that had yet to find a decent rhythm.

In the third, the Devils scored twice to go up 3-1, once through Travis Zajac and then again through Zidlicky. 

Brad Marchand beat Martian Brodeur with 16 seconds left in the game when he roofed a beautiful backhanded goal for his 25th of the year.

But that was all she wrote, and now the Bruins can finally leave the regular season behind them and look towards the playoffs.

These last two weeks have dragged on for the Black and Gold. The Bruins rampaged through the NHL in March, posting a 15-1-1 record in 17 games played, accumulating 31 points and at the end of it all found themselves at the top of the NHL standings.

Their incredible play awarded them the luxury of resting their players down the stretch before the three-month gauntlet known as the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin. And they did just that.

The focus shifted from winning as many games as possible to staying healthy in the last handful of games left. They began to rest players starting on April 2 versus their playoff opponent, the Detroit Red Wings. The Bruins' big guns of Iginla, Krejci, Bergeron, Chara and other players in-between all got time off. They healed up, got their bodies right, and by the time the clock struck 3:00 pm on April 12, the Bruins had won the Presidents' Trophy with the best record in the league.

So with 82 games played and behind them, the attention of the Bruins now shifts fully to the Red Wings and Hockeytown.

Now begins the real season. Now can we satiate the playoff hunger that Bruins fans have yearned for since the puck dropped to open the season back in October.

Now, the real games begin.

Mark Burke 4/13/2014 06:04:00 PM Edit

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