NEWARK, N.J. – With six games to go in the regular season, the Boston Bruins know the only thing separating them from the playoffs is themselves.

The Bruins moved another step closer to the postseason Tuesday night, getting a goal from Patrice Bergeron with 18.3 seconds left in overtime in a 1-0 victory against the New Jersey Devils.

The win kept the Bruins two points ahead of Atlanta in the race for the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference, and Boston has a game in hand.

Montreal, Philadelphia and Boston all have 82 points, but the Canadiens and Flyers have more wins, the first tiebreaker.

“It was a huge effort from everyone,” Bergeron said after the Bruins beat the Devils for the first time this season. “We need it. It’s in our hands. If we worry about ourselves and do the job, we shouldn’t worry about anybody else.

“We’ve got to find a way to get that energy, that effort. We know it’s a tough schedule but no one feels sorry for us.”

The Bruins have two road games left: against the NHL’s top team, the Washington Capitals, and another with the Buffalo Sabres, the Northeast Division leaders.

“We’re fighting for our lives right now,” Boston Coach Claude Julien said. “It’s pretty obvious that those points are huge. That first point gave us something and we really had to work hard to get that second. Look around the league tonight. Teams that are chasing us also won. Every game has to be about desperation.”

Not only did Atlanta win, but so did the New York Rangers, who are four points behind Boston.

The winning play started near the Bruins’ blue line when Ilya Kovalchuck was stopped on a rush.

The Bruins counterattacked and Devils goaltender Martin 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.

Mark Stuart skated across the blue line, found an opening and sent a shot toward goal that Mark Recchi tipped. Brodeur made his 33rd save on the play but the puck went to the other side of the net and Bergeron put it into an open net for his 18th goal.

“I thought (Bergeron) scored just before,” Recchi said. “He made a heck of a shot just before that. (Stuart) made a good play. He held on to it. He was patient. He got himself a lane and I was able to get just enough to redirect it on (Brodeau) so he really couldn’t control the rebound.”

“I don’t know how I lost my stick,” Martin said, who also bumped with Kovalchuk.

New Jersey came into the game looking to move into a first-place tie in the Atlantic Division with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The one point it picked up left it a point behind the defending Stanley Cup champions, and both teams have six games to go.


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