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Bruins fall to Panthers, stay tied with Lightning for first in division

The Panthers keep their playoff hopes alive with the win on a night two more East playoff spots are clinched.
The Panthers' Roberto Luongo stops a shot as the Bruins' Brad Marchand, right, and David Backes try for the rebound in Florida's 3-2 win.  (Getty Images)
The Panthers' Roberto Luongo stops a shot as the Bruins' Brad Marchand, right, and David Backes try for the rebound in Florida's 3-2 win. (Getty Images)
Published Apr. 6, 2018

SUNRISE — Jared McCann scored with 5:37 left and Roberto Luongo got the win in his 1,000th career game, helping the Panthers stay in contention for the playoffs with a 3-2 victory over the Bruins on Thursday.

The loss means Boston remains tied with the Lightning for the lead in the Atlantic Division and No. 1 in the Eastern Conference with 110 points. Each team has two games left. The Lightning owns the first tiebreak, regulation and overtime wins (47 to 46).

The Panthers trail the Flyers by four points for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, the only playoff spot left in the East with the Devils and Blue Jackets clinching Thursday. Florida has two games left, Philadelphia one. Florida needs to win both games and have the Flyers lose to the Rangers in regulation Saturday.

Luongo, 39, became the third goalie to reach 1,000 games, joining Hall of Famers Martin Brodeur (1,266) and Patrick Roy (1,029). He is the 322nd player overall to reach the milestone.

"I thought this was our best game of the year," Luongo said. "The boys played phenomenal in front of me."

Preds clinch West: Craig Smith scored twice and Ryan Johansen had the go-ahead goal late in the third period to help the Predators beat the host Capitals 4-3 and clinch the top seed in the Western Conference and the Presidents' Trophy for having the league's best record. Nashville also clinched the Central Division title.

Devils back in: The Devils, the worst team in the East last season, ended a five-year postseason drought with a 2-1 victory over the visiting Maple Leafs.

Jackets get a berth: The Blue Jackets clinched a playoff spot for the second consecutive season by gaining a point in a 5-4 overtime loss to the visiting Penguins. Phil Kessel scored 1:06 into overtime to give the Penguins a 4-0 season sweep of the Blue Jackets. The teams could meet in the first round of the playoffs.

Around the league: Jakub Voracek scored with 5:45 left in the third period to lift the playoff-chasing Flyers over the visiting Hurricanes 4-3.