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NHL playoff picture: Bruins control their fate; Flyers, Avs get last conference spots

The Bruins' Danton Heinen gets the bench glove taps after scoring against the  Senators. (Getty Images)
The Bruins' Danton Heinen gets the bench glove taps after scoring against the Senators. (Getty Images)
Published Apr. 8, 2018

BOSTON — The Bruins won, then got the break they needed to remain in contention for first in the Atlantic Division and the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

David Pastrnak and Tommy Wingels scored 51 seconds apart in the second period and Boston beat Ottawa 5-2 on Saturday night, a win that preserved Bruins' chances for the No. 1 seed with an overtime loss by the Lightning.

"It's been a battle all year. It's been a grind, but we're in that position," said Patrice Bergeron, who assisted on Pastrnak's tying goal 8:08 into the second period.

The Bruins host the Panthers on Sunday night in the league's final game of the season, one postponed because of a winter storm Jan. 4. Boston trails the Lightning by one point for the top spot in the East and the division. It needs a win of any kind to overtake the Lightning.

"We have a chance to move into first. That's what we all can ask for — to have a chance," Boston captain Zdeno Chara said. "It's in our hands (Sunday)."

Ryan Dzingel scored both goals for Ottawa, which finished 28-43-11 and out of the playoffs one year after reaching the Eastern Conference final.

Flyers get last spot in East

Claude Giroux got his first career hat trick in the regular season and the host Flyers clinched the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference with a 5-0 victory over the Rangers in their finale. The Flyers needed at least one point to make the playoffs and eliminate the Panthers from contention.

By the end of the day, Philadelphia was locked into third place in the Metropolitan Division courtesy of losses by Columbus and New Jersey, meaning its first-round opponent is cross-state rival and two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh.

The Blue Jackets will face the Metro-winning Capitals in the first round. The Devils will go against either the Lightning or Bruins.

Avs get last spot in West

Nathan MacKinnon scored his first goal in 10 games, Jonathan Bernier stopped 32 shots and the host  Avalanche earned the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with a 5-2 win over the Blues.

Defensemen Samuel Girard and Tyson Barrie scored, and captain Gabriel Landeskog and Matt Nieto added empty-netters for the Avalanche, which won the West's second wild-card spot and head to the postseason for the first time since 2013-14. It will face top-seeded Nashville in the opening round a season after recording a league-low 48 points.

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