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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Bruins Clinch No. 1 Seed in the Eastern Conference With 5-2 Win Over Flyers

With the 2013-14 regular season rapidly winding down, the Bruins are doing all they can to ensure that their stay in the postseason this spring will be a long one. This afternoon, Boston (53-18-7) clinched the top spot in the East with a 5-2 victory over Philadelphia (39-29-9) at TD Garden. The final score is misleading since it was a 2-2 game late in the third period before the B's scored two quick goals then added an empty netter.

The only thing left for the Black and Gold to accomplish in the regular season is capturing a Presidents' Trophy. That gained some traction as St. Louis lost 4-0 to Colorado meaning the Blues are two points behind the Bruins (with one game in hand). Loui Eriksson had a career-high four points (all assists) as Boston finished 3-0 against Philadelphia a team that they could certainly meet in the playoffs.

The B's never trailed although the Flyers tied it twice before Boston created the separation. David Krejci flipped in a rebound at 15:56 of the first period, his 17th goal of the season assisted by Eriksson and Milan Lucic. Wayne Simmonds made it 1-1 with a power play goal at 14:36 in the second period. Tuukka Rask (24 saves) had made some quality saves and Philly hit a post before they broke through.

Lucic hammered a one-timer past Ray Emery (37 saves) only 19 seconds later as the Bruins took the momentum right back. Krejci and Eriksson assisted on his 23rd goal of the season. Flyers goon Jay Rosehill fought Shawn Thornton earlier in the first but actually showed good hands outside of that as he made a nice move to beat Rask at 16:21.

Overtime beckoned but Boston would have none of it in their penultimate contest at the Garden (in the regular season). Johnny Boychuk cranked a slap shot by Emery following a faceoff win by Patrice Bergeron. It was Boychuk's fifth goal of the season. Lucic had his second goal 31 seconds later, a beautiful passing sequence with Torey Krug and Eriksson resulted in a tip in and two points. Of course Chris Kelly-who else?-bagged the empty netter to give him a fraudulent nine goals (I feel like most of those are from empty netters).

Boston is off until Tuesday (8, NESN) when they'll face Minnesota (40-26-12) at the Xcel Energy Center. After that, they'll be in Winnipeg (35-34-10) on Thursday (8, NESN). It's that time of year where each team has different things to play for: the Wild are basically a lock to make it in the West, the Jets are out and the Bruins are cruising.

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