Bruins clinch division crown

Bruins clinch division crown
By Reuters

02/04/2012 at 18:58

The Boston Bruins finally got the better of the mighty New York Rangers with a 2-1 victory over the Eastern Conference leaders to clinch the Northeast Division title.

Goals from Dennis Seidenberg and Patrice Bergeron in the second period allowed the Bruins, who lost their three previous meetings to New York this season, erase a 1-0 deficit after Marian Gaborik opened the scoring in the first period.

"It was a good effort by the whole unit there and we found a way to get the bucket," Bergeron said. "We have to stay composed, and every time we do that we find a way."

The loss prevented the Rangers (50-22-7) from securing the top seed in the Eastern Conference. The Rangers need one point in their final three games to lock up the top seed, which would assure them home-ice advantage when the play-offs begin.

For the Stanley Cup champion Bruins (47-28-4), the win secured their second consecutive division crown and held off a late-charge by the Ottawa Senators (41-28-10), who clinched a playoff berth with a 5-1 win over the New York Islanders earlier on Sunday.

Only two of the eight Eastern Conference play-off spots are remaining.

In a match-up featuring two teams likely headed for a heated first-round match-up, the Philadelphia Flyers scored four third period goals to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-4 in a game that included a brawl between the rivals.

The game was tied 2-2 heading into the third period when the visiting Flyers took control before moving within one point of Pittsburgh in the race for the fourth seed and home ice advantage in their potential match-up.

A brawl broke out between the teams toward the end of the game while coaches from both teams stood on the edge of their respective benches and engaged in a shouting match a few feet away from each other.

The Florida Panthers suffered their sixth loss in seven games and are clinging to a three-point lead over the Washington Capitals in the Southeast Division with three games remaining.

In other action, the Detroit Red Wings earned a 2-1 shootout win over the Florida Panthers to move into fourth place in the tight Western Conference race with 99 points.

Just one point back are the Nashville Predators and Chicago Blackhawks, who lost 5-4 in a shootout to Minnesota.