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Bruins clinch playoff berth by edging Flyers

by Adam Kimelman
PHILADELPHIA -- A pair of former Flyers helped their new team down their old one.
Mark Recchi and Dennis Seidenberg set up Brad Marchand's tie-breaking power-play goal, propelling visiting Boston to a 2-1 victory here at the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday and clinching the Bruins a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Nathan Horton also had a power-play goal and Tim Thomas made 27 saves for the Bruins.
Kris Versteeg scored the Flyers' lone goal and Brian Boucher stopped 34 of 36 shots as the Flyers had their nine-game streak without a loss in regulation snapped.
The Flyers' loss, combined with the Capitals' win Saturday and the Penguins' victory Sunday, meant Philadelphia's lead atop the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division now is down to two points. The Flyers' next game is Tuesday in Pittsburgh.
Sunday's game turned when Flyers captain Mike Richards was sent off for high-sticking the Bruins' Tomas Kaberle with 4:27 left in regulation.
On the ensuing power play, Recchi fed Seidenberg at the right point. The defenseman took a few strides to his left and fired a slap shot that hit Boucher and fell in the crease. Marchand pounced on it and shoveled it into the net for his 20th of the season, but his first in 13 games.
"Great for Marchy, he's had a heck of a year," Recchi said. "He's been pressing a bit to get that 20. No better to get it then on the game winner."
"It was nice to get it out of the way," Marchand said. "You know mine lasted a while, you know a bit of a scoring (slump), so it was nice to kind of get one, especially in a key time in a game. It was nice, but just as long as were winning it doesn't matter."
Boucher said he picked up the shot late and tried to block it aside.
"It was a point shot, got through some traffic," he said. "I got my glove on it and the rebound went up to him, hit him in the chest and landed right on his forehand. It was a gift for him."
Recchi, who spent 10 of his 22 NHL seasons playing for the Flyers and ranks eighth all-time on the team's scoring list, said he took no extra pleasure in helping his current team clinch a playoff spot against his old one.
"It's just good to get in (the playoffs)," he told "It's a good road win for us. We had two really good games this week, New York came in and played a really good game against us, we got shut out, and we wanted to bounce back and we did. It was a good effort."
The assist tied Recchi with former teammate Paul Coffey for 12th on the NHL all-time scoring list with 1,531 points. It also was game No. 1,646, putting him five behind Chris Chelios for fourth all-time.
The Flyers controlled play in the first period and led 1-0 on Versteeg's 20th goal of the season. James van Riemsdyk chased down a long dump-in by Richards, chipped it around the Bruins' Adam McQuaid behind the Boston net and sent it back to a late-arriving Richards. Richards' attempt at a one-timer went off the skate of the Bruins' Chris Kelly and right to Versteeg below the left circle where he had an easy put-in.
The Bruins came out with more energy in the second period and earned the better of the play over the final 40 minutes.
"We got better in the second and third and just seemed to be able to get more pucks in the offensive zone and sustain our time in there," Bruins coach Claude Julien said.
"It came down to patience and discipline and not taking a penalty," Thomas added. "We waited and they took the penalty at the end of the game instead of us, and we capitalized instead of them capitalizing on us."
The Bruins also capitalized midway through the second on Horton's power-play goal. The Flyers' Blair Betts -- the team's top penalty-killing forward -- was sent off for tripping Kelly. On the ensuing faceoff, David Krejci won the draw back to Kaberle at the right point. His shot was stopped by Boucher, but Horton pulled the puck out of traffic in front and scored his 23rd of the season four seconds into the power play.
It was the first time in 29 games the Bruins have scored multiple power-play goals in a game, and they're now 4-for-15 with the extra man in their last four games, after suffering through a 1-for-27 slump in their previous 12.
"It's a part of the game we wanted to improve," Julien said. "It's nice to see it get the results that we want. That's got to continue. That's going to be something as we go forward with our schedule here and heading into the playoffs that you're going to need those kinds of goals in tight games. … I thought the puck was moving well on our power play and we weren't finishing and we need to be a little bit better around the net with those rebounds. That's exactly what happened tonight. We pounced on those loose pucks and finished it."
The Flyers, meanwhile, again were left grasping at why they couldn't put together a better full-game effort. They had 28 shots, but after the first period there were few sustained scoring efforts. They also had 20 giveaways.
"I don't think we had the 60-minute effort we needed," Versteeg said.
"The first period we played was pretty good," defenseman Andrej Meszaros added. "We had some passion, we had some energy. In the second, I don't know, it just disappeared for some reason. They were better. They did everything better than us."
Julien said after the game his goal was to keep his team from getting too complacent over its final seven games now that it's clinched a playoff berth. The Flyers have been in a similar situation, and still are trying to find a way to work out of it.
"We have only seven games left, and we can't go into the playoffs playing up and down hockey," defenseman Kimmo Timonen said. "It's not going to work."
Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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