New York at Philadelphia

Flyers win rematch against Rangers in SO, earn playoff spot

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PHILADELPHIA -- Brian Boucher couldn't make the stops. He opened his arms wide as a blue line and let all the Flyers in. Danny Briere was first with the celebratory hug. Claude Giroux joined the mob that swarmed Boucher.

The Flyers needed three periods, overtime, and a thrilling shootout in the 82nd game to make the playoffs.

Eastern Conference
SeedTeamGPPTSROW
1z-Pittsburgh487233
2y-Montreal486326
3y-Washington485724
4x-Boston486224
5x-Toronto485726
6x-N.Y. Rangers485622
7x-Ottawa485621
8x-N.Y. Islanders485520
Eliminated
9o-Winnipeg485122
10o-Philadelphia484922
11o-New Jersey484817
12o-Buffalo484814
13o-Carolina484218
14o-Tampa Bay484017
15o-Florida483612
Complete Playoff Race

Might as well go wild.

Boucher stopped Olli Jokinen on the final attempt of the shootout to send the Philadelphia Flyers into the playoffs while eliminating the New York Rangers with a 2-1 victory Sunday.

"I think everybody on the bench was thinking about that last shot that he stopped," Briere said. "That was a big rush for us on the bench. I can't imagine what it was for him."

The final game of the regular season felt more like Game 7 of a playoff series. Win and advance; lose and go home.

The Rangers and Flyers felt 65 minutes of pressure in a game with postseason atmosphere, starting with the scalpers hawking tickets up and down the streets into the Wachovia Center.

"Hopefully we can do something with our lifeline here and use the excitement and euphoria from this win and from our last little stretch of games here to propel us and do good things here in the playoffs," defenseman Chris Pronger said.

The Flyers earned the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference and will play New Jersey.

The Rangers forced what was essentially a one-game playoff when they beat the Flyers on Friday night. Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist was sensational, but Matt Carle tied the game at 1 early in the third period.

Briere and Giroux scored in the shootout for the Flyers. In between, P.A. Parenteau scored for the Rangers.

Lundqvist was stellar in goal, stopping 46 shots from every angle. The Flyers outshot the Rangers by almost a 2-1 margin, but could never slip the puck past the goalie coach John Tortorella expected to carry them into the postseason.

"If it wasn't for that goaltender, I think we would have won this game pretty handily," Boucher said.

Jody Shelley came close to haunting the Flyers for a long summer. He hadn't scored all season until he got one in Friday's 4-3 win that pushed the Rangers to the brink of the postseason.

Shelley struck again and quieted a rowdy crowd when he scored only 3:27 into Sunday's game. He deflected a shot from the point past a stunned Boucher -- who led the Flyers to the 2000 Eastern Conference finals then bounced around the league -- for a 1-0 lead.

That's the way it stood -- and felt like it would stand.

"Terrific, just terrific," Tortorella said of Lundqvist.

Lundqvist didn't have the words, other than saying, "it's really hard."

He was at his best in front of a hostile and loud crowd.

They roared when Lauren Hart, the daughter of longtime former Flyers broadcaster Gene Hart, sang God Bless America, alternating lyrics with Kate Smith, who was on a video image. Smith's rendition of the song has been a rallying anthem for the Flyers since the mid 1970s.

The Flyers ended a pregame video with a simple message: "Today We Clinch!"

They made the orange-and-black faithful wait until the last shot.

"Hey, it's entertainment, what it's supposed to be," Pronger said. "We're just trying to give the fans what they wanted."

Lundqvist made the 1-0 lead stand until early in the third. Briere's shot from the circle bounced off the goalie and Jeff Carter poked the rebound to Matt Carle for his sixth goal of the season and a 1-1 score.

The Flyers were pegged as preseason Stanley Cup favorites until a series of injuries in goal nearly cost them the postseason. Coach Peter Laviolette couldn't turn them into consistent winners once he took over for the fired John Stevens in December. They all get a chance to put a frustrating regular season behind them now.

As good as Lundqvist was, he came up a couple stops short in the shootout.

Briere scored on the first attempt, and Erik Christensen missed for New York. Mike Richards missed for the Flyers and Parenteau's goal evened it.

Giroux scored to set up Jokinen's final attempt. Jokinen -- who was 5 for 9 this season in shootouts -- deked Boucher and finished with a backhand that softly bounced off the goalie's pad.

The Rangers head home after a strong run to end the season. Their three-week run wasn't enough and they'll miss the postseason for the first time since the 2003-04 season.

"We believed that we could get in the playoffs, play well and build chemistry with the guys that we had, and the new guys that came in were great," Rangers defenseman Marc Staal said.

Notes
  • Pronger was selected team MVP and most outstanding defenseman. Defenseman Carle was most improved and Ian Laperriere was voted the Flyer who best illustrates character, dignity and respect for the sport both on and off the ice. Laperriere also won the Gene Hart Memorial Award, given to the player who demonstrated the most "heart" this season.
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No dice! Brian Boucher clinches the victory when he stops Olli Jokinen to end the shootout. (Getty Images)
No dice! Brian Boucher clinches the victory when he stops Olli Jokinen to end the shootout. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
NY Rangers (38-33-11)10000 (1)1
Philadelphia  (41-35-6) «00101 (2)2
Three Stars
C. Giroux
PHI


Goals: 0
Assist(s): 0
H. Lundqvist
NYR


Saves: 46
Save Pct.: .979
M. Carle
PHI


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
03:27Jody Shelley (2), Tip-In. Assist: Rozsival, Anisimov
2ND PERIOD
None
3RD PERIOD
06:54Power Play - Matt Carle (6), Backhand Shot. Assist: Carter, Briere
OT
None
2OT
 Danny Briere (2), GOAL
 P.A. Parenteau (3), GOAL
 Claude Giroux (3), GOAL
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
06:49Dubinsky, 2 min, Tripping
11:33Briere, 2 min, Tripping
2ND PERIOD
02:03Voros, 5 min, Fighting
02:03Laperriere, 5 min, Fighting
08:31Parenteau, 2 min, Tripping
10:22Krajicek, 2 min, Hooking
13:18Rozsival, 2 min, Roughing
13:18Briere, 2 min, Roughing
14:46Christensen, 2 min, Slashing
3RD PERIOD
05:39Parenteau, 2 min, Interference
OT
None
2OT
None
Shots On Goal
 123T
New York491023
Philadelphia18121545
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGASO SSO GA
Henrik Lundqvist 65:0046132
Brian Boucher 64:5924131
Game Information
Attendance - 19889
Referees - Kelly Sutherland, Kerry Fraser
Linesmen - Don Henderson, Darren Gibbs
 
Other Games
Pitt 6 Final
OT
NYI 5
Bos 4 Final
Wash 3
TB 3 Final
Fla 1
Edm 2 Final
Ana 7
Buf 1 Final
NJ 2
Det 3 Final
OT
Chi 2
LA 2 Final
OT
Colo 1