Punch that postseason ticket. The Bruins officially claimed their spot in the playoffs after Brad Marchand’s goal late in the third period broke a 1-1 tie and lifted Boston to a 2-1 win over Philadelphia.
The goal was Marchand’s 20th of the year and for the rookie it broke a 12 game goalless streak. Sitting on the brink of a personal landmark like that can be tough and for Marchand it can help him and the Bruins get hot heading into the playoffs. Tim Thomas was his usual stellar self in this one stopping 27 shots to earn the victory. Nathan Horton also had a power play goal for the Bruins while Kris Versteeg had the Flyers’ lone tally.
Boston now gains a bit more ground on Montreal in the Northeast Division as they’ve got a seven point lead on the Habs and Montreal has just six games left to play. Boston has seven remaining this season and now the division title and a top three seed are well within reach. Also within reach is a shot at the second seed as the B’s are now four points back of Washington. Philly is just six points ahead of Boston in the East.
Brian Boucher was the true hard luck loser in this game as he stopped 34 shots for the Flyers. Philly has their own problems to deal with in the standings as the Penguins are closing in on them just four points behind. Washington is just two points back of the Flyers for the top spot in the East. The heat is coming from all sides for the Flyers and with Chris Pronger not yet ready to come back from a broken hand, they’ll have to buckle up and hold on as long as they can. While they’ve got no worries about missing the playoffs, locking down home ice throughout the playoffs should make for a great warm-up for the postseason party.