Giroux’s hat trick helps Flyers rout Rangers, clinch playoff spot

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So much for the potential tiebreaker game on Tuesday.

The Philadelphia Flyers secured the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference on Saturday afternoon by absolutely demolishing the New York Rangers, 5-0, in their regular season finale.

The Flyers win on Saturday officially eliminates the Florida Panthers from playoff contention and finalizes the playoff field in the conference.

The only thing that remains to be settled now is the seeding and all of the matchups.

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When it comes to Saturday’s game it was the Claude Giroux show as he made a pretty big MVP statement by recording a hat trick and topped the 100-point mark for the first time in his career.

He finishes the regular season with 34 goals and 102 points, both of which are career highs, and will be one of the top-three scorers in the league. He is also one of three players in the NHL this season to hit the 100-point mark, joining Connor McDavid and Nikita Kucherov.

One of his goals on Saturday came during a second period stretch where the Flyers scored two goals in six seconds. He completed the hat trick midway through the third period when he beat Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist on a breakaway.

This game was never really a contest as the Flyers just completely controlled it from the opening faceoff and finished with a 40-17 edge on the shot chart.

Flyers goalie Brian Elliott stopped all 17 shots he faced for the shutout and was never really challenged.

Now that the Flyers are in they will have to wait for the remainder of Saturday’s games to conclude to see who they will face in the opening round.

After winning on Saturday afternoon the Flyers jumped ahead of the New Jersey Devils and Columbus Blue Jackets to take over the third spot in the Metropolitan Division, which would give them a first-round series against the back-to-back Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. It is possible though that Columbus (who plays against Nashville) or New Jersey (playing at Washington) could pass them. Both of those teams though are sitting several key players in their games.

The Flyers’ potential first-round matchups include Pittsburgh, Washington, Boston, or Tampa Bay.

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Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.