David Pastrnak and Tommy Wingels scored 51 seconds apart in the second period Trent Taylor Jersey , and Boston beat the Ottawa Senators 5-2 on Saturday night, preserving the Bruins‘ chances for the No. 1 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference.
Danton Heinen also scored for Boston, which added late goals by Noel Acciari and David Backes in the final two minutes to put away the Senators and complete the season sweep.
Anton Khudobin stopped 26 shots for the Bruins, who host Florida on Sunday night in a game postponed by a winter storm Jan. 4. Boston trails Tampa Bay, which lost in overtime at Carolina, by one point for the top spot in the East and the Atlantic Division.
Ryan Dzingel scored both goals for Ottawa and Colin White had two assists. Daniel Taylor made 29 saves for the Senators, who finished 28-43-11 one year after reaching the Eastern Conference finals.
AVALANCHE 5, BLUES 2
DENVER (AP) – Nathan MacKinnon scored his first goal in 10 games, Jonathan Bernier stopped 32 shots and Colorado earned the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Defensemen Samuel Girard and Tyson Barrie scored, while captain Gabriel Landeskog and Matt Nieto added empty-netters for the Avalanche, who won the West’s second wild card and head to the postseason for the first time since 2013-14. They will face top-seeded Nashville in the opening round a season after recording a league-low 48 points.
Game No. 82 for these two boiled down to a winner-take-all scenario, though the Avalanche had to win in regulation.
Jaden Schwartz had a power-play goal and Brayden Schenn scored with 38.4 seconds remaining for the Blues, who saw their playoff appearance streak halted at six straight seasons.
FLYERS 5, RANGERS 0
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Claude Giroux earned his first career hat trick in the regular season and Philadelphia clinched a playoff berth in its final regular-season game.
Giroux finished with 34 goals and 102 points. He extended his career highs in points and goals while becoming the sixth player in franchise history to reach 100 points in a season.
Michael Raffl and Ivan Provorov also scored for the Flyers, who are returning to the playoffs after missing out last year, and will be vying for their third Stanley Cup. The club won back-to-back titles in 1973-74 and 1974-75.
Brian Elliott made 17 saves in his second game in goal after returning from a 25-game absence because of core muscle surgery on Feb. 13.
Henrik Lundqvist finished with 35 saves for the Rangers (34-39-9), who ended their regular season with their ninth loss in the last 11. Hours later Michael Grabner Jersey , New York fired coach Alain Vigneault.
HURRICANES 3, LIGHTNING 2, OT
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Elias Lindholm scored 49 seconds into overtime, and Carolina prevented Tampa Bay from clinching the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
Justin Williams had a goal and an assist, Jordan Staal scored a deflected goal and Phil Di Giuseppe had two assists for the Hurricanes. They had lost three straight and four of five down the stretch during their ninth straight season without making the playoffs – tied for the third-longest such drought in NHL history.
Ondrej Palat scored the tying goal with 8:49 left and Ryan Callahan also scored for Tampa Bay. But with star Steven Stamkos out for a third straight game with an upper-body injury, the Lightning earned one point for going to OT but relinquished control of the Atlantic Division race to Boston.
The Bruins, who beat Ottawa 5-2 on Saturday night, will win the division and claim the top spot in the East if they beat Florida on Sunday night.
MAPLE LEAFS 4, CANADIENS 2
TORONTO (AP) – Frederik Andersen made 31 saves to set a franchise mark with his 38th win of the season to led Toronto.
Auston Matthews scored his 34th goal to match his jersey number and added an assist as the Maple Leafs finished with a club-record 105 points.
Zach Hyman, Nazem Kadri and Patrick Marleau had the other goals for the Leafs, while Jake Gardiner had two assists.
The Leafs still have to wait one more day to find out their first-round playoff opponent. A win by the Bruins on Sunday against Florida would see Boston move into first in the Atlantic Division and set up a meeting between Tampa Bay and Toronto.
Anything else would set up a Leafs-Bruins matchup.
Daniel Carr and Jeff Petry scored for Montreal, and Carey Price stopped 26 shots.
DUCKS 3, COYOTES 0
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) – Rickard Rakell had a goal and assist, and Ryan Miller made 31 saves to lead Anaheim.
Rakell added an assist and scored for the 12th time in his last 19 games. He led the playoff-bound Ducks with a career-high 34 goals and 69 points this season.
Miller earned his fourth shutout of the season and 43rd of his career. It was also his 370th career win, moving him past Tom Barrasso for second place on the all-time list among U.S.-born goalies.
Adam Henrique scored his 24th of the season for Anaheim (44-25-13) Authentic Customized Giants Jerseys , and Hampus Lindholm added an empty-netter before the final buzzer.
Antti Raanta stopped 24 shots for the Coyotes (29-41-12), who finished last in the Pacific but went 17-9-3 in their last 29 games.
PANTHERS 4, SABRES 3
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) – Hours after Florida was eliminated from playoff contention, Vincent Trocheck scored late in the third period to help the Panthers hold off Buffalo.
The Panthers’ slim playoff hopes ended when Philadelphia beat the New York Rangers 5-0 earlier in the day. Florida took out its frustration on the Sabres, going ahead 3-0 in the first period en route to its franchise-record 27th home victory.
Jonathan Huberdeau scored a power-play goal for the Panthers. Colton Sceviour had a goa The end has arrived.
Actually, for Atlanta, Phoenix, Dallas and Charlotte, the end came in their season finales Tuesday. There are nine teams that know Wednesday is the last day of their season. And 15 teams already have clinched playoff berths.
Then there are Minnesota and Denver.
Game 82 for both teams will have a Game 7-of-the-playoffs feel, which is a fitting way to transition from the regular season to the postseason. Nuggets at Timberwolves, winner to the playoffs, loser to the offseason. It’s the first time since 1997 – and only the third time since the NBA went to this postseason format in 1983 – that two teams will play on the season’s final day in such a situation.
”It’s bigger than all of us,” Wolves star Karl-Anthony Towns said.
Minnesota is trying to get into the playoffs for the first time since 2004 – the longest current drought in the NBA. Denver – winner of six straight to give itself this chance – is trying to get to the postseason for the first time since 2013.
So there’s only one spot left in the 16-team tournament that will decide whose fingerprints get to put the smudge of a championship celebration on the Larry O’Brien Trophy in June.
Much like the race between Minnesota and Denver, the entire tournament bracket itself is going down to the wire. There will be eight first-round matchups, and every single one of those pairings will be decided on Wednesday. So, too Vincent Trocheck Jersey , will 11 of the 16 seeds. Portland and Utah will play for the No. 3 seed in the West, in one of the few cut-and-dry matchups.
The only order of business that was cleared up Tuesday was the No. 2 overall seed, with Toronto now assured of finishing with the NBA’s second-best record.
Here’s some other things to note going into the last day of the regular season:
A FIRST FOR LEBRON
It’s really, really, really hard to find something that LeBron James hasn’t done in his career. But if he appears for Cleveland against New York on Wednesday night, it will mark the first time in James’ 15 seasons that he plays in all 82 regular-season games. He will lead the NBA in minutes played, field goals made and total points this season – at 33 years old.
Philadelphia would be the No. 3 seed in the East if it beats Milwaukee, and a franchise that knew nothing but losing (OK, ”process” losing) in recent years will set a record – for winning. If the 76ers prevail, it would be their 16th consecutive victory and that would top the record for longest winning streak to end any NBA season.
Houston’s James Harden has the scoring crown wrapped up. He’ll be the first player to win back-to-back scoring titles since his former Oklahoma City teammate Kevin Durant won three straight from 2009-10 through 2011-12.
Once again, the NBA will see more points than ever (in terms of total, not average per game). There were 259,753 points in the regular season a year ago; that will be surpassed Wednesday night, and the league is on pace to reach somewhere around 261,000 by the time the final whistle blows.
A LITTLE CASH
As if getting to the playoffs wasn’t enough, there’s a bit of a financial stake at play for Minnesota and Denver in their finale – the winning team splits $298,485 Adidas Sidney Crosby Jersey , as part of the NBA’s $20 million playoff pool this season.
Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook needs 16 rebounds against Memphis to average exactly 10.0 per game this season. If he gets there, he’ll average a triple-double for the second consecutive year. Westbrook has six games this season with at least 16 rebounds, including a season-high, 18-board effort at Miami on Monday night. Westbrook will also lead the NBA in assists per game.
Golden State lost 10 of its final 17 games this season. The Warriors‘ regular season ended Tuesday with a blowout loss at Utah. Klay Thompson isn’t worried, and he knows the defending champions – who have dealt with many injuries, most recently Stephen Curry out with a knee issue – have plenty of doubters. ”We’re ready to prove people wrong,” Thompson said.
The field-goal percentage race between Houston’s Clint Capela and the Los Angeles Clippers‘ DeAndre Jordan might look closer than it really is. Capela is shooting 65.3 percent, Jordan 64.3 percent – but if Jordan is going to catch Capela, he’ll have to shoot 15 for 15 on Wednesday (assuming Capela doesn’t take any shots). Jordan was trying to be the first player to lead the league in shooting for six straight seasons, but it seems like he’ll merely have to settle for tying Wilt Chamberlain and Shaquille O’Neal with five straight crowns.
Here’s another category where Jordan will finish second. Detroit’s Andre Drummond will lead the league’s rebounding race for the second time in three years.
The Northwest Division this season will go down as the most competitive in the current six-division format – and it’s not even close. The team that finishes last in the Northwest will be only three games behind the team that wins the division crown. There’s never been a last-place team within less than 11 games of the winner in this current format, which has been in play for 14 seasons.
There have been 116 rookies in the NBA this season, up 28 from last season, and the latest addition is noteworthy. Andre Ingram is a 32-year-old who debuted Tuesday for the Los Angeles Lakers against Hou Womens Baltimore Ravens Jerseys
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