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NHL Roundup

Loss to Rangers trips up Flyers

The Rangers' Blair Betts beat Flyers goalie Martin Biron for this third-period goal that stood as the winner. The Rangers' Blair Betts beat Flyers goalie Martin Biron for this third-period goal that stood as the winner. (Tom Mihalek/Associated Press)
Associated Press / April 13, 2009
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The Flyers are packing their bags for the first round of the playoffs.

Sean Avery and Blair Betts scored third-period goals to rally the New York Rangers to a 4-3 win over the host Flyers yesterday, spoiling Philadelphia's shot at home-ice advantage against Pittsburgh in its opening playoff series.

The Flyers (99 points) needed only a point in the finale to secure the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference and home ice in the best-of-seven series with Pittsburgh. Instead, the rematch from last season's conference finals will start in Pittsburgh. The Flyers went 2-2-2 against the Penguins this season and three of the games were decided by one goal.

The Rangers are the No. 7 seed and have a first-round matchup with Southeast Division champion Washington.

New York already knew its seed and matchup, and gamely tried to send the Flyers packing for Pittsburgh. Avery tied it at 3 on a slap shot past Martin Biron early in the third, with the goal announcement drowned out by boos and derogatory chants aimed at the instigator.

Only minutes later, Betts took the loose puck and scored his sixth goal midway through the period for a 4-3 lead. The Flyers pressured Henrik Lundqvist the rest of the way, but couldn't get the tying goal and the angry crowd booed as the Flyers skated off the ice.

Jeff Carter capped a career season with his 46th goal, second only to Washington's Alex Ovechkin's 56 in the NHL. He enters the postseason on a sizzling hot streak with five goals and eight points in his last six games and a point in 10 of his last 14 games.

Blues 1, Avalanche 0 - Chris Mason made 28 saves for his sixth shutout of the season, helping St. Louis beat host Colorado and take the sixth playoff spot in the Western Conference.

The Blues, in the playoffs for the first time in five years, will face Vancouver in the opening round. St. Louis finished the regular season by going 9-1-1.

Brad Boyes scored the only goal of the game early in the first period. Colorado pulled goalie Andrew Raycroft with 1:25 remaining, but couldn't score on Mason, who picked up his 18th career shutout.

The win allowed St. Louis to leapfrog Anaheim and Columbus for the sixth seed. Although the Blues tied the Blue Jackets in points, the Blues held the tiebreaker edge.

The Avalanche (32-45-5) finished last in the Western Conference for the first time since moving to Denver in 1995.

Blackhawks 3, Red Wings 0 - Nikolai Khabibulin made 37 saves for his 41st career shutout, and host Chicago tuned up for its first playoff appearance in seven years by beating Detroit.

The Blackhawks, the fourth seed in the Western Conference, open the playoffs at home against Calgary. The defending champion Red Wings had already locked down the No. 2 spot in the West and will play Columbus in the first round.

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