Brian Boucher stopped Olli Jokinen on the final attempt of the shootout to send the Flyers into the playoffs while eliminating the New York Rangers with a 2-1 victory yesterday in Philadelphia.
The final game of the regular season felt more like Game 7 of a playoff series. Win and advance; lose and go home.
The Flyers earned the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference and will play New Jersey.
“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,’’ said Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger.
The Rangers forced what was essentially a one-game playoff when they beat the Flyers Friday night. Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist was sensational, but Matt Carle tied the game at 1 early in the third period.
Danny Briere and Claude Giroux scored in the shootout for the Flyers. In between, P.A. Parenteau scored for the Rangers.
Lundqvist stopped 46 shots from every angle. The Flyers outshot the Rangers by a 2-1 margin for most of the game.
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 yesterday’s game. He deflected a shot from the point past a stunned Boucher for a 1-0 lead.
Lundqvist made the lead stand until early in the third. Briere’s shot from the circle bounced off the goalie and Jeff Carter poked the rebound to Carle for his sixth goal of the season.
Devils 2, Sabres 1 — Jamie Langenbrunner scored an empty-net, power-play goal with three seconds left as New Jersey earned the No. 2 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference in Newark.
The Sabres needed to win the game in regulation to earn the No. 2 seed and they pulled goalie Patrick Lalime with about 10 seconds to go to put an extra skater on the ice.
It soon backfired as Langenbrunner took a pass from Zach Parise and found the empty net.
Travis Zajac also scored and Martin Brodeur stopped 22 shots, including a great leg save on Toni Lydman with 2:35 to play.
Thomas Vanek scored his fifth goal in two days for the Northeast Division champion Sabres, who wound up with the No. 3 seed in the East and will play the sixth-seeded Bruins in the first round. Boston won the season series, 4-2.
Red Wings 3, Blackhawks 2 — Brad Stuart scored at 3:11 of overtime as Detroit prevented host Chicago from winning the Western Conference regular-season title.
Stuart took a nice pass from Dan Cleary to beat Antti Niemi as the Red Wings continued their late-season surge and locked up the No. 5 seed in the playoffs. They will face Phoenix in the first round.
A victory would have allowed the Blackhawks to tie San Jose (113) for most points in the West, and Chicago would have won a tiebreaker because it had more victories.
Instead, the Blackhawks had their six-game winning streak ended, finished with 112 points, and now have the No. 2 seed. They will open the playoffs against Nashville.
Tomas Holmstrom deflected in Brian Rafalski’s wrist shot from just in front of the blue line at 7:10 of the final period, giving the Red Wings a 2-1 lead.
But about 3 1/2 minutes later, Chicago’s Marian Hossa skated down the side and made a nice crossing pass to Colin Fraser for the tying score.
Dave Bolland’s power-play goal gave Chicago a 1-0 lead after one. Patrick Eaves scored for Detroit to tie it in the second.
Penguins 6, Islanders 5 — Sidney Crosby finished the regular season with a flourish, scoring twice to reach 50 goals for the first time and adding three assists that helped the Pittsburgh win in overtime in Uniondale, N.Y.
Jordan Leopold scored at 4:25 of overtime for the Penguins, who as the No. 4 seed in the East, will face fifth-seeded Ottawa in the playoffs.
Crosby’s second-period breakaway gave him 51 goals this season, tying him with Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos for the Maurice Richard Trophy as the league’s top goal scorer.
Evgeni Malkin complemented Crosby’s big game with two goals and two assists.
The Islanders scored three third-period goals on nine shots to tie the score at 5. Kyle Okposo and Jon Sim found the net 24 seconds apart, and John Tavares tipped in Freddy Meyer’s wrist shot to beat Brent Johnson with 4:13 left in regulation.
Kings 2, Avalanche 1 — In Denver, Dustin Brown scored 1:31 into OT, helping Los Angeles head into the postseason with a burst of momentum.
The Kings will enter the postseason as the sixth seed in the West and draw Vancouver in the first round. As the eighth seed, the Avalanche will play San Jose.
Los Angeles tied the game late in the third when Jarret Stoll redirected a shot past Craig Anderson.
Brown’s winner came when he poked in a shot off a rebound. It was his 24th goal of the season.
Lightning 3, Panthers 1 — Stamkos got his 51st goal of the season, tying Crosby for the league lead, and Vincent Lecavalier and Alex Tanguay also scored as Tampa Bay beat host Florida.
Ducks 7, Oilers 2 — Teemu Selanne scored his 606th goal in possibly his final NHL game as Anaheim pounded visiting Edmonton.
First-round playoff schedules, C11