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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Bruins clinch Northeast Division, start printing the useless t-shirts and hats

The Boston Bruins fought through a Saturday afternoon game (one of their least favorite things) to get a 3-2 win over the Atlanta Thrashers yesterday at TD Garden.

It was very meaningful too since it let the Bs (44-23-11) clinch the Northeast Division and with it, the number three seed in the Eastern Conference.

With only four games remaining in the regular season, Boston looks locked into the third spot and (hold your breath), Montreal appears similarly set at No. 6.

In such a strange game against Atlanta (33-33-12), it is only fitting that Mr. Jekyll and Hyde himself, Michael Ryder, turned out to be the biggest hero.

With the score knotted at 2-2 in the third period, Ryder was hauled down while he broke in alone on Thrashers goaltender Ondrej Pavelec (21 saves).

Ryder was 0-for-1 on penalty shots in his career but that didn't matter as he went top-shelf for his 18th goal of the season at 12:31. The game-winner shows how hard it is to sit Ryder. He's usually a bum but he can pull shots like that out of his ass from time to time. Something to keep in mind in the playoffs.

Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (28 saves; 10-13-2) made the lead stick. It was nice to see him be a part of such an important win since he's been so snake-bitten all season.

Mark Recchi gave the Bs a 1-0 lead with a classic Rex goal at 4:34. It was a rebound from out front, assisted by Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand (who deservingly won the Seventh Player Award yesterday).

Thrashers defenseman Dustin Byfuglien scored his 20th of the season at 11:11 of the first period. It was on a power play, from Zach Bogosian and Bryan Little. The shot deflected of Rask's back and into the net.

Evander Kane put Atlanta up 2-1 at 1:37 of the second period from Nik Antropov. Kane was in the right place, in the slot, as the puck bounced right to him and Rask didn't have a chance.

Daniel Paille of all people tied it at 2 with a shorthanded goal (of course), his fourth of the season at 6:18 (unassisted). Paille stole the puck in Atlanta's zone and beat Pavelec with a close-range snipe.

Boston travels to New York City tomorrow night to face the Rangers.

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