PITTSBURGH — The Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins won’t meet in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
If their paths cross down the line, the theater should be delicious. As usual.
Mark Streit’s backhanded shot from the right circle caromed between Marc-Andre Fleury’s pads 2:10 into overtime as the Flyers beat the Penguins 4-3 on Saturday to assure themselves of a first-round matchup with the Metropolitan Division-rival New York Rangers.
Streit’s 10th goal of the season was the game-winner.
“It was another big game, it’s always a big rivalry,” Streit said of the Penguins. “It got heated at the end, a lot of emotions. We wanted that third spot and we got it.”
Jakub Voracek scored twice for the Flyers, and Claude Giroux added his team-high 28th goal of the season. Ray Emery made 12 saves after replacing injured starter Steve Mason to begin the third period.
Mason was held out as a precaution after getting bowled over late in the second period when Pittsburgh’s Jayson Megna failed to put on the brakes while streaking to the net.
Flyers coach Craig Berube expects Mason to be fine, though the play turned an atypically sleepy meeting between the two clubs into something decidedly more lively.
There were three goals in the final 5 minutes of regulation, a brief dust-up at the end of regulation that led to a rare 3-on-3 to start overtime, and plenty of pushing and shoving.
At one point Philadelphia’s Scott Hartnell hit Kris Letang from behind just days after Letang returned from a stroke that kept the 2013 Norris Trophy finalist out for more than two months.
Bruins 4, Sabres 1
BOSTON — The Boston Bruins clinched the NHL’s best record and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs with a win over the league-worst Buffalo Sabres.
It is the first time the Bruins have claimed the Presidents’ Trophy since the 1989-90 season.
David Krejci scored two goals, Patrice Bergeron netted his 30th of the season, one fewer than his career high set in 2005-06, and Gregory Campbell got his eighth.
Cody Hodgson scored for Buffalo.
Sabres goalie Matt Hackett was taken from the ice on a stretcher after Boston defenseman Torey Krug fell on his right leg with 11:35 left. He was replaced by Connor Knapp, who allowed Krejci’s second goal one minute later.
It is the second time the Bruins have won the Presidents’ Trophy, given to the NHL team with the most regular-season points, since the award was instituted for the 1985-86 season.
Blue Jackets 3, Panthers 2
SUNRISE, Fla. — Ryan Johansen scored the tiebreaking goal in the third period to and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Florida Panthers for the eighth straight time.
Mark Letestu and Cam Atkinson also scored for Columbus and Sergei Bobrovsky made 33 saves.
Jimmy Hayes and Vincent Trocheck scored for the Panthers. Roberto Luongo stopped 35 shots.
The Blue Jackets clinched the first wild-card spot and will face Pittsburgh in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.