By Joe Haggerty
PHILADELPHIA The Bruins and Flyers have engaged in some tightly-clenched games this season following last years epic playoff series, and that again held true in their regular-season finale. The two Eastern Conference heavyweights took turns exchanging bone-crunching body checks and dangerous rushes up the ice that fittingly ended with a last-minute 2-1 victory for the Bruins at the Wells Fargo Center.The win clinched a playoff berth for the fourth time in four years for the B's under the tutelage of Claude Julien.Mike Richards had been whistled off for a high-sticking call, and Brad Marchand potted his 20th goal on the power play when he battled for a rebound in front of the net.It was Marchands first goal since Feb. 22 against Calgary, a 12-game drought.The Flyers opened the scoring in a physically punishing first period when Mike Richards hit former Bs farmhand Kris Versteeg with a nifty pass from the high slot and Versteeg buried the shot for his 20th goal of the season.The Bruins fought back with an excellent second period and cashed in on a power play after Blair Betts threw his leg out for a dangerous tripping play on Chris Kelly. Nathan Horton slammed home his 23rd goal of the season after collecting the rebound of a Tomas Kaberle point shot, and set up the third period for a showdown between the two Eastern Conference giants.The Bs outshot the Flyers by a 36-28 margin, but Tim Thomas was magnificent while barrel-rolling and sliding all over the crease to keep the powerful Flyers offense at bay. Joe Haggerty can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs
BRIGHTON, Mass -- Life as an emergency practice goalie can be pretty rough.
Take, for instance, Mass State Trooper Keith Segee, who has suited up a couple of times for the Boston Bruins this season during times of need, and did exactly that during Wednesday’s optional practice for the Black and Gold.
Segee got caught with a Zdeno Chara cranked slap shot right in the family jewels, and then had to walk…er, crawl it off like any normal human being would after getting bombed by a guy that can shoot it 108-mph.
“He’s got the hardest shot of anybody I’ve ever seen,” said Segee, with a smile. “I had to take two or three laps around the rink after that one and skate it off.”
Give Chara credit for moving right over to Segee and giving him a tap on the backside for skating it off, and risking life, limb and perhaps a lot more to stop a few pucks for the Black and Gold.
Segee played at Revere High and Salem State College before joining the Mass State Police, and got the emergency gig through Bruins goalie coach Bob Essensa when Boston needed a practice goalie at the end of last week in Tuukka Rask’s absence.
Let’s hope Segee is okay at this point, or the Bruins captain could be looking at a few more moving violations in his future.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while gearing up for the last couple of weeks.
*The Edmonton Oilers will return to the Stanley Cup playoffs this season as it looks like Canada will be well-represented once again after last year’s absence.
*Let’s meet the man behind the push to bring the NHL to China, and introduce the game to billions of people.
*Eric Staal is enjoying his second act with the Minnesota Wild, and even better he’s totally flourishing there as well.
*Let’s hear it for the US Women’s team that stuck to their guns and got an unprecedented deal with USA Hockey that will allow them to focus on winning for the next four years.
*PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough has Steve Stamkos “really close” to a return for the Tampa Bay Lightning, in a concerning development for the Boston Bruins’ playoff hopes.
*Apparently things are getting a little heightened with the Los Angeles Kings as some of their prominent players skipped a media session in Calgary.
*For something completely different: Let’s hear it for the best news of the day, the Cash Cab is coming back.