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Wild, Flyers secure NHL playoff spots

Wild, Flyers secure NHL playoff spots

POST SEASON:Linesman Pierre Racicot (65) tries to break up a fight between Florida Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson (44) and Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier (14). Photo: Reuters

(Reuters) – The Minnesota Wild stormed into the post-season with a thrilling 4-3 shootout victory over the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Bruins on Tuesday.

Mikko Koivu scored the lone goal of the shootout and goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov stonewalled the Bruins in overtime and the shootout as Minnesota clinched a playoff spot with their third straight win.

The Wild (42-26-12) are tied with sixth-placed Los Angeles on 96 points and will be aiming to improve on last season’s first-round playoff exit.

Jason Pominville scored twice and assisted on Ryan Suter’s tying goal with a little more than a minute remaining to send the game into overtime, and wins like the one over Boston will certainly help their momentum going into the post-season.

FLYERS HEAD TO POSTSEASON

The Philadelphia Flyers clinched a playoff berth with a 5-2 victory over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday.

Claude Giroux scored two goals and Steve Mason made 38 saves to lead the Flyers to the win. Philadelphia will return to the postseason after failing to qualify last year.

The Flyers (41-29-9) are sixth in the Eastern Conference and trail the fifth-placed New York Rangers by two points with three games remaining.

(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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