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Bruins beat Rangers, clinch Northeast title

Sun 1st, April 2012

New York, NY (Sports Network) - Patrice Bergeron netted the game-winner in the second period, and the Boston Bruins locked up the Northeast Division with a 2-1 victory over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

Dennis Seidenberg also tallied for the Bruins, who avoided a season sweep at the hands of the top team in the Eastern Conference thanks to their fifth win in six games.

Tim Thomas stopped 33 shots for his 34th win of the season.

"Theoretically, we have plenty of time to get that extra two points, but why wait," Thomas said about securing the division title. "We had a chance to seal it up and take all the hope out of Ottawa's sails. It's nice to do."

Marian Gaborik scored for the Rangers, who saw their four-game win streak halted in their first chance to wrap up the Atlantic Division. New York remained five points ahead of Pittsburgh, and both teams have three games remaining.

Henrik Lundqvist stopped 19 shots in defeat.

"It's always a one goal game against these guys," Lundqvist said. "They are really good through the neutral zone, and in their defensive zone they are really stingy. And Thomas played really well for them."

The deciding score was struck on a power play with 8:08 remaining in the second period, when Bergeron whipped a loose puck home inside the left post from behind the goal line. Tyler Seguin aided the goal, by stripping Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi behind the net and pushing the puck towards Bergeron.

Boston escaped disaster in the final two minutes of regulation. Thomas mishandled a dump-in to the far right of his crease, and though Derek Stepan gained control, he was unable to find a trailing teammate and his flip to the net was easily gloved down by Thomas, finally in position.

Lundqvist was sent to the bench for an extra skater with 1:23 to play, but the hosts had no answer.

Gaborik put the home team on the board 4:33 after the opening faceoff, streaking down the right wing and beating Thomas with a bullet to the far side.

Boston evened the score at the four-minute mark of the second, as Seidenberg's right-point blast zipped over the glove of Lundqvist.

Game Notes

The Bruins won the Northeast Division for the second straight season and for the fifth time since the grouping was created in 1993...Thomas allowed two goals or less for the seventh consecutive start...Gaborik, whose tally was his 40th of the year, reached the milestone for the third time and second in three seasons.

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