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
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while prepping for Claude Bowl II.
*It’s going to be a robust trade market for defensemen with names such as Jack Johnson, Dion Phaneuf and Oliver Ekman-Larsson highlighting the group that’s available. Paul Martin will be in that select company if he clears through waivers and perhaps Niklas Hjalmarsson will as well with many teams holding D-men they’re willing to part with.
*The Buffalo Sabres apparently want four assets in any deal for rental Evander Kane that includes a draft pick, a prospect and an NHL roster player, and it’s hard to believe anybody is going to do that for a perennial underachiever who's never even scored 60 points in a season before.
*A tough end to the Andrew Cogliano iron-man streak as he’s been suspended for a couple of games after an incident last weekend.
*Brent Burns is the envy of many blueliners around the league because of his hard, accurate shot, which isn’t scoring him as many goals this season
*Year-round Las Vegas resident Deryk Engelland has been rewarded for being a member of the Golden Knights with a one-year contract extension.
*It sounds like the Philadelphia Flyers have got Shayne Gostisbehere thinking more about defense after some up-and-down moments last season in his sophomore effort.
*For something completely different: A profile on a UFC champion and a firefighter all at the same time. Sounds like an interesting dude.
BRIGHTON, Mass – Noel Acciari was in and out of the Bruins lineup in the Monday afternoon loss to the Dallas Stars with an upper-body injury and the fourth-line grinder was missing from the practice ice on Tuesday as well.
Acciari has been able to stay healthy the past few months while helping to establish Boston’s fourth line and has added to his hard-hitting style of play with six goals in 28 games this season.
But there's been a litany of injuries the past few seasons given the physical pounding the 5-foot-10, 208-pounder takes given his rugged style of play. This current injury limited him to just 6:05 of ice time in an overtime loss to the Stars. Still, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy was optimistic that Acciari would be able to suit up against the Canadiens on Wednesday night in Claude Julien’s return to TD Garden.
“Jake DeBrusk was under the weather and so was Kevan Miller, so they stayed home,” said Cassidy of Acciari, who has missed 14 games this season mainly due to a broken finger suffered blocking a shot on opening night. “Noel Acciari has a bit of an upper-body injury and it affected his minutes [Monday vs. Dallas]. He’s kind of day-to-day. I suspect that he would play tomorrow, but we’ll have a better idea on [Wednesday] morning.”
Both DeBrusk and Miller are expected to be fine to play against the Habs in their rematch from last weekend this time on Boston's home ice. Here are the line combos and D-pairings for the players that were on the ice for Tuesday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena: