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Flyers, Bruins clinch divisions

By wire services
Published April 5, 2004

UNIONDALE, N.Y. - The Flyers can stop looking at the scoreboard to check on the Devils. The Stanley Cup champions are coming to Philadelphia for the first round of the playoffs.

Kim Johnsson scored 4:20 into the third period Sunday, lifting Philadelphia to a 3-3 tie with the New York Islanders that gave the Flyers the point they needed to win the Atlantic Division.

That, coupled with New Jersey's 3-1 loss to Boston, earned the title for Philadelphia on the final day of the regular season and set up a meeting with the Devils.

"We know there's a lot more confidence in our team right now in playing the New Jersey Devils than there was a year ago," Philadelphia coach Ken Hitchcock said.

The Flyers, who edged New Jersey 101 points to 100, will have home-ice advantage against the Stanley Cup champions.

BRUINS 3, DEVILS 1: Boston earned an edge for at least the first two rounds of the playoffs by making New Jersey's road to consecutive Stanley Cup titles a little tougher.

Glen Murray set up a goal and scored another in a big first period, and the Bruins won the Northeast Division title and helped deny the Atlantic crown for the Devils.

The Bruins were without star center Joe Thornton for the second straight game because of what the team calls an upper body injury.

STARS 5, BLACKHAWKS 2: Marty Turco had 24 saves in his return from a four-game suspension and Jere Lehtinen had a goal and an assist after missing six games with a back injury for host Dallas, which clinched the No. 5 seed and a matchup with Colorado in the first round of the West playoffs. Three other injured regulars - Stu Barnes, Sergei Zubov and Jon Klemm - returned for Dallas. "Adding those key members of our team made a significant difference," coach Dave Tippett said.

PREDATORS 2, AVALANCHE 1 (OT): David Legwand scored 32 seconds into overtime and Chris Mason stopped 38 shots for visiting Nashville. Scott Hartnell tied it with 101/2 minutes left in regulation for the Predators. Colorado could be without forward Paul Kariya for the start of the playoffs. He was helped off with 2:21 left in regulation after being dumped by Hartnell and twisting his right ankle.

MIGHTY DUCKS 2, FLAMES 1: Martin Skoula and Sergei Fedorov scored in the third for host Anaheim. Calgary's Jarome Iginla got his 41st goal of the season in the second to match Columbus left wing Rick Nash and Atlanta left wing Ilya Kovalchuk for the league lead. Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff was given the day off, leaving him with a 1.69 goals-against average in 38 games, a new modern-era (post-1943) record. Dallas' Marty Turco set the mark last season at 1.72 in 55 games.

SHARKS 4, KINGS 3 (OT): Brad Stuart tied the score with two goals in the final 20 seconds of regulation, including one with 2.3 seconds left to force overtime, and Vincent Damphousse scored with 1:50 left in overtime for host San Jose.

PENGUINS 4, CAPITALS 3: Lasse Pirjeta scored twice for host Pittsburgh, which finished with the league's worst record despite closing 12-5-3. Milan Kraft scored the winner with 2:38 left.

HURRICANES 6, PANTHERS 6: Brad Fast scored his first NHL goal with 2:26 left in the third to help visiting Carolina salvage a point after Florida erased a 4-0 deficit.

WILD 3, BLUES 0: Marian Gaborik had a goal and Dwayne Roloson got his fifth shutout for host Minnesota, which went above .500 for the only time this season, closing at 30-29-20-3.

JAGR TO RUSSIA?: The Rangers' Jaromir Jagr said he has a conditional contract that will enable him to play in Russia in the fall should there be a lockout in the NHL. "There's a big chance I might be going to Moscow," Jagr said.

OATES RETIRES: Center Adam Oates announced his retirement minutes after Edmonton was eliminated from the playoffs with a 5-2 loss Saturday night to Vancouver. "I wish it wasn't for a few weeks but I have absolutely no regrets," Oates, 41, said after his 19th season. "I'm a very lucky guy. To be able to play so long has been fantastic." Oates had one assist to complete his career with 341 goals and 1,079 assists in 1,337 games.

[Last modified April 5, 2004, 01:20:27]

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