NHL Playoffs: Flyers finish off Devils

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NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The Philadelphia Flyers were the last team into the Stanley Cup playoffs, but are the first to reach the second round.

Given a second chance to knock out the New Jersey Devils 10 years after squandering their first opportunity, Flyers goalie Brian Boucher was brilliant on Thursday night as Philadelphia won 3-0 in Game 5 to finish off the series Thursday night.

Claude Giroux scored twice in the second period after Danny Briere had given the Flyers a 1-0 lead in the first. Boucher made the offense stand up as Philadelphia beat New Jersey for the ninth time in 11 meetings this season.

Back in the 2000 Eastern Conference finals, Boucher and the Flyers let a 3-1 series lead slip away to the Devils, who went on to win the Stanley Cup.

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Boucher finished with 27 saves this time in his second career NHL playoff shutout.

In his second stint with Philadelphia, Boucher has risen from third on the depth chart to top of the heap. The Flyers will have to wait to find out who they will play in the second round. The most likely opponent for the No. 7 seed is Presidents’ Trophy-winning Washington, which leads 3-1 against Montreal.

Philadelphia did its damage despite a relatively low shot total on Martin Brodeur. Giroux, who also assisted on Briere’s second of the series, scored his two goals in the second when the Flyers recorded only four shots. They were outshot 18-14 through 40 minutes, yet led 3-0.

The Devils face a disappointing end to a season that showed promise.

New Jersey won the Atlantic Division title for the ninth time, reached 100 points for the 12th time in 15 seasons, and qualified for the playoffs for the 13th straight season.

But they are left with a third straight first-round ouster, despite earning the No. 2 seed in the East and finishing 15 points ahead of the Flyers. Philadelphia didn’t gain its postseason spot until a shootout victory over the New York Rangers on the final day of the regular season.

Senators 4, Penguins 3

PITTSBURGH — Matt Carkner scored at 7:06 of the third overtime to give the Ottawa Senators a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on, forcing a sixth game in the Eastern Conference series.

Carkner fired a wrist shot through traffic from the right point for his first goal of the postseason, ending the longest game this NHL playoff season.

Peter Regin tied it with 9:36 to play, Mike Fisher and Jarkko Ruutu also scored, and Jason Spezza and Erik Karlsson each had two assists for the Senators, who have won two of three at Mellon Arena. Game 6 is Saturday night at Ottawa.

Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist to give him multiple points in every postseason game this season, and Kris Letang and Chris Kunitz also scored for Pittsburgh.

Blackhawks 3,

Predators 0

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Patrick Sharp scored his first two goals of the postseason, and the Chicago Blackhawks finally found their offensive form in beating the Nashville Predators 3-0 to tie their opening series at 2-2.

Jonathan Toews also scored his first playoff goal and had an assist. Marian Hossa had an assist, just his second in the series, and rookie Antti Niemi stopped 33 shots for his second shutout.

The Blackhawks made a couple lineup changes, including playing defenseman Brian Campbell for the first time since he broke his collarbone and a rib March 14.

Nashville lost its first Game 4 in three tries on home-ice.

The Predators gave no offensive support to goalie Pekka Rinne, who had allowed only two even-strength goals the first three games.

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