By Brian Willwerth
Note to Bruins’ fans: you can officially start getting ready for the postseason.
Brad Marchand’s power-play goal late in the third period Sunday night gave Boston a 2-1 victory over the Flyers in Philadelphia. With the win, the Bruins ensured their fans that there will be playoff hockey at TD garden for the fourth straight year.
After being shut at out at home by the Rangers on Saturday, the Bruins only scored twice in Philadelphia. But that’s all they would need.
Philadelphia got on the scoreboard first when Kris Versteeg’s one-timer beat Tim Thomas less than five minutes into the game. But Thomas would not be beaten for the rest of the night. He finished with 27 saves.
The Bruins tied it up on the power play in the second period. Nathan Horton was in the right place at the right time to score his 23rd goal of the season. He put home a rebound of a Tomas Kaberle shot from the point.
The game stayed tied until Boston went on the power play again late in the third period. And once again, a rebound turned out to be the key, as Marchand picked up the loose puck from a Dennis Seidenberg shot and knocked it past Flyers’ goalie Brian Boucher. It was Marchand’s first goal in 13 games. To find the last time he lit the lamp, you have to go all the way back to February 22 in Calgary, one of Boston’s six consecutive road victories at the time.
The Bruins have won three of their last four games. They have seven remaining in the regular season, starting with a matchup against the Stanley Cup-Champion Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night.
Then it’s on to the playoffs. If the season ended today, the Bruins would host the Canadiens in the opening round. But a lot can change between now and the regular season finale on April 10.
For now, printing playoff tickets is just the beginning.