Race Tightens For NHL East Final Playoff Spots

As the regular season winds down for the NHL, the Eastern Conference current playoff standings are as cluttered as aDevils Thrashers Hockey pack-rat’s closet. After tallying the most recent scores, Montreal, Philadelphia and Boston all have 82 points and the Atlanta Thrashers are right on the doorstep with 80.

Last night while the Bruins picked up an important two points after getting a goal from Patrice Bergeron with just 18.3 seconds left in overtime to earn a 1-0 victory over their rival New Jersey Devils, the Thrashers picked up two with a 3-2 win in Toronto.

After the Bruins beat the Devils for the first time all season, Bergeron spread the credit. “It was a huge effort from everyone,” said Bergeron. “We need it. It’s in our hands. If we worry about ourselves and do the job, we shouldn’t worry about anybody else. We’ve got find a way to get that energy, that effort. We know it’s a tough schedule but no one feels sorry for us.”

The tough schedule he is referring to is the one that includes two road games against the Washington Capitals.

“We’re fighting for our lives right now,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “Look around the league tonight. Teams that are chasing us also won. Every game has to be about desperation.”

Thrashers’ forward Colby Armstrong also commented on the tight race for the final playoff spots. “We know what the schedule is. Five games left and we’ve got some tough teams coming up. It’s really close.”

Like the Bruins, the Thrashers also will face some strong opposition that includes the Capitals twice and the Pittsburgh Penguins in the final game of the season.

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