The Boston Bruins picked up a badly needed - and emotional - win their last time out. They'll try to take advantage of another team that's been eliminated from playoff contention to move closer to the Northeast Division title Tuesday night.
The Bruins visit the Philadelphia Flyers, who are playing out their schedule in a disappointing season but have won three of four thanks to a suddenly resurgent offense.
Boston (27-12-5) stopped a four-game losing streak with a 3-0 victory over woeful Florida on Sunday to move ahead of struggling Montreal atop the division. Both teams have 59 points but the Bruins have a game in hand.
The win over the Panthers was Boston's first since the bombings of the Boston Marathon and subsequent manhunt that led to the killing of one suspect and capture of the other. Boston had two games postponed amid the events of last week and lost the first two it did play before getting back on track Sunday.
All of those contests were at home.
"Yeah, it's what you're after," center Chris Kelly told the team's official website of closing the tough week with two points. "I thought the previous two games we were starting to get back to our identity. It wasn't the results we were looking for, but we're starting to play our game.
"A little more physical, a little more jump in our game, and that kind of continued over to today. I thought we played a solid 60 minutes."
Boston recorded 21 of its 39 shots in the second period Sunday and got 28 saves from Tuukka Rask.
"Like I said after last game, even though we didn't win the game I really liked the way we were physically and emotionally attached in the game," captain Zdeno Chara said. "Today was a little bit different, but we found a way to win the game. That's a good positive step."
While Boston opened a stretch of three straight against teams that won't be going to the postseason, that's where the similarities end between Florida and Philadelphia. While the Panthers have dropped six straight and have the worst record in the NHL, the Flyers (20-22-3) are playing like they still have a chance to make the playoffs.
In its past three victories, Philadelphia has scored 16 goals. The club managed three goals during a preceding four-game losing streak that helped put an end to its postseason hopes.
Wayne Simmonds recorded his first career hat trick and added an assist to power the Flyers past Carolina 5-3 on Saturday. It was their first game since being eliminated from contention.
"We played strong right from the start," Simmonds said. "We have it in our minds that we're going to play until the last minute."
Steve Mason, in his fifth game for the Flyers since being acquired from Columbus, made 26 saves.
"The experience we're getting right now is invaluable," Mason said of the last week of the season.
Philadelphia took the most recent meeting with Boston 3-1 at home March 30, with Ilya Bryzgalov stopping 33 shots. The Flyers had lost four straight matchups and five in a row at home in the series.
Philadelphia leading goal scorer Jakub Voracek has three goals and two assists in his last four games.
Boston center Tyler Seguin, who has four goals and an assist in his last six games, had a four-game goal streak versus the Flyers snapped March 30.
The Associated Press News Service
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