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Bruins' clutch win means final Eastern Conference playoff spots will be decided in Game 82

Ian Denomme
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Loui Eriksson (Getty Images) Author: The Hockey News

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Bruins' clutch win means final Eastern Conference playoff spots will be decided in Game 82

Ian Denomme
By:

The late-season scoreboard watching will continue into the final weekend of the NHL regular season as the Bruins beat the Red Wings to pull into a tie for third place in the Atlantic Division.

The late-season scoreboard watching will continue into the final weekend of the NHL regular season.

The Boston Bruins beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-2 on Thursday night to pull into a tie for third place in the Atlantic Division. Detroit could have clinched a playoff berth for the 25th consecutive season, but struggled on the second night of back-to-back games against teams fighting for their playoff lives.

The Bruins and Red Wings are now tied at 93 points each. The Bruins play their final game on Saturday against the Senators. The Red Wings face the Rangers, with both games at 12:30 p.m. ET. The Red Wings currently hold the tie breaker due to having one more regulation or overtime win.

One of the teams will take third in the Atlantic and face the Lightning in the first round, and the other... might still make the playoffs, too. The Flyers, the third team fighting for the final playoff spots, needed a goal in the last minute to pull even with the Maple Leafs on Thursday. The Flyers lost in overtime but go one point.

So as it stands now, the Red Wings are third in the Atlantic, the Bruins have the final wild-card spot and the Flyers are just one point behind. However, the Flyers have an extra game in hand. They face the red-hot Penguins at home on Saturday, then the Islanders on the road on Sunday. Getting a single point or more in the two games against playoff-bound teams is no sure thing.

What is a sure thing, is there will be high drama on Saturday and Sunday as these three teams await their playoff fates. The Red Wings control their own destiny, win and they're in. Even if the Bruins win Saturday they still have to wait and see what the Flyers do. The Flyers have fewer ROWs than the Bruins, so a Bruins would loss would still mean the Flyers need two points this weekend. The Red Wings and Bruins both have the option of getting either the third Atlantic spot, or a wild-card. The Flyers don't have that luxury -- they can only secure a wild-card berth.

Exciting stuff, and it's all just a prelude to the really good stuff starting next Wednesday.

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Bruins' clutch win means final Eastern Conference playoff spots will be decided in Game 82