Flyers beat Rangers to clinch playoff berth

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - The Philadelphia Flyers claimed the final Eastern Conference playoff berth on Sunday, eliminating the New York Rangers from the post-season with a 2-1 triumph in a shootout.

Philadelphia defenseman Matt Carle tied the game at 6:54 in the third period and, after a scoreless overtime, goaltender Brian Boucher stopped shots from Erik Christensen and Olli Jokinen in the shootout for the Flyers (41-35-6).

The Flyers begin the playoffs against the New Jersey Devils.

"It was an emotional game and I think we were rewarded for the game we played," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette told reporters. Guys did everything they possibly could to make sure we were moving on. Our guys played about as hard as they could."

The Rangers (38-33-11), who had been hoping to make their fifth straight post-season, made a late run and defeated Philadelphia 4-3 on Friday for their fifth win in six games to keep their chances alive.

"I think we gave ourselves a chance by playing the way we did down the last three weeks," said Rangers defenseman Marc Staal.

"It would have sucked to lose 2-1 in regulation and it sucks to lose in a shootout. Either way it's a loss.

"The format is the way it is, it's just that this was Game 82 and the winner gets in. We lost and it sucks."

The Rangers took the early advantage with a Jody Shelley tip-in at 3:27 in the first before Carle tied it in the third.

The Flyers had been slipping over the tail end of the season and failed to clinch their playoff spot on Friday.

Trying to seize a second opportunity, Philadelphia came out aggressively with 18 shots in the first period but were thwarted by Rangers' goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who stopped the first 35 shots he faced.

Lundqvist ended with 46 saves, though failed to stop Danny Briere and Claude Giroux in the shootout.

(Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)