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Bruins need a point Wednesday to clinch playoff spot


The Boston Bruins will clinch a spot in the playoffs for the eighth straight season on Wednesday with a single point against the Tampa Bay Lightning

The Bruins, who were the first team to clinch a playoff spot last season amid their Presidents' Trophy campaign, will become the second to do so this season with a point on Wednesday. The New York Rangers secured their postseason berth on Tuesday with a 6-5 overtime win over the Philadelphia Flyers.

Boston closed in on clinching their spot with a 4-3 win over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday. Despite their dominant regular season a year ago, the Bruins were swept in the first round by the eighth-seeded Panthers, who reached the Stanley Cup Final.

The Bruins had lost two straight games entering Tuesday's game, but find themselves two points ahead of the Panthers for first in the Atlantic with one more game played after picking up the win.

“This was special, a real momentum-builder for us,” Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman said post-game. “It prepares us for what to expect, the next nine games plus the playoffs. That’s a really good team and this gives us a boatload of confidence moving forward in what we need to do to prepare ourself for the playoffs.”

“It was an important win for us,” forward Pavel Zacha added. “We know that’s a really good team and it was like a playoff game. Winning those is really important to build [our] game moving forward.”

The winner of the Atlantic Division will face one of the wild-card teams, while second place finisher is on track to face the Toronto Maple Leafs, who the Panthers eliminated in the second round last year. Along with the division's top seed, first place in the Eastern Conference is also up for grabs with Rangers just one point ahead of the Bruins, with a game in hand.