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Briefs: Boston clinches No. 1 seed in Eastern Conference

The Boston Bruins were all smiles after clinching top seed in Eastern Conference. (Associated Press)
The Boston Bruins were all smiles after clinching top seed in Eastern Conference. (Associated Press)

NHL: Johnny Boychuk scored the tiebreaking goal with 6:06 left in the third period, Milan Lucic had two goals and the Boston Bruins clinched the Eastern Conference’s best record with a 5-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon in Boston.

David Krejci also scored for the Bruins and Patrice Bergeron extended his consecutive points streak to 11 games.

Wayne Simmonds and Jay Rosehill scored for the Flyers, who are in a tight race with a group of teams for a playoff spot.

• Avalanche blank Blues: Semyon Varlamov tied the franchise single-season record for goalie wins held by Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy and Paul Stastny had another big game in his hometown in a penalty-filled 4-0 victory over the St. Louis Blues in St. Louis.

Stastny had a goal and two assists and Nathan Mackinnon had a goal and an assist for Colorado, which has won six in a row and has 106 points, third-most in franchise history. Roy became the fifth coach in NHL history to win 50 games in his first season.

Varlamov made 31 saves for his second shutout of the season and NHL-leading 40th win, matching Roy’s total in 2000-01. The Avalanche reached 50 wins for the second time in franchise history and tied the franchise mark with 24 road victories.

The Blues fell two points behind Boston for first place overall.

• Capitals edge Islanders in shootout: Evgeny Kuznetsov scored the only goal in the shootout, lifting the Capitals to a 4-3 win over the New York Islanders in Uniondale, N.Y., that kept Washington’s playoff hopes alive.

Washington moved within two points of Columbus for the East’s final spot.

• Rangers fail to clinch spot: Robin Lehner made 41 saves and held off a furious late push by New York to lift the Ottawa Senators to a 3-2 victory in New York that prevented the Rangers from clinching an Eastern Conference playoff berth.

The Rangers needed only one point to secure a postseason spot for the fourth straight year.

• Wild shut out Penguins: Cody McCormick had a goal and an assist and Ilya Bryzgalov stopped all 20 shots he faced as the Minnesota Wild beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-0 in St. Paul, Minn.

The Wild maintained a five-point cushion over Dallas for the seventh playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Bulls run winning streak to five

Basketball: D.J. Augustin scored 25 points, Joakim Noah had 21 points and 12 rebounds, and the Chicago Bulls turned a possible first-round playoff preview into a laugher, never trailing in a 96-78 win over the host Washington Wizards.

Augustin made 6 of 11 3-pointers and Carlos Boozer added 16 points for the Bulls, who have won five straight and are battling the Toronto Raptors for the No. 3 seed in the East.

John Wall scored 20 points for the Wizards, who sit in sixth place in the East.

• Warriors fire assistant coach: The Golden State Warriors fired assistant coach Darren Erman for “a violation of company policy,” general manager Bob Myers said.

• Siena wins CBI title: MVP Brett Bisping had 20 points and nine rebounds, and Siena cruised past Fresno State 81-68 in the decisive Game 3 of the College Basketball Invitational championship series in Loudonville, N.Y.

Commanding lead for Kuchar

Golf: Matt Kuchar overcame windy conditions to match the low round of the day and take a four-shot lead after three rounds of the Houston Open in Humble, Texas.

Kuchar had three straight birdies on the back nine at the Golf Club of Houston to vault past second-round leader Sergio Garcia with a 4-under par 68 – leaving him at 15-under overall heading into the final round. Cameron Tringale and Garcia are four shots back.

• Wie, Thompson tied for lead: Michelle Wie and Lexi Thompson topped the Kraft Nabisco leaderboard in Rancho Mirage, Calif., setting up a possible final-round showdown the LPGA Tour has been waiting for.

Wie, 24, shot a bogey-free 4-under-par 68 to match Thomson, 19, at 10-under 206 at Mission Hills in the first major championship of the year.

Czechs reach Davis Cup semis

Tennis: The Czech Republic became the first team to reach the Davis Cup semifinals, while heavily favored Switzerland had another disappointing loss in the doubles and France kept alive its quarterfinal against Germany.

The defending champion Czechs clinched an unassailable 3-0 lead over Japan after winning their doubles match.

That’s the only quarterfinal that has gone according to script so far, as Switzerland and France both find themselves down 2-1 going into the reverse singles today.

• Petkovic, Cepelova in finals: No. 14 seed Andrea Petkovic of Germany and Jana Cepelova of Slovakia advanced to the Family Circle Cup finals in Charleston, S.C., both rallying late to set up an unlikely championship today.