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Avery, Betts power Rangers past Flyers

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The Flyers' blown third-period lead cost

them a win and a stay at home.

Jeff Carter, Danny Briere and the rest of the Flyers are packing

their bags for Pittsburgh for the first round of the playoffs.

Sean Avery and Blair Betts scored third-period goals to rally

the New York Rangers to a 4-3 win over the Flyers on Sunday,

spoiling Philadelphia's shot at home-ice advantage against

Pittsburgh in its opening playoff series.

"We were going to have to play there at some point anyway,"

Briere said. "If we get to a Game 7, we'll talk it about if we

get there."

The Flyers (99 points) needed only a point in the finale to

secure the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference and home ice in

the best-of-seven series with Pittsburgh. Instead, the rematch

from last season's conference finals will start in Pittsburgh.

The Flyers went 2-2-2 against the No. 4 seed Penguins and three

of the games were decided by one goal.

"I think this group has always found a way to do it the hard

way, but they have always found a way to do it," Flyers coach

John Stevens said. "It's an exciting matchup with great young

players on both teams and great stories throughout the year on

both teams."

The Rangers are the No. 7 seed and have a first-round matchup

with Southeast Division champion Washington.

New York already knew its seed and matchup, and gamely tried to

send the Flyers packing for Pittsburgh. Avery tied it at 3 on a

slap shot past Martin Biron early in the third, with the goal

announcement drowned out by boos and derogatory chants aimed at

the instigator.

Only minutes later, Betts took the loose puck and scored his

sixth goal midway through the period for a 4-3 lead. The Flyers

pressured Henrik Lundqvist the rest of the way. They couldn't

get that crucial tying goal and the angry crowd booed as the

Flyers skated off the ice.

Avery tangled with Scott Hartnell near the benches at the end of

the game.

"We talked about it before the game about going into the

playoffs winning a few games in a row, feeling really good about

ourselves, and a win on the road," Lundqvist said. "It's a lot

of good things."

The Flyers won 20 games on the road this season and reached the

Eastern Conference finals last year without home ice in either

of their three series. Still, all they needed was a tie against

the Rangers to maybe make the championship road a bit easier.

"We should have had the mentality of going out there and get a

two-goal lead or three-goal lead," Briere said. "We just sat

back and waited to see what was going to happen."

Carter capped a career season with his 46 goals, second only to

Washington's Alex Ovechkin's 56 in the NHL. He enters the

postseason on a sizzling hot streak with five goals and eight

points in his last six games and a point in 10 of his last 14


He won a four-player fight for the puck along the boards, skated

into the circle and whizzed the puck past Lundqvist for a 2-1

lead in the second period.

Carter should be happy to see the Penguins on the playoff

bracket: He has three goals and eight points against them this


Brandon Dubinsky scored two goals for the Rangers and spoiled

Philadelphia's season-long streak of not allowing a short-handed

goal. His second goal of the game was short-handed, wrecking

Philadelphia's shot of becoming the first team in NHL history to

play an entire season without allowing one. The Flyers' streak

of 103 straight games without surrendering a short-handed goal

was the longest since Montreal went 122 games from March 1975 to

November 1976.

Briere had an assist on Claude Giroux's ninth goal of the season

in the first period, and scored one of his own off a deflection

in the second to give the Flyers a 3-2 lead.

Dubinsky's first goal of the game came off on a fortuitous

bounce. Derek Morris' shot from the blue line appeared to

deflect off the skate of Flyers defenseman Matt Carle and scoot

through Biron's legs and tie it 1-1.

"I thought we showed a lot of character by coming down here and

winning this game," Rangers forward Markus Naslund said.

Stop that shot and maybe the Flyers are looking at overtime. Now

they're looking at a trip to Pittsburgh.



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