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Rangers Sweep Flyers, Clinch Top Seed

Ryan Callahan and Artem Anisimov scored as part of a four-goal first period, and the New York Rangers clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs for the first time since 1994 with a 5-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night.

2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic - New York Rangers v Philadelphia Flyers
Rob Carr, Getty Images

The Rangers are tops in the East for the first time since Mark Messier led them to their last Stanley Cup championship 18 years ago. The Rangers, who lead the overall NHL standings with 109 points, are assured of home-ice advantage until at least the Stanley Cup finals.

The Rangers are atop the East thanks to a stunning series sweep of the Atlantic Division-rival Flyers. They went 6-0 against Philadelphia for the first time in 40 years.

Ryan McDonagh and Brian Boyle also scored to help the Rangers storm to a 4-0 lead. Marian Gaborik added his 41st goal, and Henrik Lundqvist earned his career-best 39th victory.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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