Bruins win without Rask, take 2-1 lead over Hurricanes
TORONTO (AP) — Jaroslav Halak stopped 29 shots after goalie Tuukka Rask opted out of the NHL playoffs and Charlie Coyle had a goal and assist to help the Boston Bruins beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1 on Saturday for a 2-1 series lead.
Rask’s absence was announced Saturday morning and it did not seem to rattle the defending Eastern Conference champions later in the day.
The Vezina Trophy finalist is the highest-profile player to opt out of the league’s return from the coronavirus pandemic shutdown. Rask led the NHL with a 2.12 goals-against average and helped Boston reach Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final last year.
Rask left the league’s bubble in Toronto to be with his wife and three young children, including a newborn.
Game 4 is Monday night, when fifth-seeded Carolina may be without Andrei Svechnikov against fourth-seeded Boston. The 20-year-old Russian forward was injured late in the game when his right leg, near his ankle, buckled after getting tied up with Bruins defender Zdeno Chara in front of the net.
Sean Kuraly and Brad Marchand added goals for the Bruins. Nino Niederreiter scored for the Hurricanes.
Boston was without star David Pastrnak for a second straight game due to an undisclosed ailment.
LIGHTNING 3, BLUE JACKETS 2
TORONTO (AP) — Andrei Vasilevskiy made 16 saves and Tampa Bay beat Columbus to take a 2-1 series lead.
Alex Killorn, Brayden Point and Victor Hedman scored, and the Lightning held off a 6-on-5 push by the Blue Jackets late.
Riley Nash and Eric Robinson scored for the Blue Jackets, and Joonas Korpisalo made 31 stops after piling up 121 saves in the first two games of the series, including a five-overtime loss Tuesday night.
The Lightning outshot Columbus 34-17, including 16-4 in the second period.
Game 4 is Monday.
GOLDEN KNIGHTS 2, BLACKHAWKS 1
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 26 shots and Vegas held off Chicago to take a 3-0 lead in the series.
William Karlsson and Patrick Brown scored for the Golden Knights. Vegas is 6-0 in the postseason, having also won all three of its round-robin games in the preliminary round to take the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.
With Games 3 and 4 on back-to-back nights, Vegas coach Peter DeBoer opted to start Fleury instead of Robin Lehner, who is 4-0 with 2.39 goals-against average this postseason.
Olli Maatta scored in the third period and Corey Crawford had 24 saves for Chicago.
COYOTES 4, AVALANCHE 2
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Darcy Kuemper stopped 49 shots and Arizona beat Colorado to cut the Avalanche's series lead to 2-1.
Arizona took the early lead on Derek Stepan’s first-period goal, then spent most of the day counterpunching against Colorado’s relentless pressure.
Andre Burakovsky tied it in the second period during one Avalanche flurry, but Brad Richardson Richardson put the Coyotes up 2-1 in the closing seconds.
Kuemper took made a series of difficult saves in the third period and Taylor Hall scored on an empty net, seemingly sealing it.
Mikko Rantanen gave Colorado life, following Hall’s goal by scoring with 1:03 left. Lawson Crouse finally put it out of reach with an empty-net goal to give Arizona life heading into Game 4 on Monday.
Colorado’s Pavel Francouz stopped 19 shots.