Wednesday’s NHL playoffs: Lightning beat Bruins 3-2, improve to 2-0 in seeding round
Toronto – Tyler Johnson scored the tiebreaking goal with 87 seconds left to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 3-2 victory over Boston on Wednesday and send the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Bruins to their second straight loss in the NHL’s playoff seeding round.
Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 25 shots for the Lightning, who improved to 2-0 in the three-game round-robin. Tampa Bay, which was second in the East with 92 regular-season points, would earn the top seed with a victory over Philadelphia on Saturday.
“At this point, I don’t think anyone’s really thinking about what happened in the pandemic-shortened regular season,” Johnson said. “This is a whole new thing for us and we’re trying to play the best hockey we can.”
Tuukka Rask made 32 saves for the Bruins, who led the NHL with 100 points before the coronavirus shutdown but can now finish no higher than the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.
“That part sucks, I’m not going to lie to you,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “But that’s the situation this year with the stoppage of play. We knew the rules going into it.
“We’re just trying to win a hockey game right now,” Cassidy said. “Would I rather be the No. 1 seed? Absolutely. But that’s not going to happen.”
Charlie McAvoy and Chris Wagner scored to help Boston rally from a 2-0 deficit. But in the final minutes Yanni Gourde received a long pass at the blue line and shot it off Rask’s left skate.
The puck was sitting there for Johnson to flick it in.
“We’re treating it as if it’s do or die right now,” Lightning forward Blake Coleman said. “Seeding still matters, and obviously the teams that are competing in the qualifiers are going to be ready. It’s really on us to treat it the right way, and if you don’t you’re going to be behind the eight ball.”
The first period was all Tampa Bay.
Brayden Point backhanded a loose puck in front through Rask’s legs about 7½ minutes into the game to make it 1-0. Then just 13 seconds into a Boston penalty for too many men on a defensive pairing change, Victor Hedman’s shot from the blue line went off Sean Kuraly’s stick and then Alex Killorn redirected it with his skate into the net to make it 2-0.
But the Bruins cut the deficit to one goal with three minutes left in the second when Bergeron won a faceoff, tapping it back to Torey Krug at the point. He slid it over to McAvoy, who slapped it past Vasilevskiy.
Wagner tied it early in the third when Zdeno Chara’s shot from the blue line got through Vasilevskiy but hit the post and sat there in the crease before Wagner reached in to tap it in.
More NHL playoffs
Canadiens 4, Penguins 3: Jeff Petry scored 5:33 into the third period as the Montreal Canadiens rallied from two goals down and beat Pittsburgh 4-3 in Game 3 on Wednesday night, pushing the Penguins to the brink of elimination in the best-of-five series.
Shea Weber had a goal and two assists for Montreal, Paul Byron added a goal and an assist, and Jonathan Drouin also scored. Ben Chariot also had had assists.
Avalanche 4, Stars 0: High-scoring rookie defenseman Cale Makar connected on an early power-play goal, 30-year-old Pavel Francouz recorded a shutout in his postseason debut and the Colorado Avalanche cruised to a 4-0 round-robin win over the Dallas Stars on Wednesday night.
The Stars have lost both of their games and are likely to finish where they started as the fourth seed.
Coyotes 4, Predators 1: The Arizona Coyotes knew they had a big opportunity once their challenge erased Nashville’s go-ahead goal early in the third period.
The Coyotes took advantage by scoring the next three goals.
Conor Garland and Taylor Hall each scored in the third period and the Coyotes beat the Predators 4-1 Wednesday.
Now the Coyotes, seeded 11th in the West in the NHL’s restart, can eliminate the sixth-seeded Predators in Game 4 on Friday in this best-of-five qualifying series.
Panthers 3, Islanders 2: Brian Boyle and the Florida Panthers turned the tables on the New York Islanders by playing with more discipline and patience to avoid being swept from the playoffs.
Boyle and Mike Hoffman scored goals 2:47 apart, and the Panthers took advantage of several miscues in beating the Islanders 3-2 in Game 3 of their best-of-five preliminary round playoff series on Wednesday.
The Panthers put aside their disappointment following a 4-2 loss in Game 2 a day earlier, in which they squandered a pair of one-goal leads, and allowed the Islanders to convert two of seven power-play opportunities.
FLORIDA VS. N.Y. ISLANDERS
N.Y. Islanders lead series 2-1
Aug. 1: N.Y. Islanders 2-1
Aug. 4: N.Y. Islanders 4-2
Aug. 5: Florida 3-2
MONTREAL VS. PITTSBURGH
Montreal leads series 2-1
Aug. 1: Montreal 3-2, OT
Aug. 3: Pittsburgh 3-1
Aug. 5: Montreal 4-3
Friday: 4 p.m.
COLUMBUS VS. TORONTO
Series tied 1-1
Aug. 2: Columbus 2-0
Aug. 4: Toronto 3-0
Aug. 6: 8 p.m.
Friday: 8 p.m.
TORONTO VS. N.Y. RANGERS
Carolina wins series 3-0
Aug. 1: Carolina 3-2
Aug. 3: Carolina 4-1
Aug. 4: Carolina 4-1
Aug. 2: Philadelphia 4, Boston 1
Aug. 3: Tampa Bay 3, Washington 2, SO
Aug. 5: Tampa Bay 3, Boston 2
Aug. 6: Philadelphia vs. Washington, 4 p.m.
Saturday: Washington vs. Boston, TBD
Sunday: Tampa Bay vs. Philadelphia, TBD
CHICAGO VS. EDMONTON
Chicago leads series 2-1
Aug. 1: Chicago 6-4
Aug. 3: Edmonton 6-3
Aug. 5: Chicago 4-3
Friday: 6:45 p.m.
CALGARY VS. WINNIPEG
Calgary leads series 2-1
Aug. 1: Calgary 4-1
Aug. 3: Winnipeg 3-2
Aug. 4: Calgary 6-2
Thursday: 10:30 p.m.
ARIZONA VS. NASHVILLE
Arizona leads series 2-1
Aug. 2: Arizona 4-3
Aug. 4: Nashville 4-2
Aug. 5: Arizona 4-1
Friday: 2:30 p.m.
MINNESOTA VS. VANCOUVER
Series tied 1-1
Aug. 2: Minnesota 3-0
Aug. 4: Vancouver 4-3
Thursday: 2:30 p.m.
Friday: 10:45 p.m.
Aug. 2: Colorado 2, St. Louis 1
Aug. 3: Las Vegas 5, Dallas 3
Aug. 5: Colorado 4, Dallas 0
Thursday: St. Louis vs. Las Vegas, 6:30 p.m.
Saturday: Colorado vs. Las Vegas, TBD
Sunday: St. Louis vs. Dallas, TBD