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Tuesday's NHL playoffs: Hart’s 2nd straight shutout leads Flyers to Game 4 win

Associated Press

Toronto — Carter Hart is making postseason history and has the Flyers on the brink of advancing to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade.

Hart stopped 29 shots for his second straight shutout, Michael Raffl and Phil Myers each scored and the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Montreal Canadiens 2-0 on Tuesday to take a 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference playoff series.

Montreal Canadiens center Jesperi Kotkaniemi (15) leaps to try to deflect a shot in front of Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart (79) during third period Tuesday.

The top-seeded Flyers can wrap up the series in Game 5 on Wednesday. The Flyers haven’t advanced to the second round of the playoffs since 2012, made the Stanley Cup Final since 2010 or won it all since 1975.

Put in Broad Street in a bubble. The Flyers are playing like a serious contender to win the Cup.

“Everybody’s just committed to winning right now and battling hard,” Hart said.

It’s the fifth time in NHL history a goalie had back-to-back postseason shutouts before age 23 and the first since Felix Potvin in 1994.

Hart again led the way. He became the youngest goalie in Flyers history to notch a shutout in Game 3 on Sunday at 22 years, 3 days and followed it up with another stellar effort against the Canadiens.

Hart is the second-youngest goaltender in NHL history to record back-to-back shutouts in the playoffs. Harry Lumley was 18 years, 161 days when he did it for the Detroit Red Wings in 1945.

“There’s no doubt, Carter’s a huge part of this,” Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said. “We’re not playing perfect hockey. without a doubt. We do make mistakes. but he’s able to get that big save for us.”

So much isn’t working for the Flyers. They entered 1-for-28 on the power play and the top line continues to struggle. But the depth that helped the Flyers win nine straight games shortly before the break and then win all of their round-robin games in the restart to grab the top spot was in full force.

Raffl flicked the puck past veteran Carey Price for a top shelf goal just 6:32 into the game for a 1-0 lead. Myers made it 2-0 with 2:56 left in the second on a shot that was set to wobble wide of the net. Price made a rare mistake and stabbed at the puck, only to have it deflect into the net and give Myers his second goal of the postseason.

Montreal needs a goal almost as much as it needs a win.

“It’s not pretty when you don’t score for two games,” forward Tomas Tatar said. “We just have to do a little extra to make it happen. I just feel like once we get one, it should start rolling.”

Vigneault, who led the New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks to the Stanley Cup Final, has hit all the right notes in his first season on the bench in Philadelphia.

The Flyers used a record eight goalies last season but have been steadied under Hart – and stout backup Brian Elliott – in Vigneault’s first season. Vigneault rode Henrik Lundqvist in New York to within three wins of a championship and Roberto Luongo had four playoff shutouts when the Canucks reached the Final in 2011.

Elliott could get the Game 5 start.

“I don’t know what the plan is,” Hart said. “It’s not my decision whether I play or not.”

Hart has proved worthy of the expectations heaped on him as Philadelphia’s franchise goalie.

“He’s been good, but I don’t think we really tested him much the last two games,” Montreal center Phillip Danault said.

More NHL playoffs

Dallas 2, Calgary 1: Defenseman John Klingberg scored his first goal since the NHL’s restart early in the third period, and the Stars held on for a win over the Flames in a crucial Game 5 of their Western Conference playoff series.

Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin teamed up for the first goal as the Stars took a 3-2 lead in the first-round series. They can reach the second round for the second straight year with a victory in Game 6 on Thursday. It’s been 19 years since the Stars won playoff series in consecutive seasons.

Klingberg’s go-ahead goal came two days after he was initially credited with the overtime goal in a 5-4 win that evened the series. But his hard shot grazed Alexander Radulov’s stick, and the Russian was eventually credited with the winner.

Anton Khudobin made 28 stops, including a glove save on a good look for Erik Gustafsson in the final two minutes before the Flames called timeout and pulled Cam Talbot.

Calgary spent most of the remaining 1:52 in the offensive zone with the 6-on-5 advantage, then had a two-man edge for the final 21 seconds when Andrew Cogliano was called for slashing. But the Flames couldn’t get a shot past Khudobin.

Elias Lindholm had a good chance to get the Flames even midway through the third, but his shot was deflected wide by Khudobin, who lost his stick after stabbing at the puck with it.

Benn put the Stars in front 1-0 in the first period when he tipped in a pass from Seguin in the slot going full speed, just barely before plowing into the net and knocking it loose as he tumbled to the ice.

Mikael Backlund pulled Calgary even with his fourth goal of the playoffs, an unassisted tally when he beat Khudobin with a slap shot in the final minute of the first period.

Washington 3, N.Y. Islanders 2: Alex Ovechkin scored twice, including the go-ahead goal early in the third period, as Washington rallied from two goals down to beat the Islanders and avoid a sweep in their first-round series.

Evgeny Kuznetsov also scored for the Capitals and Braden Holtby stopped 24 shots. Washington won for the second time in seven postseason games, going 1-1-1 in round-robin play in the qualifying round to fall to the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference, and then losing the first three games against the Islanders.

Mathew Barzal and Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored in the first period to give New York a 2-0 lead. Semyon Varlamov finished with 26 saves. The Islanders, who won three of four against Florida in the qualifying round, lost for the second time in eight games this postseason.

Game 5 is Thursday.

Las Vegas 4, Chicago 3: Alex Tuch scored the tiebreaking goal 1:34 into the third period, and the Golden Knights rallied from an early two-goal deficit to eliminate the Blackhawks in Game 5 of their first-round playoff series on Tuesday night.

Vegas, the top-seed in the Western Conference, became the first team in the Stanley Cup playoffs to advance to the conference semifinals. The Golden Knights will face the lowest remaining seed in the next round.

Max Pacioretty (Michigan) scored in the closing seconds of the first period and Mark Stone scored less than a minute into the second as the Golden Knights quickly erased Chicago’s early 2-0 advantage. Alec Martinez scored on a power play midway through the second period after Patrick Kane had given Chicago a 3-2 lead.

Robin Lehner made 23 saves including a couple of big stops in the closing seconds, and improved to 8-1 since being acquired by the Golden Knights from Chicago back in February.

Eastern Conference

No. 1 Philadelphia leads No. 8 Montreal, 3-1

Aug. 12: Philadelphia 2, Montreal 1

Aug. 14: Montreal 5, Philadelphia 0

Aug. 16: Philadelphia 1, Montreal 0

Aug. 18: Philadelphia 2,  Montreal 0

Aug. 19: Montreal vs. Philadelphia, 8

x-Aug. 21: Philadelphia vs. Montreal, TBD

x-Aug. 23: Montreal vs. Philadelphia, TBD

No. 2 Tampa Bay leads vs. No. 7 Columbus, 3-1

Aug. 11: Tampa Bay 3, Columbus 2, 5OT

Aug. 13: Columbus 3, Tampa Bay 1

Aug. 15: Tampa Bay 3, Columbus 2

Aug. 17: Tampa Bay 2, Columbus 1

Aug. 19: Columbus vs. Tampa Bay, noon

x-Aug. 21: Tampa Bay vs. Columbus, TBD

x-Aug. 22: Columbus vs. Tampa Bay, TBD

No. 6 N.Y. Islanders lead vs. No. 3 Washington, 3-1

Aug. 12: N.Y. Islanders 4, Washington 2

Aug. 14: N.Y. Islanders 5, Washington 2

Aug. 16: N.Y. Islanders 2, Washington 1 (OT)

Aug. 18: Washington 3, N.Y. Islanders 2

x-Aug. 20: N.Y. Islanders vs. Washington, TBD

x-Aug. 22: Washington vs. N.Y. Islanders, TBD

x-Aug. 23: N.Y. Islanders vs. Washington, TBD

No. 4 Boston leads vs. No. 5 Carolina, 3-1

Aug. 12: Boston 4, Carolina 3, 2OT

Aug. 13: Carolina 3, Boston 2

Aug. 15: Boston 3, Carolina 1

Aug. 17: Boston 4, Carolina 3 

Aug. 19: Carolina vs. Boston, 4

x-Aug. 20: Boston vs. Carolina, TBD

x-Aug. 23: Carolina vs. Boston, TBD

Western Conference

No. 1 Las Vegas defeats No. 8 Chicago, 4-1

Aug. 11: Las Vegas 4 Chicago 1

Aug. 13: Las Vegas 4, Chicago 3, OT

Aug. 15: Las Vegas 2, Chicago 1

Aug. 16: Chicago 3, Las Vegas 1

Aug. 18: Las Vegas 4, Chicago 3

No. 2 Colorado leads vs. No. 7 Arizona, 3-1

Aug. 12: Colorado 3, Arizona 0

Aug. 14: Colorado 3, Arizona 2

Aug. 15: Arizona 4, Colorado 2

Aug. 17: Colorado 7, Arizona 1

Aug. 19: Arizona vs. Colorado, 5:30

x-Aug. 21: Colorado vs. Arizona, TBD

x-Aug. 23: Arizona vs. Colorado, TBD

No. 3 Dallas leads No. 6 Calgary, 3-2

Aug. 11: Calgary 3, Dallas 2

Aug. 13: Dallas 5, Calgary 4

Aug. 14: Calgary 2, Dallas 0

Aug. 16: Dallas 5, Calgary 4 (OT)

Aug. 18: Dallas 2, Calgary 1 

Aug. 20: Dallas vs. Calgary, TBD

x-Aug. 22: Calgary vs. Dallas, TBD

No. 4 St. Louis tied vs. No. 5 Vancouver, 2-2

Aug. 12: Vancouver 5, St. Louis 2

Aug. 14: Vancouver 4, St. Louis 3, OT

Aug. 16: St. Louis 3, Vancouver 2 (OT)

Aug. 17: St. Louis 3, Vancouver 1

Aug. 19: Vancouver vs. St. Louis, 10:30 

Aug. 21: St. Louis vs. Vancouver, TBD

x-Aug. 23: Vancouver vs. St. Louis, TBD

x-if necessary