Friday's NHL playoffs: Bruins score 3 PPG, beat Capitals 4-1 for 3-1 series lead

Associated Press

Boston — The Boston Bruins had to cut short one goal celebration to skate to the defense of a teammate, who was taking some abuse from oft-suspended Capitals forward Tom Wilson.

They didn’t fight back.

They just kept scoring.

After 15 periods of neck-and-neck hockey, the Bruins finally broke one open in their playoff series against Washington on Friday night, getting goals from David Pastrnak and Charlie Coyle 34 seconds apart early in the third period to win 4-1 and send the Capitals to the brink of elimination.

Boston Bruins' Charlie Coyle (13) scores on Washington Capitals goalie Ilya Samsonov (30) during the third period in Game 4.

Brad Marchand and Matt Grzelcyk added power-play goals for Boston, which was 3-for-5 with the man advantage.

“We kind of had a mindset of, ‘Hey, let’s make these guys pay,’ in response to the penalties they were taking,” Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy said. “You always want to score … but I think we responded well to the penalties they were taking and ultimately making them pay on the scoreboard.”

Tuukka Rask stopped 19 shots for his 54th playoff victory, breaking the Bruins franchise record that was set by Hall of Famer Gerry Cheevers in 1980. Boston took a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series and can advance with a victory in Game 5 in Washington on Sunday.

“It doesn’t really matter who is the hero every night,” said Pastrnak, who netted his first goal of the series and was originally credited for Marchand’s goal. “As long as you win, you feel amazing.”

After three straight overtime games in which neither team managed as much as a two-goal lead, the Bruins made it 2-0 on Pastrnak’s power-play goal 29 seconds into the third. The 25% capacity crowd had barely settled down before Jake DeBrusk’s shot bounced high off the glass behind Ilya Samsonov and landed in the crease for Coyle to poke it into the net.

Behind the play, Wilson put a few extra shots on Nick Ritchie – one of many scuffles in the game. For the second straight game, Rask was the target of a Capitals hit; Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller was sent to the hospital by a high hit from Dmitry Orlov.

“Their guy left his feet, borderline late, and drove right under his chin,” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy, who added that Miller left the rink for the hospital. “It’s unfortunate for Kevan, but we’ll see how he is.”

Alex Ovechkin made it 3-1 with 15 minutes left in the game when his shot was deflected into the net by Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo. It was Ovechkin’s first goal of the 2021 playoffs and the 71st of his postseason career, moving him past Steve Yzerman and into a tie with Bryan Trottier for 16th most in NHL history.

But Grzelcyk restored the three-goal lead on Boston’s third power-play goal, with five minutes left.

Samsonov, whose overtime turnover in his playoff debut helped Boston claim Game 3, made 33 saves for Washington. He struggled to hold onto his stick — losing it three times in the second period — and had to skate off a knee injury at one point but remained in the game.

Samsonov was pulled for much of the last three minutes, but the Capitals couldn’t get any closer despite having a 6-on-4 advantage for much of it.

“Just think, we didn’t really bring it today,” forward Lars Eller said. “We were off. Now we’ve got 48 hours to regroup here and I want to see a different team in Game 5 at home. I believe we can do that. I’ve seen it before.”

The Capitals went almost 20 minutes without a shot on goal in the middle of the game and were outshot 37-20 in all. But it was still scoreless until Marchand tipped in Pastrnak’s shot on the power play with 12 minutes left in the second.

“They scored power-play goals tonight,” Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said. “Some of the penalties I don’t like, some of them are part of the game. It’s physical out there. At the end of the day, there’s got to be discipline.”

More games

► (At) Nashville 5, Carolina 4 (OT): Matt Duchene scored at 14:54 of the second overtime and the Predators beat the Hurricanes to cut their series deficit to 2-1.

Now the Predators, 0-5 after trailing 2-0 in a best-of-seven series, will try to tie it up Sunday in Game 4.

Duchene scored his first goal of the series in the longest game yet of this postseason. Roman Josi flipped the puck to Duchene, who skated up the slot and flipped the puck over Alex Nedeljkovic for the victory.

Nashville is 4-3 in games going two or more overtimes.

Nashville’s Eeli Tolvanen hit the post 38 seconds into the only power play of overtime.

Ryan Ellis had a goal and two assists, and Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg and Mikael Granlund also scored for Nashville. Juuse Saros had his first career assist and tied the franchise record with 52 saves for only his second postseason victory.

Sebastian Aho had a goal and two assists for Carolina, and Jordan Staal, Vincent Trocheck and Brett Pesce also scored.

Johansen put Nashville up 4-3 at5:01 of the third, redirecting a shot by Ellis. But Pesce tied it with 3:21 left in regulation with a snap shot near the high slot.

► Colorado 5, (at) St. Louis 1: Ryan Graves had a goal and two assists, Philipp Grubauer made 31 saves and the Avalanche beat the Blues to take a 3-0 series lead.

Alex Newhook scored his first NHL goal, and Tyson Jost, Brandon Saad and J.T. Compher also scored for the Avalanche, who can complete a series sweep Sunday in Game 4 in St. Louis.

Tyler Bozak scored for the Blues, and Jordan Binnington made 21 saves.

During the game, Colorado’s Nazem Kadri was suspended for eight games by the NHL for a check to the head of Justin Faulk in the third period of Game 2.

► Winnipeg 1, (at) Edmonton 0 (OT): Paul Stastny scored at 4:06 of overtime to lift the Jets past the Oilers for a 2-0 series lead.

Stastny’s screened wrist shot beat goaltender Mike Smith high to the right corner.

Connor Hellebuyck made 38 saves for Winnipeg, and Smith stopped 35 shots.

Winnipeg won the opener 4-1 on Wednesday night. The series shifts to Winnipeg for games Sunday and Monday nights.

Oilers captain Connor McDavid and teammate Leon Draisaitl – the NHL’s top two scorers – have been held off the scoresheet in the first two game.

Kadri suspended

Avalanche forward Nazem Kadri was suspended for eight games by the NHL for a head shot on St. Louis Blues defenseman Justin Faulk in Game 2 of a first-round playoff series.

The NHL announced the punishment during Colorado's 5-1 victory in Game 3 in St. Louis that gave the top-seeded Avalanche a 3-0 series lead.

In its video report, the NHL cited Kadri's “substantial disciplinary history” and noted he could have taken a different angle rather than targeting the head. The league said Kadri argued he intended to deliver a full body check.

If the suspension — the sixth of Kadri's career — is not completed during the playoffs, the remaining games will be served at the beginning of next season.

The latest suspension stemmed from clipping Faulk in the head with his right elbow midway through the third period in Game 2 on Wednesday night. Faulk left the contest, and Kadri was thrown out with a match penalty. Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly called it a dangerous hit that was “completely uncalled for.”

Faulk was ruled out for Game 3.