Thursday's NHL playoffs: Hurricanes, Bruins win in OT; Jets' Sheifele suspended 4 games

Associated Press
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Tampa, Fla. — Jordan Staal scored on a power play at 5:57 of overtime to give the Carolina Hurricanes a 3-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night in Game 3 of the second-round series.

Staal deflected Sebastien Aho's shot with Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov serving a penalty for holding the stick to cut Tampa Bay’s series lead to 2-1.

Carolina Hurricanes center Jordan Staal (11) celebrates after right wing Sebastian Aho scored past Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) during overtime in Game 3 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series Thursday, June 3, 2021, in Tampa, Fla.

Game 4 is Saturday Tampa.

Carolina coach Rob Brind’Amour changed goaltenders, opting for Petr Mrazek after Alex Nedeljkovic started the first eight games of the playoffs. Mrazek stopped 35 shots.

“He was good,’’ Brind’Amour said. “Did I expect him to be like that? I didn’t really know what to expect, to be honest with you, he’d been out for so long. But he’s a battler.’’

Brett Pesce and Aho also scored for Carolina.

“Feels great obviously, but at the same time, it was only our first win in the series,’’ said Aho, who finished with three points. “We just have to keep going to Game 4 and just do it over and over again and trust our system. But it obviously feels good to win.’’

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Brayden Point and Alex Killorn had power-play goals for Tampa Bay, which outshot the Hurricanes 37-27.

“We did everything we wanted to do tonight except score one more goal than they did,’’ Lightning oach Jon Cooper said. “A lot of the things we put in place the players implemented and I thought they did a hell of a job. We just came up one short.’’

The Hurricanes did something they were unable to do in the opening two games on home ice — score first.

The first lead of the series for the Hurricanes came courtesy of Pesce, who one-timed a shot from above the right circle off a feed from Andrei Svechnikov at 5:15 of the second period. It’s the first time Carolina opened the scoring since Game 2 against the Nashville Predators in the opening round and the first lead for the Hurricanes since Game 4.

It also was the first 5-on-5 goal scored by Carolina in the series and the first one Tampa Bay had allowed since the second period of Game 5 against the Florida Panthers.

The Hurricanes built the lead on a well-executed set play as Jaccob Slavin sent a pass from inside his own zone up ice to Svechnikov, who one-touched a pass to a streaking Aho. The play sent Aho in alone for a breakaway to give Carolina a 2-0 lead at 7:40.

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It didn’t take long for Tampa Bay to respond on a power play. At 8:57, a passing play from Steven Stamkos to Kucherov to Point cut the lead to 2-1.

The Tampa Bay power play went back to work again when Brady Skjei was whistled for hooking at 15:52 and again cashed in. Point gained the zone with speed and found Kucherov in the slot. After his initial chance was blocked, he recovered the puck and fed Killorn between the hashmarks for a quick rising sot over Marazek at 16:18, the 11th power play goal scored by Tampa Bay in nine postseason games.

“That was a huge momentum shift for us in the game, being down 2-0 and getting two power play goals,’’ Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman said.

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Boston Bruins' Brad Marchand celebrates after scoring a goal during the overtime period of Game 3.

Bruins 2, Islanders 1 (OT): Brad Marchand scored 3:36 into overtime and the Boston Bruins beat the New York Islanders 2-1 Thursday night in Game 3 to take the lead in the second-round playoff series.

In the extra period, Charlie McAvoy brought the puck up ice along the left side and passed to Marchand, who skated along the boards and fired a sharp-angle shot into the top right corner past Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov.

Craig Smith also scored for Boston, and Tuukka Rask stopped 28 shots — including five in overtime, as the Bruins took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

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Mathew Barzal scored the tying goal late in the third period for New York, and Varlamov — making his second straight start after Ilya Sorokin went in four straight games — finished with 39 saves.

Game 4 is Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum.

Jets' Scheifele suspended 4 games for late hit on Evans

New York — Winnipeg Jets forward Mark Scheifele was suspended for four games by the NHL on Thursday night for a crushing late hit on Montreal's Jake Evans in Game 1 of the second-round series.

Evans was taken off the ice on a stretcher with 57 seconds left Wednesday night in Montreal’s 5-3 victory after being hit in the head and shoulder area an instant after tucking in an empty-net goal. Evans chased down the puck behind the net, tightly circled back around the goal cage and scored just before Scheifele’s sent him crashing to the ice. Scheifele was given a major for charging and a game misconduct.

Winnipeg Jets' Mark Scheifele (55) hits Montreal Canadiens' Jake Evans (71) after Evans scored an empty-net goal during the third period.

Evans sustained a concussion. He was not taken to a hospital.

The NHL department of player safety said Schefiele “finishes his check violently and with unwarranted force into Evans, making significant head contact in the process and causing an injury.”

“It is apparent to our department that his intention on this place is to deliver a hard, violent check to an opponent with the outcome of the play and the game already decided," the department of player safety said.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Friday night in Winnipeg.

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