Bruins 3, Blues 1
Tuukka Rask was again up to the task for the Bruins.
Rask made 32 saves and extended his personal point streak to 19 games lifting Boston to a 3-1 win over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.
“Any team will play better when you know the goaltender has your back,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “We got sick of losing.”
Rask is 17-0-2 in his last 19 starts and the Bruins improved to 15-1-4 in their last 20 games overall. David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron and David Backes scored for Boston and Spooner had two assists.
In a game featuring two of the top three teams in goals against average, the goalies were the story as Jake Allen made 22 of his 43 saves in the second period — including a spectacular glove stop of Krejci. Rask matched Allen by robbing Jaden Schwartz 1:45 into the third period with a glove save of his own.
“When I came off the ice, I started to feel bad for Jake, but then I was happy for him,” Blues coach Mike Yeo said. “He rose to the occasion and if he continues to play like that, the game will reward him.”
With the goalie pulled, Schwartz gave the Bruins a scare when he extended his scoring streak to five games and cut the lead to 2-1 with 1:32 remaining.
Backes scored an empty-netter against his old team with 1 second left to end it.
“Felt like I was on the cusp a few times tonight and my eyes were getting larger as I tried to beat the clock,” Backes said. “Most complete game I feel we have played.”
Krejci’s goal was a controversial one at 12:32 of the first. He slipped the puck past a distracted Allen, who had collided with two Bruins players after making the initial save on Ryan Spooner. The Blues challenged by claiming goaltender interference, but the goal was upheld.
“You never know the way those challenges are going to go,” Bruins defenseman Torey Krug said.
Bergeron added an insurance goal on the power play when he one-timed David Pastrnak’s pass to beat Allen over the shoulder for a 2-0 Bruins lead at 9:05 of the third.
The Blues had previously won three straight and five of six.
Maple Leafs 4, Rangers 0
Curtis McElhinney is getting more comfortable as his career progresses, and it’s been showing on the ice.
The veteran backup stopped 25 shots for his second shutout of the season and seventh of his career as Toronto beat New York.
“I just feel like I’m getting better and better,” said the 34-year-old McElhinney, who is in his second season with Toronto after spending the previous four with Columbus. “I feel certainly more comfortable about my game than where I did five years ago.”
McElhinney is now 5-4-0 in nine starts this season and lowered his goals-against average to 2.25 — the lowest of his career in a season while making more than one start.
James van Riemsdyk, Patrick Marleau, Zach Hyman and Justin Holl scored for the Maple Leafs in their second straight shutout and fourth straight win. Toronto also completed a sweep of the three-game season series with the Rangers.
It came one night after Frederik Andersen had 25 saves in a 5-0 win at home against the Islanders, giving Toronto back-to-back shutouts for the second time this season. The Maple Leafs extended their shutout streak to 142 minutes, 17 seconds since Dallas’ Tyler Seguin scored late in the second period of Toronto’s 4-1 win last Thursday.
“We did a great job in front of the net,” McElhinney said. “The biggest takeaway from the game tonight and even the last one was smart decisions with the puck at the blue line.”
Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock likes how his team has played lately, improving to 7-2-3 in their last 12 and sitting three points behind second-place Boston in the Atlantic Division.
“We think we’re getting better,” he said. “We think we have a chance to be quite a bit better so we’re just a work in progress. ... We’re deeper than we’ve been, we have four lines.”
Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist was pulled early in the second period after giving up four goals on 13 shots. Ondrej Pavelec came on and stopped all 19 shots he faced. New York, shut out for just the second time this season, has lost eight of its last 12.
The Rangers were playing for the first time since winning at San Jose last Thursday in their last game before the All-Star break, but coach Alain Vigneault didn’t want to use the layoff as an excuse.
“We had two really good practices prior to this, so we should have been better than this,” he said.
McElhinney had two nice saves on Rick Nash about six minutes into the third, first on a shot from the right circle and then a tip attempt in close six seconds later. McElhinney also denied Jimmy Vesey in front midway through the period.
Toronto built a 2-0 lead in the first period and then quickly adding to it in the second.
Marleau scored 52 seconds into the middle period off a rebound of a shot by Nazem Kadri for his 17th.
Hyman took a pass from William Nylander, skated in on Lundqvist and went forehand to backhand before putting it in from the left side for his 10th at 3:05 to make it 4-0 and chase Lundqvist.
Holl got Toronto on the board 8:42 into the game as his shot from the right side beyond the faceoff circle beat Lundqvist, who was being screened by Hyman, and rang off the left post and in. It was the defenseman’s second career goal — and second in two nights after being called up from Toronto of the AHL for his NHL debut Wednesday.
The Maple Leafs made it 2-0 when van Riemsdyk put a backhand past Lundqvist for his 20th with 4:37 left.
Devils 4, Flyers 3
The All-Star break has done wonders for New Jersey. It is winning again, and it has gotten Philadelphia off its back in the playoff hunt, for now.
No. 1 overall draft pick Nico Hischier scored on a deflection with 1:27 to play, capping the Devils’ rally to beat the Flyers 4-3 on Thursday night.
“We know it’s a really important game, a four-point game,” Hischier said after the Devils won their second straight after the break. “We knew they were right behind us. We had a really good start but it was up and down. At the end we won, and it feels good, but we’ve got to keep going.”
The win was New Jersey’s fourth in 14 games (4-7-3) since Dec. 29, and this was big. Had the Flyers held on, they would have tied the Devils with 58 points.
New Jersey, which is now four points ahead with a game in hand, came into the period down 3-2.
Damon Severson tied the hard-fought contest with 9:00 left, and Hischier’s first goal in 11 games spoiled goaltender Alex Lyon’s first NHL start.
“We had a little bit of a tough second period and it was a little bit dicey at times but we were able to find a way to stay in the game the whole night,” Severson said.
Kyle Palmieri and Drew Stafford also scored for the Devils, while Keith Kinkaid made 22 saves.
Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds and Shayne Gostisbehere scored for the Flyers, who were looking for their third win over the Devils in less than a month. Lyon made 18 saves a night after making his NHL debut in relief of Michal Neuvirth, and Philadelphia lost its second in two nights. It also marked the first time the Flyers have lost three straight in regulation.
Blake Coleman set up the winner on a rush. His pass toward the net was re-directed by Hischier between Lyon’s pads, just barely getting through and crossing the goal line.
“The guy put it to the net and I thought I was in really good position, but I just opened up a little bit and things happened fast enough in this league where you are going to pay for that,” Lyon said. “I learned the hard way. I am just going to try to learn from my mistakes and be sharper next time.”
Pavel Zacha set up Severson’s tying goal after the Devils won a battle for the puck behind the net.
Gostisbehere gave the Flyers a 3-2 lead 7:01 into the second period with a shot from the left circle that hit off Kinkaid’s side and the goalpost before trickling into the net. The puck got to the Flyers defenseman after a cross-ice pass hit off Severson’s skate.
“I feel bad for Alex, we kind of let him down there,” Gostisbehere said. “It’s about getting back on the horse. There is a lot of hockey left. We have to get some wins here.”
With both teams right on the playoff bubble in the Eastern Conference heading into the final two-plus months of the regular season, this game was intense. There were two fights in the first period and several scrums, resulting in power plays that led to all four first-period goals.
Palmieri put the Devils ahead 1-0, beating Lyon from the right circle with a shot over the goaltender’s shoulder.
Giroux tied it a little more than three minutes later with a shot into an open net with the Flyers enjoying a two-man advantage.
Stafford gave New Jersey 2-1 lead at 13:49, deflecting a shot by John Moore past Lyon. Simmonds scored on a rebound at 15:46 to tie the score at 2-all.
Golden Knights 3, Jets 2 (OT)
David Perron scored 3:57 into overtime to lead Vegas past Winnipeg for its 34th victory, the most by an NHL expansion team in its debut season.
The Jets had the puck rolling in the crease three times in the extra period, but it couldn’t get it into the net. Perron then fired a high shot past Connor Hellebuyck to win it.
Winnipeg’s Kyle Connor had tied it with a high shot to Marc-Andre Fleury’s glove side with 2:36 left in the third period. Joel Armia also had a goal and one assist for Winnipeg.
Hellebuyck made 28 saves for the Jets (30-13-9), who were trying to set a franchise record with their eighth straight home win.
Fleury stopped 24 shots for Vegas (34-12-4). It was his 389th win, putting him into a tie for 13th among NHL goaltenders.
Reilly Smith had a short-handed goal and Erik Haula scored a controversial goal on the power play for Vegas.
Senators 2, Ducks 1 (OT)
Erik Karlsson scored 32 seconds into overtime to lift Ottawa over Anaheim and snap a six-game skid.
Karlsson one-timed a pass from Matt Duchene on a power play, beating Ryan Miller with a shot inside the near post.
Bobby Ryan scored early in the third period for Ottawa, and Mike Condon stopped 30 shots.
Ryan Kesler tied it with 54 seconds left in regulation after Anaheim pulled Miller for an extra attacker. Miller made 30 saves, but Anaheim ended a three-game winning streak.
Predators 5, Kings 0
Pekka Rinne made 19 saves, Filip Forsberg had a goal and an assist, and Nashville beat Los Angeles.
Craig Smith, Calle Jarnkrok, Colton Sissons and Viktor Arvidsson also scored. Ryan Johansen had three assists.
Making his first start since representing the Predators in last weekend’s All-Star Game, Rinne earned his fifth shutout of the season and 48th of his career.
Jonathan Quick returned after missing the Kings’ previous two games with an undisclosed injury. He made 31 saves.
Hurricanes 2, Canadiens 0
Cam Ward stopped 27 shots in his second shutout of the season, and Carolina beat Montreal.
Brett Pesce and Brock McGinn scored to help the Hurricanes win their third straight, sweep the season series from Montreal and keep themselves in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race. Carolina entered two points out of a playoff spot.
Carey Price made 28 saves for the Canadiens, who have lost three in a row and fell to 2-5-2 in their last nine games.
Panthers 4, Sabres 2
Harri Sateri stopped the final 19 shots he faced and 30 overall, and Keith Yandle had a goal and two assists in leading Florida over Buffalo.
Mike Matheson, Denis Malgin and Colton Sceviour also scored for the Panthers, who won consecutive games for the first time since winning five in a row from Dec. 19-30.
Ryan O’Reilly and Zemgus Girgensons scored for a Sabres team that continues to struggle at home. Chad Johnson stopped 28 shots.
Lightning 7, Flames 4
Alex Killorn had two goals and two assists as Tampa Bay struck for five unanswered goals, including four in the third period, in a win over Calgary.
Down 4-3 after two periods, Tampa Bay tied it 12 seconds into the third when Killorn pounced on a loose puck near the Flames face-off dot, spun and sent a backhander on net that slipped past Mike Smith.
The rare off-night for Smith continued when Cory Conacher scored on a sharp angle at 5:16 to give the Lightning the lead for good at 5-4.
Just over a minute later, Steven Stamkos scored his 19th of the season and that was it for Smith. As he got the hook from coach Glen Gulutzan for David Rittich, Smith smashed his stick across the goalpost.
Conacher's second of the night at 8:26, on a shot from below the goal line, capped the third-period surge. Braydon Coburn and Matthew Peca also scored for Tampa Bay, which maintained its one-point lead over Vegas atop the overall standings.
Avalanche 4, Oilers 3 (OT)
J.T Compher scored 2:28 into overtime to help Colorado snap a three-game losing skid with a victory over Edmonton.
Nikita Zadorov, Blake Comeau and Samuel Girard also scored for the Avalanche, who had a 10-game winning streak before going on their recent skid.
Connor McDavid had a pair of goals, and Drake Caggiula scored once for the Oilers, who have lost two of their last three.
Edmonton had tied it with just 27 seconds remaining in regulation and the goalie pulled as McDavid rifled in a puck after it caromed off the boards.
Stars 4, Coyotes 1
Devin Shore had a goal and an assist during Dallas' three-goal second period, and the Stars beat Arizona.
Kari Lehtonen stopped 17 shots and improved to 6-2 in his last eight starts, all on the road.
Shore tied it at 1 in an atypical way when he lifted his stick to bat in the puck after Jason Spezza chipped it over the goal from behind the net. That was at the three-minute mark of the second.
Shore set up the second goal on a power play for Dallas at 5:21. He collected a rebound and centered to Tyler Seguin, whose shot got by Scott Wedgewood.
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