Brayden Point’s overtime goal gave the Tampa Bay Lightning a series-clinching, 5-4 victory in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference first-round matchup against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday in Toronto.
Point scored 5:12 into the extra frame to send Tampa Bay into the second round for the fourth time in six seasons. Point also scored the winner during the Lightning’s epic five-overtime victory over Columbus in Game 1 of the series. The victory provides some revenge for the Lightning, who were eliminated by Columbus in a four-game sweep in the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs.
Trailing 4-2 with 10:27 left in regulation, the Lightning forced overtime on goals from Kevin Shattenkirk and Anthony Cirelli. The equalizing score from Cirelli came with only 98 seconds remaining in regulation. Nikita Kucherov recorded three assists to break the Lightning record for career postseason points. Kucherov has 70 points (31 goals, 39 assists) in the playoffs, topping Martin St. Louis’ old milestone of 68 points.
Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 37 of 41 shots to improve to 6-2-0 in this year’s playoffs. Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo stopped 20 of 25 shots as Columbus went 1-3 in overtime games and 1-5 in one-goal games in these playoffs.
Avalanche 7, Coyotes 1
Nathan MacKinnon scored two goals and added two assists as Colorado handed Arizona a second straight 7-1 shellacking in Edmonton and advanced to the second round of the Western Conference playoffs with a five-game victory.
Goalie Philipp Grubauer made 23 saves and Nazem Kadri also scored twice for the Avalanche, who emphatically won the opening round best-of-seven series. Colorado will await its opposition next round.
With a chance to go for the kill, the Avalanche came out strong and were rewarded when Kadri opened the scoring with his fifth goal since action resumed, a power-play goal at 4:39. MacKinnon’s two goals came 58 seconds apart in the second period, and Colorado chased Coyotes goaltender Darcy Kuemper after two periods and six goals.
Bruins 2, Hurricanes 1
David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron scored on power plays late in the second period to lift Boston past Carolina for a series-clinching victory against in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference’s first round in Toronto.
Bruins goalie Jaroslav Halak stopped 23 shots to improve to 3-0 since taking over for departed teammate Tuukka Rask. The outcome means the Bruins move to next week’s conference semifinals, avoiding what would have been a quick turnaround for a Game 6 on Thursday. Krejci and Bergeron also each posted an assist.
Boston eliminated the Hurricanes for the second season a row, with last year’s accomplishment coming with a sweep in the Eastern Conference finals. This time, four of the games were decided by one goal and other had a two-goal spread because of an empty-net goal. Haydn Fleury scored in the first period for the Hurricanes, who generated only a few chances and had six shots in the third period.
Canucks 4, Blues 3
Tyler Motte scored twice and Vancouver rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat St. Louis in Game 5 of their first-round Western Conference playoff series at Edmonton, taking a 3-2 series lead.
J.T. Miller and Jake Virtanen also scored for the Canucks, and goaltender Jacob Markstrom stopped 36 of 39 shots. Ryan O’Reilly, Brayden Schenn and Zach Sanford scored for the Blues, and goalie Jake Allen made 26 saves.
The Blues led 3-1 after Sanford’s power-play goal at 5:51 of the second period, but the Canucks came back with three goals in a span of 6:23 later in the middle period. Virtanen tied the game by banking a shot off Allen at 16:08, and Motte converted a clean break-in with 1:43 left in the period for what turned out to be the game-winner.
Canadiens 5, Flyers 3
Nick Suzuki notched the game-winning goal, Montreal finally solved hot Philadelphia goalie Carter Hart, and Montreal staved off first-round elimination by beating Philadelphia in Toronto.
Montreal’s Game 5 win tightened the best-of-seven series at 3-2, with Game 6 set for Friday. Canadiens fourth-liner Joel Armia had two goals, Brendan Gallagher and Phillip Danault scored, and Brett Kulak and Jonathan Drouin posted two helpers each. Goaltender Carey Price recorded 26 saves.
Jakub Voracek netted two goals and had an assist, Joel Farabee scored and Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier had two assists for Flyers, who were 3-for-7 on the power play. Hart, who was coming off back-to-back shutouts, made 28 saves.
--Field Level Media
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