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Hockey

NHL playoffs: Bruins top Blue Jackets to even playoff series; Avalanche beat Sharks in Game 4 to even series

Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, right, of Finland, stops a shot by Columbus Blue Jackets forward B
Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, right, stops a shot by Columbus Blue Jackets forward Brandon Dubinsky, as Bruins defenseman Torey Krug helps Rask during the third period of Game 4 of an NHL second-round playoff series on Thursday.
(Paul Vernon / Associated Press)

Tuukka Rask stopped 39 shots and the Boston Bruins got some much-needed production from their top-liners in a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night that evened their Eastern Conference semifinal series at two games apiece.

Patrice Bergeron had two goals, David Pastrnak had a goal and an assist and Sean Kuraly also tallied for the Bruins, who had lost the last two games in the best of-seven series but knotted the set again as it moves back to Boston for Game 5 on Saturday.

Artemi Panarin scored for Columbus on a controversial play, and Sergei Bobrovsky, who has been spectacular in the postseason so far, had 41 saves but was beaten on long shots by Pastrnak and Bergeron in the first period.

Brad Marchand picked up an assist on Bergeron’s goal but also committed three penalties, one leading to an unsuccessful Blue Jackets penalty shot in the first period. Marchand and Bergeron had been kept off the score sheet in the first three games.

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Early in the first, Pastrnak was flattened by a huge hit from Columbus defenseman Adam Clendening. Around 25 seconds later, Pastrnak rifled a shot past Bobrovsky from the left circle to get the Bruins on the board.

Boston made it 2-0 on Bergeron’s snap shot from the slot at 7:18 of the first.

Columbus then benefited from a blown call. After the puck appeared to go into the netting and back onto the ice behind Boston’s goal, Panarin ended up with it and poked it in close range. The Bruins protested, but the play was not subject to review because the scoring player, Panarin, wasn’t the first to possess the puck off the net.

After a scoreless second, Kuraly put back a rebound off the end board 8:40 into the final period. Bergeron picked up his second goal off a rebound with 2 { minutes left in the game.

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Colorado 3, San Jose 0

Nathan MacKinnon kept up his scoring spree with a second-period goal, Philipp Grubauer stopped 32 shots for his first career playoff shutout and the Colorado Avalanche beat the San Jose Sharks 3-0 Thursday night to tie the Western Conference semifinal series at two games apiece.

MacKinnon has at least a point in eight straight games. It’s the longest streak by an Avalanche player in the postseason since Peter Forsberg had a point in eight straight in 2002.

Colin Wilson gave Colorado a two-goal cushion with a power-play goal early in the third period. Wilson’s score was set up by a no-look, between-the-legs pass from Mikko Rantanen, who registered two assists. Erik Johnson added an empty-netter with 1:09 remaining.

Game 5 is Saturday in San Jose.

The chants of “Gruuuu” by the crowd only grew louder with every save Grubauer made. He turned back nine shots in the final period.

In an attempt to bottle up the speedy MacKinnon, the Sharks kept rolling out their top defensive pair of Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic. MacKinnon rarely had a moment when he wasn’t shadowed.

Still, he found ways to shake free, including in the second period when the puck bounced off the body of Martin Jones and into the air. MacKinnon was on the spot, taking one whack at it and then another to send it past Jones. It was his sixth goal in this postseason. He also has 13 points.


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