NHL playoffs: Bruins beat Maple Leafs 3-1 in Game 4
Brad Marchand scored the go-ahead goal in the second period and Tuukka Rask made 31 saves as the Boston Bruins defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 on Thursday night to take a 3-1 lead in their first-round playoff series.
Torey Krug and Jake DeBrusk also had goals for the Bruins, who can win the Eastern Conference quarterfinal when they host Game 5 on Saturday at Boston’s TD Garden. David Pastrnak added two assists.
Tomas Plekanec scored the lone goal for the Leafs, who got 18 saves from Frederik Andersen.
Patrice Bergeron, part of a top line that combined for 20 points in the Bruins’ two home victories to open the series, was a surprise late scratch with an upper-body injury. Riley Nash took his spot between Marchand and Pastrnak.
Marchand snapped a 1-1 tie for Boston with 3:05 left in the second after the Bruins were called for icing. Leafs coach Mike Babcock put his top line, centered by Auston Matthews, out hoping to pounce on a tired group, but Nash won the draw to Adam McQuaid, whose clearing attempt up the boards skipped past Toronto defenseman Jake Gardiner. Pastrnak moved in on a 2-on-1 with Marchand, faking a shot to draw the overaggressive Nikita Zaitsev to him before feeding his linemate with a slick pass for a wide-open net.
The Leafs had a number of chances earlier in the period to go ahead, including Mitch Marner’s breakaway off a stretch pass from Morgan Rielly that Rask turned aside with the blocker, but were unable to get one by Rask.
Boston then made it 3-1 at 4:17 of the third. David Krejci blocked Travis Dermott’s shot and raced the other way on a 2-on-1 before finding DeBrusk, who beat a helpless Andersen after Roman Polak failed to block the pass across.
Washington 4, at Columbus 1: Evgeny Kuznetsov had a goal and two assists, and Braden Holtby stopped 23 shots as the Washington Capitals beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 on Thursday night to even their playoff series at two games apiece.
Tom Wilson and Alexander Ovechkin each had a goal and an assist, and T.J. Oshie also scored for the workmanlike Capitals, who won this time in regulation after the first three games of the best-of-7 series were decided in overtime. Game 5 is Saturday afternoon in Washington.
Columbus had overcome multi-goal deficits to win the first two games in Washington. When the series shifted to Columbus on Tuesday, the Capitals prevailed in double-overtime.
This one lacked the intensity of the first three, and there was no comeback magic for the Blue Jackets. In fact, they were just flat through a good chunk of the first two periods, chasing pucks and flubbing passes. They finally seem to get out of the quicksand near the end of the second period after coach John Tortorella started switching up the lines.
Boone Jenner scored, and Sergei Bobrovsky had 29 saves for Columbus.
Washington led 1-0 after the opening period. Just after Columbus’ Thomas Vanek knocked the puck out of the blue paint with his glove, Kuznetsov shoveled the carom from the right boards out to Wilson, who connected from above the circle at 6:16.
The Capitals got their second halfway through the second period on a power play when Oshie flicked in a rebound. Ovechkin’s third-period goal made it 3-0.
Jenner redirected Josh Anderson’s slap shot 6:22 into the third to make it a 3-1 game and finally give the record Nationwide Arena crowd of 19,395 something to cheer about. Kuznetsov added an empty-net goal with 2:19 left in the game.
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