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NHL playoffs: Lightning beat Bruins to take 3-1 series lead

Tampa Bay's Ondrej Palat gets ready for a faceoff against Boston.
Tampa Bay’s Ondrej Palat scored twice Saturday to help the Lightning beat Boston.
(Associated Press)

Ondrej Palat scored twice, Andrei Vasilevskiy made 29 saves, and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Boston Bruins 3-1 on Saturday in Toronto to take a commanding 3-1 lead in their second-round series.

Victor Hedman also scored a pinball, bouncing goal on Boston goaltender Jaroslav Halak, who has started every game since starter Tuukka Rask opted out of the playoffs in the middle of the first round. Halak, who was pulled last time out Wednesday, allowed three goals on 26 shots in Game 4.

Tampa Bay has won three in a row since losing the series opener. Palat has four goals in that time, including the Game 2 overtime winner.

“Right now the guys are feeling it,” coach Jon Cooper said. “Let’s hope it continues.”

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The Lightning have used their depth to take over the series and have the chance Monday to move on to the Eastern Conference final for the second time in three years. The Bruins are one loss away from a disappointing early exit after a trip to the 2019 Stanley Cup Final.

The NHL playoffs will resume Saturday after players decided not to play for two days in protest of racial injustice.

Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said of Palat’s second goal that went over Halak’s glove, “We need that save.” His bigger frustration was a five-minute major penalty called on Nick Ritchie for a questionable hit on Tampa Bay’s Yanni Gourde that paved the way for Hedman’s goal.

Ritchie appeared to hit Gourde from behind a few feet away from the boards, and Gourde went left shoulder first into the boards. Officials gave Ritchie the major after reviewing video, and Gourde left before returning early in the third period

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“Clearly Gourde was down on the play, and he’s a good player — real good player for them — clever, obviously,” Cassidy said. “He got them on the power play for five minutes. He finished the game, had no problems in the third period. I didn’t agree with the call.”

Ritchie said he was trying to finish his check after Gourde got rid of the puck. Still, he could face suspension, which Cooper said might be the case in the regular season, but he wondered whether the major penalty might get Ritchie “off the hook” of missing Game 5.

Islanders 3, Flyers 1: Matt Martin and Leo Komarov scored in the second period, and New York rallied to beat Philadelphia in Toronto, taking a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Anders Lee also scored, and Semyon Varlamov had 26 saves to rebound after a rocky Game 3 that saw him benched in the first period.

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The playoffs resumed after a two-day break to protest racial injustice, the latest twist in an unprecedented, pandemic-halted season. Game 4 is Sunday night.

Tyler Pitlick scored for the Flyers in the first period, and Carter Hart had 26 saves.

Golden Knights 3, Canucks 0: Robin Lehner stopped 32 shots, and Vegas beat Vancouver in Edmonton, Canada, to take a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference semifinal series.

Alex Tuch picked up his seventh goal of the postseason, and Mark Stone and Zack Whitecloud also scored.

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Lehner recorded his second career playoff shutout — and the second of the series. He blanked Vancouver 5-0 in the series opener and improved to 7-2 in the return-to-play tournament.

Jacob Markstrom made 31 saves for Vancouver.


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