N.H.L. Playoffs: Lightning Upend Bruins With Early Flurry
Ondrej Palat scored twice within the first four minutes Wednesday, and the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Boston Bruins, 4-1, to take a two-games-to-one lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 28 shots for Tampa Bay, which has won two straight since losing the series opener at home.
“Boston came in and took one of our games at home, we had to take one of theirs on the road,” Lightning Coach Jon Cooper said. “We did that.”
Anthony Cirelli scored his first career N.H.L. playoff goal with an assist from Yanni Gourde to give Tampa Bay a 3-1 lead late in the first. Gourde flew to Boston on Wednesday after spending Tuesday night in a hospital with his wife, who had given birth to their daughter.
Patrice Bergeron scored his fourth goal of the playoffs for Boston, and Tuukka Rask made 33 saves.
“Playoffs are desperate hockey,” Bruins defence man Charlie McAvoy said. “You don’t ever go into any games saying ‘Oh, we have the luxury of being able to lose this one.’ That’s not how it goes.”
Palat scored just a minute 47 seconds in after Boston defenseman Matt Grzelcyk settled the puck with his glove in his own end, then appeared to lose track of it and skated away, leaving the Lightning with an easy 2-on-1 opportunity.
Palat made it 2-0 less than two minutes later on a shot that deflected off Bruins defenseman Torey Krug and into the net.
It stayed that way until the Lightning picked up a power play in the final two minutes when Krug tripped Cirelli as he chased after the puck with an empty net in front of him.
The Lightning made it 4-1 when Steven Stamkos found the empty net on the power play with 42 seconds left.
SHARKS 4, GOLDEN KNIGHTS 0 Tomas Hertl scored his team-leading fifth goal of the playoffs, Martin Jones made 34 saves for his sixth career postseason shutout and host San Jose evened their second-round series against Vegas with a Game 4 victory.
Marcus Sorensen and Joonas Donskoi scored in the first period to allow San Jose to play from ahead and Joe Pavelski added a power-play goal in the third to help the Sharks rebound from an overtime loss at home in Game 3.
The teams have now alternated wins through four games, heading into Game 5 on Friday night in Las Vegas.
CAPITALS’ WILSON SUSPENDED The N.H.L. suspended Washington forward Tom Wilson for three games for a hit on Pittsburgh’s Zach Aston-Reese in Game 3 of the teams’ Eastern Conference semifinal series.
The league announced the suspension less than 24 hours after Wilson broke Aston-Reese’s jaw in a violent collision near the Washington bench in the second period of the Capitals’ 4-3 victory over the Penguins.
Aston-Reese was stickhandling near the Capitals bench when Wilson drilled the rookie with his left shoulder. The force propelled Wilson into the bench while Aston-Reese lay on the ice for several moments before skating off. Aston-Reese sustained a concussion and a broken jaw in the hit.
The league’s department of player safety ruled that Wilson made Aston-Reese’s head the initial point of contact during the collision, pointing out that Wilson did not have to pivot to his left side to hit Aston-Reese.
The league also said Aston-Reese made no sudden movement at the last second that made contact unavoidable, and pointed out several ways Wilson could have finished the play legally.