The Pittsburgh Penguins will start their bid for a Stanley Cup three-peat at home.
Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel banked in goals off Craig Anderson minutes apart in the second period Jonathan Huberdeau Jersey , Casey DeSmith stopped 34 shots and the Penguins beat the Ottawa Senators 4-0 to clinch second place in the Metropolitan Division and home-ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs.
Phil Kessel got his 34th goal of the season and Patric Hornqvist pushed his career-high to 29 when he beat Anderson late in the third period for the Penguins, who will host Columbus, New Jersey or Philadelphia next week.
Anderson finished with 19 saves but was beaten twice from behind the goal line in the second period as the Senators lost for the ninth time in 11 games.
Ottawa and Pittsburgh met in the Eastern Conference finals 10 months ago, with the Penguins winning on an overtime goal in Game 7 before going on to beat Nashville for their second straight Cup. The Senators hoped it would be a springboard to becoming perennial contenders. Instead they will miss the postseason for the third time in five years.
DUCKS 5, STARS 3
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – Jakob Silfverberg had a goal and two assists to help Anaheim keep up its surge toward the postseason with its ninth win in 11 games.
Josh Manson and Andrew Cogliano each had a goal and an assist for the Ducks, who leapfrogged the Los Angeles Kings by one point for third place in the Pacific Division. The playoff-bound rivals have been trading the spot down the stretch, and the race will go down to the last day of the regular season.
Rickard Rakell and Derek Grant also scored for Anaheim before Cogliano got a key breakaway goal with 5:25 to play. Ryan Miller made 23 saves to win his second straight start in place of John Gibson. Miller also earned the 369th victory of his NHL career, tying Tom Barrasso for second among U.S.-born goaltenders.
Jamie Benn had a goal and an assist, and Marc Methot and Radek Faksa also scored for Dallas. Mike McKenna stopped 28 shots in his second appearance of the season.
LIGHTNING 7, SABRES 5
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – Nikita Kucherov became the second player in the NHL to reach 100 points this season, and Tampa Bay took a two-point lead for the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Divisiion lead.
Kucherov scored in the first period and got his 100th point assisting on Dan Girardi’s goal 1:04 into the second that put the Lightning up 4-2. Edmonton’s Connor McDavid tops the league with 106 points. According to the NHL Womens Connor Hellebuyck Jersey , this is the first season since 2009-10 with multiple 100-point players.
The Lightning got two goals from Anthony Cirelli, while Yanni Gourde, Brayden Point and Victor Hedman also scored. Alex Killorn had three assists and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 27 shots.
Casey Mittelstadt and Alexander Nylander each got his first NHL goal for the last-place Sabres. Jason Pominville, Jordan Nolan and Kyle Okposo also scored for Buffalo, and Chad Johnson had 27 saves.
BLUES 4, BLACKHAWKS 1
CHICAGO (AP) – Patrik Berglund scored three times, including a tiebreaking rebound goal in the third period, and St. Louis moved into position for the last Western Conference wild card.
Carter Hutton made 19 saves as St. Louis stopped a three-game slide. Jaden Schwartz also scored in the third after an ugly turnover by the Blackhawks.
The Blues (44-31-6) moved one point ahead of the idle Avalanche (42-30-9) heading into their finale in Colorado on Saturday night. St. Louis has won three of four against Colorado this season.
Erik Gustafsson scored for Chicago, and Jean-Francois Berube made 31 saves. The last-place Blackhawks (33-38-10) finished with an 18-18-5 record at home.
Jake DeBrusk watched the tiebreaking goal go into the net from ice level, sliding into the boards on his backside after he was flattened by Toronto defenseman Jake Gardiner.
The Bruins rookie didn’t even have time to climb up off his knees before he was mobbed by teammates.
”Jake had a real coming-out party in the series,” coach Bruce Cassidy said after DeBrusk scored twice to help Boston beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-4 on Wednesday night and advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals.
”He scored going to the net, dirty areas,” said Cassidy P.K Subban Jersey , whose team opens the second round against the Lightning in Tampa Bay on Saturday. ”That’s always the first thing: play inside, be willing to get hit, fight for your space. That’s playoff hockey. They weren’t freebies. They’ve been real greasy, as advertised.”
Five years after rallying from a three-goal, third-period deficit and beating Toronto in Game 7 of their first-round series, the Bruins again scored four straight goals to eliminate the Maple Leafs. After Kasperi Kapanen put Toronto ahead 4-3 with a short-handed goal in the second, Torey Krug tied it, DeBrusk gave Boston the lead with 14:35 to play.
Despite the final score, the teams were tied or separated by one goal for the first 2 1/2 periods, until David Pastrnak made it 6-4 with 8:21 to play. Brad Marchand flipped one into the empty net with 51 seconds left to set off a celebration in the stands.
”For entertainment value, that was probably one of the better Game 7s you’ll see,” said Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, who stopped just 20 of 24 shots. ”It was only a one-goal game going into the third and we shut it down and scored some good goals.”
Danton Heinen scored his first NHL postseason goal Kris Versteeg Jersey , Patrice Bergeron had a goal and two assists, and David Krejci had three assists for the Bruins. In his first NHL postseason action, DeBrusk had seven points in seven games.
”Uh, it went pretty well,” he said with a laugh. ”Obviously, with the win it was special – something I’ll never forget. I’ll never forget this series just in general, first playoffs. I was really happy to contribute.”
Frederik Andersen had 29 saves for the Maple Leafs, who have not won a playoff series since 2004. They came close in the first round in 2013, when they rallied from a three-games-to-one deficit against Boston and took a 4-1 lead in Game 7.
”It’s always disappointing,” said Patrick Marleau, who scored twice for Toronto. ”Obviously, you’re trying to win the Cup. To fall short once again, it’s heartbreaking every time.”
Travis Dermott also scored for the Maple Leafs Kyle Okposo Jersey , who again won back-to-back games after falling behind 3-1 in the series. Game 6 came in Toronto on the night that a man drove a van onto a crowded sidewalk in the city, killing 10 people and injuring more than a dozen others.
The teams combined for five goals in the first period before Toronto scored twice in the second, taking a 4-3 lead when Kapanen beat Marchand to a loose puck and then held him off, skidding to a stop in front of Rask before poking the around his left skate.
In the third, the Bruins scored two 4-on-4 goals after matching penalties opened up the ice. Krug made it 4-4 on a slapper from the point just 1:10 in, and then DeBrusk put the Bruins ahead.
”I think that we’re all just pretty excited right now to have a chance to continue playing together and take on Tampa,” DeBrusk said. ”We’re going to enjoy this one tonight, but then go back to the drawing board.”
Notes: Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy, in his first full season on the Boston bench, was named a finalist for the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s coach of the year. … Celtics Hall of Famer Tommy Heinsohn was the honorary fan banner captain, getting the crowd riled up before the game. … The Bruins are 14-12 in Game 7s and Toronto is 12-11. … Boston’s Kevan Miller had two assists for his first multi-point playoff game.
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