Nikita Kucherov and the Tampa Bay Lightning are moving on in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Kucherov scored his 27th career postseason goal and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 26 shots as the top seed in the Eastern Conference beat the Devils, 3-1, on Saturday in Tampa, Fla., to end the first-round series in five games.
Mikhail Sergachev became the youngest Lightning player to score a playoff goal and Ryan Callahan sealed the outcome with an empty-netter with 1.7 seconds remaining.
Tampa Bay advances to a second-round series against the winner of the first-round matchup between the Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Kucherov, who had 100 points during the regular season, had five goals and five assists in the series. His sizzling shot past goalie Cory Schneider put Tampa Bay up, 2-0, at 12 minutes 27 seconds of the third period, and his 10 points were the most ever for a Tampa Bay player in a playoff series
Sergachev, at 19 years, 300 days, became the youngest player in franchise history to score a playoff goal, giving the Lightning a 1-0 lead in the first period.
Schneider did all he could to give the Devils a chance to extend their first playoff appearance since 2012. He stopped 35 of 37 shots, including Tyler Johnson’s breakaway that kept the Devils within striking distance after Kyle Palmieri trimmed Tampa Bay’s lead to one goal with three minutes left.
Will Butcher and Taylor Hall assisted on the only goal for the Devils, who played without the injured defenseman Sami Vatanen.
CAPITALS 4, BLUE JACKETS 3 Nicklas Backstrom scored his second goal of the game 11:53 into overtime to give host Washington a victory over Columbus and a three games-to-two lead in the first-round playoff series.
Braden Holtby made 16 of his 39 saves in the third period to help Washington get to overtime. Four of the five games between the teams have gone past regulation, making fatigue a factor for Game 6 Monday night in Columbus, Ohio.
Evgeny Kuznetsov and T. J. Oshie scored along with Backstrom in regulation for the Capitals, who became the first home team in the series to win a home game. Holtby has been in net for Washington’s three consecutive victories after replacing Philipp Grubauer in Game 2, stopping 102 of 108 shots.
Sergei Bobrovsky allowed a soft goal to Kuznetsov as one of his four on 29 shots in the loss. Matt Calvert scored short-handed and on a breakaway, and Oliver Bjorkstrand had a deflection goal for Columbus.
A slash by the Blue Jackets’ Thomas Vanek led to a short-handed goal by Calvert 10:08 into the first period.
Backstrom tied the score at 1-1 less than three minutes later, banking the puck off Blue Jackets defenseman David Savard’s left skate and watching it trickle down Bobrovsky’s back and in for his first goal of the playoffs.
In the second period a bad line change by the Blue Jackets gave the Capitals a three-on-one rush, with Kuznetsov getting the puck past Bobrovsky at 3:21.
Just 84 seconds later, a turnover by Oshie sprung Calvert on his highlight-reel breakaway during which he whiffed on a shot before spinning, scoring and following the puck into the net. The Capitals cashed in on their fourth power play of the game 16:42 into the second when Oshie tipped John Carlson’s point shot past Bobrovsky.
Published at Sat, 21 Apr 2018 23:10:36 +0000