NHL

NHL: Matthews scores 2 more in Leafs' win

By Sports Desk April 02, 2024

Auston Matthews scored two more goals to push his league-leading total to 62, and the Toronto Maple Leafs withstood a third-period rally from the Florida Panthers to hold on for a 6-4 win in a potential first-round play-off matchup on Monday.

Matthews added an assist to help Toronto to its third consecutive victory, which moved the Maple Leafs within four points of Florida for second place in the Atlantic Division. The two teams are currently on course to meet in the Eastern Conference quarter-finals.

Nicholas Robertson and Matthew Knies each contributed a goal and an assist for Toronto, which built a 5-1 lead after two periods before the Panthers scored three straight goals in the third.

Robertson and Matthews both lit the lamp in the opening period to stake the Leafs to a 2-0 advantage before Florida trimmed the deficit on Brandon Montour's goal 47 seconds into the second.

Toronto responded quickly as Tyler Bertuzzi scored off a Matthews feed just 39 seconds later, and goals by David Kampf and Knies before the end of the period increased the Maple Leafs' cushion to 5-1.

The Panthers pulled goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky at the second intermission after the veteran stopped just 11 of 16 shots.

Florida's offence came to life in the third, as Vladimir Tarasenko redirected Niko Mikkola's shot past Toronto netminder Ilya Samsonov just 2:12 into the period and Sam Reinhart cut the lead to 5-3 with 8:02 left to play on his 52nd goal of the season.

With replacement goaltender Anthony Stolarz pulled for an extra attacker, Sam Bennett brought Florida within one when his wrist shot beat Samsonov with 1:50 remaining. 

The Panthers couldn't come up with the equaliser, though, and Matthews sealed the outcome with an empty-netter with 46 seconds left.

Tarasenko ended with a goal and two assists for Florida, which has lost three of four. Stolarz stopped all six shots he faced in relief.

Samsonov finished with 26 saves.

 

Crosby, Penguins halt Rangers' win streak

Sidney Crosby led the way with two goals and an assist as the Pittsburgh Penguins put an end to the New York Rangers' five-game winning streak with a 5-2 victory.

Bryan Rust also scored twice to back 28 saves from Alex Nedeljkovic as the Penguins extended their point streak to five games (3-0-2). Pittsburgh currently sits five points out of a play-off spot in the Eastern Conference.

Nedeljkovic made 10 first-period saves and Rust quickly put Pittsburgh ahead by knocking in a rebound of Crosby's shot just 18 seconds into the contest.

Crosby made it a 2-0 lead midway through the opening period and after a scoreless second, Emil Bernstrom converted a breakaway chance 9:51 into the third to increase the Penguins' margin.

The Rangers regrouped to cut their deficit to 3-2 on goals by Kaapo Kakko and Jack Roslovic, the last coming with 3:07 left to play. New York pulled goaltender Igor Shesterkin in the closing stages, but fell further behind as both Rust and Crosby scored into an empty net inside the final 2 1/2 minutes. 

Shesterkin turned aside just 15 of 18 shots to have a three-start winning streak snapped.

 

Blues continue post-season push with overtime win over Oilers

Brandon Saad scored 2:09 into overtime as the St. Louis Blues continued their late-season push for a play-off spot with a 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers.

Brayden Schenn accounted for both St. Louis goals in regulation to help the Blues improve to 8-2-1 over their last 11 games. The surge has brought St. Louis within three points of the Los Angeles Kings, who were dealt a 4-3 loss by the Winnipeg Jets on Monday, for the Western Conference's final wild-card berth.

The Blues trailed 1-0 after one period, but Jordan Binnington stopped all 13 Edmonton shots in the second and Schenn tied the game with a power-play goal 8:15 into the middle stanza.

Schenn struck again 1:44 into the third before the Oilers drew back even when Leon Draisaitl stuffed a feed from Connor McDavid past Binnington with 5:25 remaining in regulation.

Edmonton committed a costly giveaway in the neutral zone during overtime, though, which led to Saad scoring on a breakaway for his fifth goal in six games.

Mattias Ekholm recorded the Oilers' first goal and added an assist on Draisaitl's 39th tally of the season. 

Binnington ended with 36 saves and Stuart Skinner stopped 26 shots for Edmonton. 

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    Jason Robertson finished his first career play-off hat trick with the tie-breaking goal in the third period as the Dallas Stars rallied for a 5-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers in Monday's Game 3 of the Western Conference Final.

    Wyatt Johnston and Miro Heiskanen also had goals to give the Central Division champion Stars a 2-1 lead in this best-of-seven series despite a 2-0 deficit after one period. 

    Dallas also got a lift from the return of Roope Hintz, who assisted on Robertson's first two goals in his first appearance since missing the team's last four games with an upper-body injury. 

    Jake Oettinger also had a hand in the victory, as the Dallas goaltender withstood an early and late barrage of shots to record 27 saves and outplay counterpart Stuart Skinner, who stopped just 17 shots for Edmonton.

    The Stars improved to 6-1 on the road in this post-season and can move a win away from their second trip to the Stanley Cup Final in five years in Wednesday's Game 4, which will also take place in Edmonton. 

    Connor McDavid had a goal and an assist for the Oilers, who built a 2-0 lead just 7:37 in before the Stars rallied with three straight goals in the second period.

    Robertson began the comeback with a pair of goals 2:30 apart, with the second coming 8:05 into the stanza when he backhanded a loose puck over Skinner's shoulder.

    Dallas, which outshot the Oilers by a 16-7 margin in the second period, needed only 63 seconds to strike again. Jamie Benn out-raced an Edmonton defender for the puck behind the Oilers' net and the Stars got it into the crease for an awaiting Johnston, who hammered home a close-range shot for his eighth goal of the post-season.

    Edmonton would recover, however, to tie the game 53 seconds before the second intermission. Warren Foegele forced a turnover in the Dallas zone and teammate Connor Brown corralled the puck before delivering a centering pass that Adam Henrique knocked past Oettinger to forge a 3-3 deadlock.

    Henrique was playing for the first time since May 10 after missing seven straight games with an ankle injury.

    The Oilers then owned a 13-3 shot advantage in the third period, but still fell behind when Robertson jammed the puck past Skinner with 8:06 remaining to complete his hat trick.

    Oettinger made the lead hold up before Heiskanen scored into an empty net with 1:52 left shortly after Skinner was pulled for an extra attacker.

    Edmonton got the game off to a flying start when Zach Hyman deflected McDavid's chance on net past Oettinger just 2:02 in. The goal was Hyman's league-leading 13th of this post-season.

    McDavid increased the lead just 5:35 later by knocking in a loose puck sent to the Dallas net by teammate Mattias Ekholm.

     

     

     

     

  • Rangers win NHL East Final Game 3 in OT Rangers win NHL East Final Game 3 in OT

    Alex Wennberg scored 5:35 into overtime to give the New York Rangers a 2-1 series lead on the Florida Panthers in the Eastern Conference Final with a thrilling 5-4 win on Sunday.

    Wennberg deflected a shot from teammate Ryan Lindgren past Florida netminder Sergei Bobrovsky to move the President's Trophy-winning Rangers within two victories of the Stanley Cup Final, despite the Panthers recording a 37-23 shot advantage for the game.

    New York was able to get another standout performance from Igor Shesterskin, however, as well as two goals each from Alexis Lafreniere and Game 2 hero Barclay Goodrow. Shesterskin made 33 saves to outplay Russian counterpart Bobrovsky, who stopped just 18 of 23 shots. 

    Sam Reinhart had a pair of power-play goals for the Atlantic Division-champion Panthers, who trailed 4-2 after two periods before forcing overtime on goals by Aleksander Barkov and Gustav Forsling in the third.

    Florida will attempt to even the series when it hosts Game 4 on Tuesday.

    The Rangers registered the two lone goals of the second period - a highlight-reel score from Lafreniere and a short-handed tally by Goodrow - to snap a 2-2 tie, but the Panthers roared back with a dominant third period in which they outshot New York by a 13-4 margin.

    Barkov tipped in a shot from Carter Verhaeghe 5:04 into the period to get Florida within 4-3. Less than two minutes later, Forsling skated in untouched before ripping a shot by Shesterskin to tie the contest. 

    After the series opened with a pair of low-scoring games, each team scored twice during the first period Reinhart began by depositing a backhand into the Rangers' net with Florida on a power play 2:50 in.

    Lafreniere and Goodrow scored 25 seconds apart to send the Rangers ahead with under eight minutes elapsed, but Reinhart knocked in another backhander with the Panthers on the power play to forge a 2-2 tie with 5:14 left in the period.

    New York regained the lead when Lafreniere split two Florida defenders before slipping a shot under Bobrovsky's pad with 4:37 left in the second. The Panthers had a golden chance to pull even soon afterward, though, when Rangers' defenseman Jacob Trouba was called for a double-minor penalty 2:25 before the second intermission.

    Florida failed to control the puck on the ensuing power play, however, and Vincent Trocheck fed Goodrow - who scored the game-winner in New York's 2-1 overtime victory in Game 2 - for a one-timer that extended the lead to 4-2.

  • NHL: Stars beat Oilers in Game 2 to even Western Conference final NHL: Stars beat Oilers in Game 2 to even Western Conference final

    Mason Marchment scored the tiebreaking goal early in the third period and Jake Oettinger made it stand up with 28 saves as the Dallas Stars defeated the Edmonton Oilers 3-1 to even the Western Conference final at a game apiece on Saturday night.

    Marchment deflected a shot that went through the legs of Oilers defenseman Vincent Desharnais and bounced on the ice past Stuart Skinner at 3:41 of the final period. It was Marchment’s first goal since the playoff opener on April 22.

    Jamie Benn opened the scoring for Dallas 3:39 into the game and Connor Brown answered for Edmonton just 44 seconds later.

    Esa Lindell tallied into an empty net with 2:03 remaining.

    The series shifts to Edmonton for Game 3 on Monday night.

    Stuart Skinner stopped 22 shots as the Oilers were held to fewer than two goals for just the second time in 14 playoff games. The other was a 1-0 win over Los Angeles in Game 4 of the first round.

    Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl was held pointless, ending his playoff-opening point streak at 13 games. That was one short of matching Mark Messier’s franchise record set in 1988.

    Dallas failed to capitalise on its only power play of the game after going 0 for 5 in Game 1. That extended the Oilers’ streak of 20 penalties killed over six-plus games since giving up a power-play goal in Game 3 of its second-round series against Vancouver.

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