Smith scores in 2nd OT, Bruins beat Caps 3-2 for series lead

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BOSTON (AP)Craig Smith scored 5:48 into the second overtime Wednesday night to give the Boston Bruins a 3-2 victory over the Washington Capitals and a 2-1 lead in the East Division first-round playoff series.

Smith outraced defenseman Justin Schultz to a puck behind the Capitals net and swept it around into the goal to end the third straight overtime game in the series. It was the 11th straight one-goal playoff game between them since 1998.

Smith also had an assist, and Brad Marchand and Taylor Hall also scored for Boston. Tuukka Rask stopped 35 shots.

Alex Ovechkin scored his 800th combined regular-season and postseason goal, and Nic Dowd returned from a slap shot off the knee to add a goal for Washington. Ilya Samsonov returned from the COVID-19 list to make his playoff debut, stopping 40 shots for Washington, which lost the home-ice advantage after splitting the first two games at home.

Game 4 is Friday night in Boston.

HURRICANES 3, PREDATORS 0

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Sebastian Aho scored twice and Alex Nedeljkovic was sharp in net to lead a perfect showing for Carolina’s penalty kill, helping the Hurricanes beat Nashville for a 2-0 series lead.

Nedeljkovic finished with 32 saves for the shutout in his second playoff start. And he was under plenty of pressure considering the Hurricanes were called for nine penalties.

Warren Foegele also scored for Carolina.

Game is is Friday night in Nashville.

JETS 4, OILERS 1

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) – Connor Helleybuyck made 32 saves on his 28th birthday, Dominic Toninato broke a tie midway through the third period and Winnipeg beat Edmonton in Game 1.

Playing just his third game for Winnipeg, Toninato tipped in Logan Stanley’s blast from the blue line, but the puck flew out so quickly it wasn’t immediately signaled a goal. The 27-year-old Toninato made his debut in the second-to-last game of the regular season.

Tucker Poolman tied it midway through the second, and Kyle Connor and Blake Wheeler added empty-netters for Winnipeg in its first playoff meeting with Edmonton since 1990. Edmonton’s Jesse Puljujarvi scored in his postseason debut.

Game 2 is Friday night in Edmonton.

AVALANCHE 6, BLUES 3

DENVER (AP) – Nathan MacKinnon finished his first career playoff hat trick with an empty-net goal to help Colorado pull away late after St, Louis avoided a pregame virus scare that nearly sidelined several players.

Joonas Donskoi scored twice and Brandon Saad added an empty-netter as Colorado took a 2-0 lead in the first-round playoff series. Since moving to Denver, Colorado is 13-1 all-time in best-of-seven postseason series when capturing the first two games. Philipp Grubauer finished with 32 saves.

MacKinnon, who also had an assist, had the first hat trick by an Avalanche player in 24 years.

Sammy Blais, Brayden Schenn and Mike Hoffman scored for St. Louis. Jordan Binnington had 29 saves.

Game 3 will be Friday in St. Louis.

FLAMES 6, CANUCKS 2

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) – Matthew Tkachuk scored twice and Calgary beat Vancouver in the NHL’s regular-season finale.

The game was the third in a row between the teams to close the season after the Canucks’ schedule was pushed back by COVID-19 outbreak.

Dillon Dube, Andrew Mangiapane, Brett Ritchie and Connor Mackey, with his first career NHL goal, also scored for the Flames, and Jacob Markstrom stopped 19 shots. At 26-27-3, they ended up four points behind Montreal for the final playoff spot.

Bo Horvat and J.T. Miller scored for the Canucks. They finished last in the seven-team North, a point behind Ottawa.

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