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Maple Leafs stay alive as Bruins stumble in overtime of Game 5 again

Matthew Knies scored 2:26 into overtime as the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs extended their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series against the Boston Bruins with a 2-1 win in Game 5 on Tuesday.

After John Tavares drove toward the net, a loose puck popped off the pads of Boston goaltender Jeremy Swayman and went to Knies, who potted it after charging down the slot.

‘It was a pretty incredible play by (Tavares) to drive the net and make that play happen,’ Knies said. ‘It all started with him. It just found my stick and I was fortunate enough to bury that one.’

The result cut Boston’s advantage in the best-of-seven series to 3-2.

Jake McCabe also scored and Joseph Woll made 27 saves in his first start of the series for Toronto, which will host Game 6 on Thursday.

Woll stopped all four shots he faced during overtime, including early chances by Charlie Coyle and Charlie McAvoy.

The Maple Leafs prevailed despite the absence of NHL regular-season scoring champion Auston Matthews for an undisclosed reason, believed to be related to an illness.

Trent Frederic scored Boston’s lone goal.

‘We weren’t good enough. Simple as that,’ Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said. ‘We weren’t able to match their (level of) desperation.’

Swayman made 31 saves but took his first loss to Toronto in seven meetings in 2023-24, including the regular season and postseason.

It was a 1-1 game after one period despite the Maple Leafs’ dominant 11-2 shot advantage.

McCabe helped Toronto take advantage of the home team’s slow start and scored the opening goal at 5:33 of the first. After Max Domi’s faceoff win, McCabe took Mitch Marner’s feed to the point, then snapped off a shot that beat Swayman through traffic.

With the assist, Marner became the 12th player in Maple Leafs history to record 50 career playoff points.

The Bruins’ second shot of the opening frame found the back of the net at 13:54. Jesper Boqvist’s forecheck helped the puck come loose, and it went to Frederic for a quick point-blank shot that eluded Woll’s glove.

Both goaltenders came up big during a scoreless second that included Swayman making a key save when Domi set up Morgan Rielly for a shot at 4:05.

Boston missed a golden opportunity to take the lead 5:11 into the third. Coyle stole the puck and skated down the right wing, but Brad Marchand sent his try just over the net.

Just before the midway point of the third, Coyle clanked a shot from the left circle off the crossbar.

Woll made one of his best stops with 7:29 left in regulation, sprawling out of his crease to deny Frederic on the doorstep.

Also helping to force overtime, Swayman denied Tyler Bertuzzi on a two-on-one with 5:07 to go.

NHL PLAYOFFS: Scores, schedule, times, TV for first-round games

Nashville Predators stave off elimination vs. Vancouver Canucks

Alexandre Carrier’s third-period goal completed a comeback and the visiting Nashville Predators extended their Western Conference first-round series with a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks in Game 5 on Tuesday.

Roman Josi also scored for the Predators, who still trail the best-of-seven set 3-2. Game 6 will be played Friday in Nashville.

Predators goalie Juuse Saros made 19 saves, while Filip Forsberg collected a pair of assists as his team erased a third-period deficit en route to victory.

Nikita Zadorov scored for the Canucks, the Pacific Division champions. Goalie Arturs Silovs stopped 20 shots.

With the score tied and his team’s season on the line, Carrier netted his first career playoff goal to put the Predators ahead with 7:14 remaining. With the visitors pressing in the offensive zone, Carrier was sent the puck at the point, and his seeing-eye shot found the mark for the go-ahead tally.

The Canucks had their net empty for the extra attacker for almost all of the final two minutes but could not muster the scoring chance necessary to net the equalizer.

The end result was a perfect response after the Canucks erased a late deficit en route to victory in Game 4.

It made for another wild finish in a close-checking, low-scoring affair.

Zadorov finally broke the goalless deadlock at 3:11 of the third period with his second tally of the playoffs. The hulking defenseman gained the puck inside his own blue line, worked his way to deep in the left circle and fired a top-shelf shot that beat Saros’ glove hand.

Josi’s power-play goal four minutes later tied the clash. Josi had an attempt denied as he drove to the net, but during a scramble at the Vancouver cage, the puck ended up crossing the line and the goal counted, earning Josi his first of the series.

Carolina Hurricanes close out New York Islanders

Carolina’s Jack Drury and Stefan Noesen scored eight seconds apart in the third period as the Hurricanes emerged from a tie and earned a series-clinching, 6-3 victory against the New York Islanders in Game 5 on Tuesday in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The Hurricanes won the Eastern Conference first-round playoff series 4-1, earning a date with the Presidents’ Trophy-winning New York Rangers in the next round.

Drury scored short side from the left circle to make it 4-3 at 4:36 of the third.

After the ensuing faceoff, New York goalie Semyon Varlamov went behind the net to play a dump-in, but the puck bounced off the left corner wall to the near post and out front, and Noesen was there to poke it into the open net.

Brady Skjei assisted on both the Drury and Noesen goals.

Seth Jarvis added a late empty-net goal and had two assists while Evgeny Kuznetsov had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes. Carolina’s Teuvo Teravainen and Andrei Svechnikov also scored, and Frederik Andersen made 22 saves.

Colorado Avalanche eliminate Winnipeg Jets

Mikko Rantanen had two goals and an assist as the visiting Colorado Avalanche eliminated the Winnipeg Jets with a 6-3 win in Game 5 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series on Tuesday night.

Valeri Nichushkin and Artturi Lehkonen scored for the fifth straight game, Josh Manson had a goal and an assist and Yakov Trenin also scored for the Avalanche, who will play either the Dallas Stars or the Vegas Golden Knights in the conference semifinals.

Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon and Devon Toews each had two assists, while Alexandar Georgiev made 33 saves.

‘Right now, we’ve got every guy playing really hard and playing the right way,’ MacKinnon said.

Georgiev struggled during a 7-6 loss in the series opener before he performed well through the rest of the series.

‘A lot of mental toughness,’ MacKinnon said of Georgiev. ‘It obviously wasn’t his best Game 1. We also hung him out to dry, and (he bounced) back four straight really stellar performances, made some huge saves in every game, so really excited to have him get hot.’

Kyle Connor, Josh Morrissey and Tyler Toffoli scored and Connor Hellebuyck stopped 26 shots for the Jets, who won all three games against Colorado during the regular season by a combined score of 17-4 but were outscored 28-15 in the playoff series.

MacKinnon said, ‘Coming into this series, I think we all had a lot of doubt, just because of how bad they beat us all season. We came in really humble and played our tails off.’

Winnipeg center Adam Lowry said, ‘Disappointing way to end the year, and I think everyone in this room is just upset with our level of play in this series. We knew the Avs are a great rush team. They generate a lot of offense. We believed we could slow them down.’

‘Up until tonight, we didn’t do a good enough job of slowing them down, staying above them and creating the turnovers that we could. Our game looked a lot more like what we were used to seeing in the regular season tonight, but it’s an unfortunate result. You put yourself down 3-1, it’s tough to come back.’

The Avalanche moved ahead 4-3 on a tip-in from Rantanen at 4:11 of the third period. It was the first goal of the series for Rantanen, who scored 42 during the regular season.

Rantanen found the net again on a feed from MacKinnon off a rush to stretch the lead to 5-3 at 8:01.

Manson scored into an empty net with two seconds left.

The Jets took a 1-0 lead at 1:15 of the first period.

Connor was credited with the goal after Manson tried to clear a loose puck from the crease, but it hit Lehkonen and ricocheted back into his own net.

Nichushkin, who had a hat trick in the Avalanche’s 5-1 win in Game 4 and came in with six goals in the series, scored on a one-timer from the bottom of the right circle off the rush to tie it 1-1 at 3:18 of the first period.

Trenin took a shot from along the goal line that Hellebuyck saved, but Trenin beat Winnipeg defenseman Neal Pionk to the rebound, pulled the puck in front of the net and scored for a 2-1 lead at 5:42 of the second period.

The Jets went on their first power play shortly afterward, and Morrissey tied it 2-2 with a one-timer from above the slot at 6:48 of the second.

Lehkonen moved Colorado back ahead 3-2 when his wrist shot off the rush went off the stick of Pionk and into his own net at 13:45 of the second.

Lehkonen and Nichushkin are the first teammates in NHL history to score in a team’s first five postseason games.

Toffoli tied it 3-3 at 2:06 of the third with a wrist shot from the slot that sailed above Georgiev’s right pad and under his blocker.

This post appeared first on USA TODAY

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