NHL: Leafs-Lightning between 1st round duels

The Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Boston Bruins 5-2 on Friday to confirm their first-round playoff match-up against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Leafs close the regular season with a third straight win against Boston this year. The Torontonians have amassed 115 points this season, 10 more than their previous record.

Nicholas Abruzzese, a 22-year-old striker, scored the first goal of his NHL career in the win when he made it 3-1.

Trent Frederic had opened the scoring after just 1 minute 10 of play for the Bruins, then Toronto chained up four unanswered goals.

William Nylander scored twice, while Ilya Mikheyev and Pierre Engvall (empty net) were the other scorers in the winning clan. Erik Kallgren stopped 24 shots.

Jake DeBruysk provided the answer to the power play.

As their respective qualifiers for the series had already been secured, several players were missing on both sides, such as Auston Matthews and Patrice Bergeron.

Finally, a hat trick for Stamkos

Steven Stamkos got his one and only hat-trick of the season in the final game of the Tampa Bay Lightning, a 6-4 win over the New York Islanders.

Stamkos finished the season with 26 points in his last nine games.

Lightning 6 – Islanders 4

Corey Perry, Ryan McDonagh and Brandon Hagel also scored for Tampa, who trailed two goals and scored five times in the third period.

Ondrej Palat contributed three assists to the win, while Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 33 shots.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Kieffer Bellows, Josh Bailey and Zdeno Chara lined up for the Isles, who will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2018.

Despite the loss, Chara was still hailed by everyone on the ice for what could be his last game in the NHL.

The Penguins will stand in the way of the Rangers

The Penguins did not leave their fate in the hands of the Capitals. Pittsburgh defeated the Blue Jackets 5-3 to secure their third place in the Metropolitan Division.

This win also confirms that the Penguins will face the Rangers in the first round of the playoffs.

Blue Jackets 3 – Penguins 5

Pittsburgh struck three times in the first period to take a three-goal lead.

Evgeni Malkin turned 20 this season before seeing Evan Rodrigues and Marcus Pettersson score two more goals.

Justin Danforth put the Blue Jackets on the scoreline in the second period, but the Penguins got a two-goal response.

Kristopher Letang and Brian Boyle scored to extend Pittsburgh’s lead to four goals.

Oliver Bjorkstrand and Gustav Nyquist hit the back of the net for Columbus in the third period, but it was too little, too late.

The Penguins threw a whopping 50 shots in the win.

Casey DeSmith blocked 32 pucks in the win.

After a setback, the Caps prepare to take on the best team in the league

Dryden Hunt gave the team the lead in the third period, goalkeeper Alexandar Georgiev blocked 34 pucks and the New York Rangers defeated the Washington Capitals 3-2.

The Capitals complete the schedule in eighth place in the Eastern Conference and will face the Florida Panthers, the winners of the Presidents’ Trophy.

Hunt’s sixth goal of the season followed an excellent play from him to finally dodge Ilya Samsonov’s vigilance at 6.42am. Kaapo Kakko and Adam Fox picked up assists.

After a scoreless first period, Filip Chytil gave Rangers the lead at 3:26 of the second period, with contributions from Kakko and Braden Schneider.

However, the Capitals turned things around when defenders Justin Schultz and John Carlson took turns outplaying Georgiev.

Alexis Lafrenière, however, had the Rangers tied the score before the end of the second period when he scored his 19th of the season.

Devils finish with six consecutive losses

Pius Suter broke the tie midway through the third period and led the Detroit Red Wings to a 5-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils.

Tyler Bertuzzi and Michael Rasmussen led the Red Wings attack with one goal and one assist each. Moritz Seider and Joseph Veleno completed for the winners.

Sam Gagner provided two assists and goalkeeper Magnus Hellberg blocked 23 shots.

Fabian Zetterlund led the Devils with a goal and an assist. Dawson Mercer and Nolan Foote scored the remaining goals.

The Devils ended the season with six consecutive losses and also lost their last eight appearances in front of their fans.

Mittelstadt plays heroes in extension for Sabres

Casey Mittelstadt played the heroes at 2:07 of overtime and the Buffalo Sabers defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2.

Tage Thompson scored his 38th goal of the season when first-choice last draft defender Owen Power scored his second goal in eight NHL games.

Malcolm Subban sings the national anthem

The Sabers have come from behind to win a fifth in their last six games. They will miss the playoffs for the 12th consecutive season.

Dustin Tokarski blocked 19 pucks for the Buffalos.

Dominik Kubalik and Dylan Strome scored for the Blackhawks. Collin Delia stopped 33 shots.

The first round duels in the East:

Panthers v. capital letters
Maple Leafs v. Lightning
hurricanes v. Bruins
Rangers v. Penguins

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