Pastrnak pulls off 1st hat trick in most improbable way

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Pastrnak pulls off 1st hat trick in most improbable way

RALEIGH, N.C. -- David Pastrnak scored three of Boston's five goals in the final 10 minutes for his first career hat trick, and the Bruins stunned the Carolina Hurricanes by rallying for a 6-4 victory Tuesday night.

Matt Grzelcyk, Pastrnak and Danton Heinen scored in a span of 77 seconds to turn a 4-1 Bruins deficit into a 4-all tie.

Grzelcyk fired home a slap shot with 9:56 remaining, Pastrnak scored on a wrister 56 seconds later and Heinen followed 21 seconds after that with the tying goal, banging home a one-timer off a 2-on-1 rush with David Krejci.

Pastrnak put Boston ahead on a power-play goal with 3:30 left and finished off his hat trick with an empty-net goal with 1:34 remaining.

Brad Marchand had a goal and two assists for the Bruins, who snapped a three-game road losing streak. Tuukka Rask made 29 saves (see full recap).

Hoffman, Senators end Lightning run
TAMPA, Fla. -- Mike Hoffman scored two goals and six other Ottawa players had multipoint games as the Senators beat Tampa Bay 7-4 on Tuesday night, ending the Lightning's 10-game streak without a regulation loss.

One night earlier, the struggling Senators halted Florida's eight-game home winning streak.

Tom Pyatt, Erik Karlsson, Ryan Dzingel and Marian Gaborik each had a goal and an assist for the Senators. Magnus Paajarvi also scored, and Mike Condon finished with 42 saves

Tampa Bay, sitting atop the NHL standings with 100 points, hadn't lost in regulation since Feb. 17. But the Lightning's lead over Boston in the Atlantic Division was trimmed to four points after the Bruins rallied past Carolina.

The defeat also spoiled the first career hat trick for J.T. Miller, who has five goals in seven games for Tampa Bay since being acquired from the New York Rangers at the Feb. 26 trade deadline. Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos each had three assists (see full recap).

Rinne, surging Predators top Jets
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Pekka Rinne made 32 saves and the surging Nashville Predators scored two short-handed goals in beating the Winnipeg Jets 3-1 on Tuesday night to tie for the top spot in the NHL standings.

Kevin Fiala, Austin Watson and Viktor Arvidsson had the goals for Nashville, which has won 11 of 12.

The Predators reached 100 points in 69 games, the fastest mark in franchise history. The defending Western Conference champions are even with Eastern Conference-leading Tampa Bay -- and Nashville has played one fewer game.

Kyle Connor scored for the Jets, losers of three straight. Winnipeg fell eight points behind the first-place Predators in the Central Division.

Nashville scored three goals before the game was nine minutes old. Playing the finale of a six-game road trip, their longest of the season, and their second game in two nights, the Jets came out sluggish against the speedy Predators (see full recap).

Why have Penguins dominated Flyers recently?

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Why have Penguins dominated Flyers recently?

The keys to the Keystone State Rivalry are now in the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who have been in the driver’s seat recently in their feud with the Flyers.

The Penguins are on the verge of a season sweep for the first time since taking all eight meetings during the Flyers' disastrous season of 2006-07.

It’s a complete turnaround from the Flyers eight-game winning streak from November of 2013 to April of 2015. PPG Paints Arena, formerly known as Consol Energy Center, could also be commonly referred to as Wells Fargo Center West.

However, in the Dave Hakstol era, which has also coincided with the Mike Sullivan era in Pittsburgh, the ice has been tilted towards Lake Erie. The Flyers are just 3-7-1 against the Penguins over the past three years.

Over time, that vitriolic and acrimonious attitude seems to be missing from a once-bitter feud and the Flyers seemed to thrive off that animosity.

“There’s not as many fights as we used to and not as many hits,” said captain Claude Giroux. “If you don’t take care of the puck and you don’t play smart out there, it’s going to cost your team.”

Since the third period of their first game in November, there have been costly mistakes and very little push back from the Flyers. They’ve been outscored 14-4 in their last seven periods and a brief overtime against the Penguins.

“It’s a matter of us going out and being ourselves for a full 60 minutes,” Dave Hakstol said when asked what needs to change heading into Sunday’s game. “We haven’t done that against Pittsburgh and you’ve got to credit them for that. They can push teams off balance.”

And clearly the Penguins have presented a matchup problem for the Flyers, regardless of which team has owned last change. Sidney Crosby has thrived this season with a +6 rating against the Flyers.

With Sean Couturier serving as Evgeni Malkin’s shadow dating back to his rookie season in 2011-12, Giroux had been tasked with matching up with Crosby’s line. Now with Couturier and Giroux paired together, the task of containing Crosby has shifted elsewhere, whether it’s been Valtteri Filppula, Scott Laughton or Nolan Patrick.

The Flyers' 19-year-old rookie center has quickly discovered what works and what doesn’t against arguably the NHL’s best all-around player.

“You have to be a little more defensive-minded when (Crosby) is out there, and even Malkin too,” said Patrick. “Crosby’s not really a guy you can go after and knock the puck off. You just got to try and contain them and have a good stick on him.”

“I don’t think we’ve given them our best effort so far this year,” said defenseman Andrew MacDonald. “We were a little timid last time. We were trying to feel out the game and see what kind of game it was going to be, rather than dictate the play.”

The Flyers haven’t exhibited their best effort against any team recently, and no need to prove a point against the Penguins this late in the season.

The Flyers simply need points and the Penguins just happen to be the next team on the schedule.

Devils' Hall wastes no time in overtime

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Devils' Hall wastes no time in overtime

PITTSBURGH -- Taylor Hall beat Matt Murray on a breakaway 27 seconds into overtime to lift the New Jersey Devils to a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night.

Hall was all alone when Nico Hischier found him with a long lead pass. Hall then slipped the puck between Murray's legs for his 33rd goal of the season as New Jersey picked up two vital points in the race for one of the two wild-card spots in the Eastern Conference.

Hall added two assists for New Jersey. Hischier finished with a goal and an assist, and Blake Coleman and Will Butcher also scored for the Devils. Keith Kincaid made 40 stops for the Devils, who finished a season-high six-game road trip 4-2.

Sidney Crosby scored his 25th of the season for Pittsburgh. Brian Dumolin and Phil Kessel scored in the third period as the Penguins erased a two-goal deficit. Murray finished with 30 saves as the Penguins lost for just the second time in their last 17 home games.

New Jersey's drive to end a six-year playoff drought has stalled since the All-Star break. A lopsided loss in San Jose dropped the Devils to just 13-12 since Jan. 30 and skated onto the ice at PPG Paints Arena with a tenuous grasp on the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference (see full recap).

Bruins win on Pastrnak’s last-second goal
DALLAS -- David Pastrnak broke a tie with 12 seconds left and the Boston Bruins scored three straight goals in the third period to rally past the fading Dallas Stars 3-2 on Friday night.

A scramble followed a faceoff in the Dallas end, and Brad Marchand passed to Pastrnak in front. While falling down, he put the puck past Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen.

Tuukka Rask made a season-high 40 saves for the Bruins. Marchand scored Boston's first goal and also assisted on a short-handed goal by Tim Schaller that tied it midway through the third period.

The second-place Bruins won for the first time in three games (1-0-2) to move within four points of Atlantic Division leader Tampa Bay. Boston has already clinched a playoff berth.

The Stars are winless in their last seven games (0-5-2). They remained four points behind Colorado for the second Western Conference wild card (see full recap).

Berglund, Blues push win streak to 4
ST. LOUIS -- Patrik Berglund scored twice and the surging St. Louis Blues beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-1 on Friday night for their fourth consecutive victory.

Vladimir Tarasenko and Dmitrij Jaskin also scored for St. Louis. Jake Allen made 19 saves in his eighth straight start as the Blues won for the sixth time in seven games.

Sam Gagner scored for Vancouver, which has lost eight of nine. Anders Nilsson stopped 21 shots.

The Blues swept the season series and have won their last five games against the Canucks.

Tarasenko extended the lead to 3-1 just 14 seconds into the third period, slipping Jaden Schwartz's pass between Nilsson's legs. Tarasenko missed the previous two games with an upper-body injury.

Jaskin's sixth goal of the season with 2:29 left sealed it for St. Louis (see full recap).