Flyers

NHL Playoffs: Rangers top Senators, 4-1, knot series at 2-2

NHL Playoffs: Rangers top Senators, 4-1, knot series at 2-2

NEW YORK -- While New York stars Rick Nash and Chris Kreider receive playoff-level attention from Ottawa, Oscar Lindberg and Tanner Glass are providing an unexpected lift for the Rangers.

Lindberg scored two goals, Glass had two assists and the Rangers beat the Senators 4-1 on Thursday night to tie their Eastern Conference semifinal series at two games apiece.

"I think our line has been doing a really good job, getting pucks back from the forecheck," Lindberg said. "We had two good chances today and we were able to bear down."

Kreider and Nick Holden also scored for the Rangers, and Henrik Lundqvist had 22 saves.

Kyle Turris scored for Ottawa, and Craig Anderson made 17 saves before being replaced by Mike Condon for the third period. Condon finished with nine stops.

"They are a good hockey team. They came out and played their game to a T," Anderson said. "Had their fans and the momentum. We weren't able to get anything going."

Senators star defenseman Erik Karlsson also left the game after the second period with an injury. Karlsson played during the first round with two microfractures in one of his feet from blocking a shot late in the regular season.

Coach Guy Boucher said he expects both Anderson and Karlsson to play in Game 5 on Saturday at Ottawa.

"We felt it was better for him to keep him off the ice in the (third) period," Boucher said of Karlsson. "He could've come back, but we just wanted to make sure. He has a lower-body injury."

Lindberg also scored the Rangers' final goal in their Game 3 win, with Glass picking up an assist. Glass, a forward who was scratched in the first two games of the series, has brought an edge to the team.

"Look at these assists," Glass said. "They are not exactly playmaking assists. They are just kind of the gritty, grinding game I bring. Sometimes it ends up in the back of the net."

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault has appreciated the balanced scoring.

"Definitely tonight Oscar's line came up big for us with a couple of big plays," Vigneault said. "Tanner is just playing disciplined, smart hockey and that's what he needs to do."

The game got physical in the third period as the teams combined for 78 penalty minutes, with the majority of that coming in the final minute.

Lundqvist has stopped 48 of his past 50 shots after allowing six goals in the Senators' double-overtime win in Game 2. The Rangers have won four consecutive home games this postseason.

"I think it's the last couple of games," Lundqvist said. "It's not a one-man show here. It's about four lines doing everything right and that's what you need this time of the year."

Lindberg scored both of the Rangers' second-period goals. Glass blocked Ben Harpur's shot and Michael Grabner grabbed the loose puck and broke in with Lindberg, who scored on a one-timer at 2:01.

Glass also helped set up Lindberg's next goal. He outworked Senators defenseman Cody Ceci for the puck behind the Ottawa net and sent it to the boards. J.T. Miller grabbed the loose puck and passed to Lindberg at the point for a 3-0 lead at 15:54.

Kreider made it 4-0 with a power-play goal at 10:45 of the third.

Turris scored at 13:34, but the Senators had trouble generating sustained pressure against Lundqvist and were sloppy with the puck at times.

"We've got to hit the net," Boucher said. "Whenever we got chances, we didn't capitalize."

For the second consecutive game, the Rangers controlled the first period. In Game 3, they scored the first two goals and outshot Ottawa 15-5. On Thursday, they outshot the Senators 11-7 and opened the scoring again.

Holden led a breakout from the defensive zone and sent a pass to Kevin Hayes at center ice. Hayes passed back to Holden along the left wing and he broke in toward the net and beat Anderson with a wrist shot that went over his right pad at 14:04.

The Rangers have scored the first goal in each game of the series.

"They played well at home for their two games and we played at home for our two games and we've got a series," Boucher said.

Notes
Through four games, the Rangers have led for 149:56, have been tied for 108:47 and have trailed for 4:11. ... Lundqvist earned his 61st playoff win to tie Tom Barrasso for 13th on the NHL's career list. ... Senators Fs Bobby Ryan and Zack Smith returned to the lineup after leaving Game 3 with injuries. D Chris Wideman and F Tom Pyatt both made their debuts in the series. D Fredrik Claesson and F Tommy Wingels were scratched. ... Rangers F Pavel Buchnevich was scratched for the second consecutive game and replaced by Glass.

Claude Julien gets last laugh in return to Boston

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Claude Julien gets last laugh in return to Boston

BOSTON -- David Pastrnak and Ryan Spooner each scored an early goal, Tuukka Rask stopped 21 shots and the Bruins beat Montreal 4-1 Wednesday night in Canadiens coach Claude Julien's return to Boston.

The surging Bruins have earned at least a point in 14 straight games (10-0-4), their longest stretch since going 15-0-1 in March 2014.

Brad Marchand added a power-play goal in the third period, David Krejci had an empty-netter and Patrice Bergeron had two assists for Boston, which posted its second win over the Canadiens in five days. The teams meet again in Montreal on Saturday night.

Jakub Jerabek scored his first NHL goal for Montreal, and Carey Price made 28 saves.

Julien, who coached Boston's Stanley Cup-winning team in 2011, was fired last Feb. 7 in his 10th season. He was replaced by assistant and current Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy, who opted for more up-tempo, charge-into-the-zone play from his defensemen as opposed to Julien's mostly defensive-minded style.

Rask extended his career-best point streak to 15 games (13-0-2), including a 4-3 shootout win at Montreal last Saturday (see full recap).

Ducks score 4 in 2nd period to beat Penguins
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Rickard Rakell and Adam Henrique scored 1:35 apart to Anaheim the lead during its four-goal second period, and the Ducks went on to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-3 Wednesday night.

Chris Wagner and Ondrej Kase also scored for Anaheim in the middle period, and Hampus Lindholm added an empty-netter in the final second of the game. John Gibson stopped 30 shots to help the Ducks improve to 7-3-1 in their last 11 games.

Anaheim scored four goals in a period for first time since doing it in the third period at Buffalo last Feb. 9.

Jake Guentzel, Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin scored for the Penguins, who snapped a four-game win streak. Tristan Jarry made 28 saves.

With the Ducks trailing 1-0, Rakell tied it on a redirect of a shot by Francois Beauchemin at 4:17 of the second. Henrique then put them ahead at 5:42, beating Jarry with a wraparound while the rookie was caught flatfooted at the opposite post trying to get his stick back.

Wagner scored on a short-handed breakaway to make it 3-1 at 9:24, notching the third special-teams goal of his career, all of which have come this season.

Kase's smooth breakaway backhand with 1:32 left in the period capped off the scoring deluge. Kase, who also had an assist, has five points in his last three games (see full recap).

Where is Dave Hakstol's sixth sense?

Where is Dave Hakstol's sixth sense?

VOORHEES, N.J. — Movie director M. Night Shyamalan may have created the sixth sense, and some of the more successful coaches in the NHL actually possess it. 

No, not the ability to see dead people, but rather, the recognition of assessing in-game situations and taking an immediate and proactive course of action before the team and the game itself begins to unravel.

Predators coach and former Flyers bench boss Peter Laviolette had an uncanny ability to utilize his only timeout at a moment when the team needed desperately to refocus during a stretch of poor hockey. Laviolette may have signaled for one during a lackluster first period or at the first sign of trouble in the third period.

He’d rip the gum out of his mouth and begin the process of chewing out his guys. His face would turn red and his temperature would rise as if it was measured by the red liquid in a thermometer. More often than not, Laviolette’s teams responded swiftly and appropriately to his message. He had an ability to seize the moment when others may not have seen it coming.

It’s a club Hakstol simply doesn’t have in his bag.

Hakstol prefers to hold onto his timeout predictably when the Flyers are down a goal late in the third period to draw up a play on the dry-erase board or to give his players a breather following an icing call. Rarely, if ever, is that timeout taken in an effort to overcome the opposition’s surge of momentum.

Same can be said for Hakstol’s decision to make a goaltending change.

In the Flyers' two most recent lopsided losses, both 5-1 setbacks to the Penguins and Rangers, Hakstol chose to pull Elliott after two periods with the outcomes pretty much decided heading into the third period. 

Regarding the Flyers' loss to New York Tuesday night: "We put [Elliott] in a pretty tough spot," Hakstol said postgame (see story). "Looking back on it, I could make the change after the fourth goal, but I felt like we put him in pretty tough spots tonight with the opportunities that we gave up in the first 30 minutes of the game."

While every coach seems to possess hindsight, not every coach has the appropriate sense of foresight. Goaltending changes can be the result of poor play in net and Elliott wasn’t great Tuesday night, but the decision can also take on a dual-purpose. Give the backup playing time while also attempting to ignite a spark up and down the bench.

Send a message that it’s not the goaltender’s responsibility alone for digging this hole, but since he can’t bench all 18 skaters, bench the goalie as a result of everyone else’s poor play. 

In both losses to the Penguins and Rangers, once Hakstol decided to replace Elliott with Neuvirth, the Flyers were facing a 4-1 and 5-1 deficit, respectively, heading into the third period. The coach would have had better success creating a spark by rubbing two sticks together.

Over the course of an 82-game season, it’s important for a coach to remain consistent with his message. Over the duration of a 60-minute game, that message is tailored around the team’s performance. Moments and situations elicit when a coach should be bold with his words or more reserved.

Judging by his manner and behavior behind the bench, Hakstol’s barometer rarely tilts one way or the other, and the team has seemingly taken on the personality of its coach, especially at times when urgency is required.

“It’s got to be the same this time of year,” Hakstol said when asked about the team’s mindset following a 5-1 loss. “It’s never as bad you think and it’s never as good as you think. Address the issues, be direct about it, fix them and move forward.”

However, the Flyers are now 27th in the league when trailing after the first period and 25th when trailing after two periods. Against the Penguins and Rangers, the Flyers gave themselves no chance at forcing overtime when every single point matters right now, especially against the two teams they’re chasing in the wild-card standings.      

Hakstol can attempt to correct X's and O’s, but at some point, his decision-making and ability to put his finger on the pulse of his team will become an X-factor.