There will be two Game 7’s as the Colorado Avalanche forced the deciding game on Monday night (Tuesday morning in the East and Central), defeating the San Jose Sharks and will return to California for Game 7 Wednesday. On Sunday, St. Louis beat Dallas to tie their series at 3 apiece with Game 7 in St. Louis Tuesday night.
The Bruins became the second team to clinch in Round 2 as they defeated Columbus in the Ohio capital and will face Carolina in the Eastern Conference Final.
BOSTON 3 COLUMBUS 0 (Boston wins the best-of-seven series 4-2)
Tuukka Rask was brilliant in the Boston cage as he stopped all 39 Columbus shots and the Bruins came away with a 3-0 road win to clinch the best-of-seven series, four games to two. Boston will face the upstart Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Final that will start later this week in Boston.
It was a scoreless first period with Boston outshooting the Blue Jackets 12-10. The Bruins' Sean Kuraly scored just past the half-way mark of the period but the goal was overturned as Joakim Nordstrom interfered with goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, knocking him out of his crease.
But it was a different story in the second stanza as the Blue Jackets pummeled Rask with 17 shots in which he turned all 17 aside. Boston managed only five shots on goal but took the lead at the 12:13 mark of the period when David Krejci scored his fourth of the playoffs as he slapped the puck between the blocker and body of Bobrovsky and it found its way into the far side of the net. Jake DeBrusk drew the primary assist as his shot rattled off the crossbar and right to Krejci.
Charlie McAvoy ended the period with an elbow to the head of Josh Anderson with 20 seconds remaining. He only received a minor but do not be surprised if the NHL suspends him for a game or two for the illegal hit as the league has been frowning upon those types of hits.
The Blue Jackets had a power play to start the third but could not take advantage and the Bruins made it 2-0 when Marcus Johansson’s shot was partially saved by Bobrovsky but the puck trickled into the net.
The Blue Jackets hit three crossbars and a post in the contest but Rask was exceptional in the win. It was his sixth career Stanley Cup shutout and he is 8-5 in this season’s Stanley Cup playoffs. He stopped 11 shots when the Bruins were shorthanded as Boston took four minors to the Blue Jackets one.
Bobrovsky made 24 saves in taking the loss and it appears that it could be his final appearance in a Columbus uniform as he and offensive star Artemi Panarin will become unrestricted free agents on July 1 and rumors have it that both are on the move elsewhere, possibly to Florida.
Nick Foligno had nine hits as Columbus had 43 to Boston’s 19..
COLORADO 4 SAN JOSE 3 (Overtime) (Best-of-seven series tied at 3-3)
Gabriel Landeskog’s overtime goal at the 2:28 mark of the first overtime, was the winner as the Colorado Avalanche defeated the San Jose Sharks 4-3. With the win, the Avalanche evened the best-of-seven series at three apiece.
After a scoreless first period, Tyson Jost opened the scoring with his second of the playoffs as he was set up by J.T. Compher and Ian Cole. The Sharks tied it up at 1 more than 10 minutes later as Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored his first of two goals in the game, banging home a rebound on a Timo Meier shot.
Compher, who had the best game of his NHL career (at a most vital time) made it 2-1 with only 1:16 left in the second period and it looked like the Avalanche would take the lead into the dressing room, but Brent Burns scored with only 9.8 seconds left in the period on a nice wrist shot to even the score at 2.
Compher gave the Avs their third lead of the game as Derick Brassard picked up his first assist of the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs but once again the Sharks tied it as Vlasic scored his second of the game and third of the post-season.
The Sharks shut down the Avalanche’s top line of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Landeskog in regulation time but could not stop the captain in the OT. Rantanen was injured early in the game but played on what seemed to be one leg and his status for Game 7 could be up in the air. The Avs were in trouble as they played the game with seven defensemen and only 11 forwards and that took its toll when Rantanen came up lame.
Philipp Grubauer picked up the win stopping 19 shots for his seventh win in this year’s playoffs.
Martin Jones made 22 saves in taking the loss.
Gustav Nyquist had a pair of assists.
Compher had a three-point night with an assist in addition to the pair of goals.
Game 7 is in San Jose Wednesday. It should be a doozy.