Playoff wins for Rangers, Red Wings, Kings
The New York Rangers clawed back a much-needed 4-3 win against the Washington Capitals, while the Detroit Red Wings beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 in overtime to draw even in their first round playoff series today.
The Boston Bruins downed the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2 to lead their series 2-1, and the Los Angeles Kings edged the St Louis Blues 4-3 to draw level at 2-2.
New York's Derek Stepan and Arron Asham both scored tiebreaking goals in the third period of Game 3. The Rangers still trail 2-1 in the Eastern Conference series ahead of Game 4 in New York on Thursday (NZ time).
Stepan gave the Rangers the lead for good with 6:25 remaining when he deftly tipped in a pass in front from Rick Nash. Asham had put New York in front 3-2 at 2:53, but Jay Beagle got the Capitals even again 4:26 later.
Derick Brassard had a goal and two assists for the Rangers, who managed only one goal in the first two losses in Washington and hadn't scored since the first period of Game 1 - a scoreless stretch of 124 minutes, 6 seconds. That streak was broken by Brian Boyle's first-period goal that made it 1-1.
Damien Brunner scored with 4:50 left in overtime to lift Detroit its series-evening win over Anaheim.
Detroit defenceman Jakub Kindl started the winning sequence, passing the puck from behind Detroit's net up the ice to Joakim Andersson. He tried to connect with teammate Gustav Nyquist only to have Hiller poke the puck away.
Brunner, playing in his first NHL season, was in perfect position in front of the net and swatted in the puck to end the game.
Game 5 is Thursday in Anaheim and Game 6 is back in Detroit on Saturday (both NZ time).
Pavel Datsyuk scored a second tying goal for the Red Wings with 6:33 left in regulation. Brendan Smith made it 1-1 early in the third.
Matt Beleskey gave the Ducks their first lead 5:07 into the game and David Steckel put them ahead midway through the third period.
Boston spoiled the return of playoff hockey to Toronto, scoring two quick goals in the second period to beat the Maple Leafs.
Adam McQuaid, Rich Peverley, Nathan Horton, Daniel Paille and David Krejci, with an empty-net goal with 1:17 remaining, scored for Boston
The win came before 19,746 fans inside the Air Canada Centre. Outside, a blue-and-white throng watched on a big screen in Maple Leaf Square as playoff hockey returned to Toronto for the first time since 2004.
After being beaten 4-2 in Boston in Game 2, the Bruins upped their game. The Leafs, meanwhile, made mistakes and were punished, although they tried to close the gap with a busy third period in which they outshot the visitors 18-6. The Leafs finished with a 47-38 edge in shots.
Game 4 is Thursday (NZ time) in Toronto, with Boston leading 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.
Jake Gardiner and Phil Kessel replied for Toronto in a physical game.
At Los Angeles, Anze Kopitar equalised with 12:46 to play, Justin Williams tipped home the go-ahead goal 76 seconds later in Los Angeles' win over St Louis.
Jeff Carter and Dustin Penner also scored for the defending Stanley Cup champions. They erased an early two-goal deficit and a third-period deficit to earn their ninth consecutive home victory since March 23. Jonathan Quick made 19 saves.
TJ Oshie scored his first two playoff goals for the Blues, who had the champs on the brink of serious trouble before Kopitar and Williams beat Brian Elliott, who stopped 25 shots.
Game 5 is Thursday in St. Louis, with Game 6 back at Staples Center on Saturday (both NZ time).
Mike Richards had two assists for Los Angeles, which dropped the first two games of the series in St Louis and barely survived for a 1-0 victory in Game 3.