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The Journal Gazette

  • Associated Press Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy makes a save on a shot by New Jersey center Blake Coleman on Saturday in Tampa, Fla. 

Sunday, April 15, 2018 1:00 am

NHL PLAYOFFS

Lightning open up 2-game lead

Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. – It's great to play well, even better to win.

That's how the Tampa Bay Lightning view a 2-0 series lead over the New Jersey Devils.

“As a coach, you care about everything. You'd like to say you played the perfect game, but somebody else has a vote out there,” coach Jon Cooper said Saturday after a 5-3 victory in Game 2 of the first-round matchup.

“When we wake up tomorrow, you look back and say: 'OK, which parts of the game did we do well.' And we'll be able to look at a lot of that tape and say we did really well. And we'll look at some and say that wasn't so good,” Cooper added. “I'm pretty sure New Jersey is going to do the exact same thing. It's the playoffs. There's going to be battles, there's going to be swings of momentum, but the big thing for me is who won the game.”

Alex Killorn scored twice during a four-goal second period, and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 18 shots in the final period to hold off the pesky Devils.

“We did bend a little bit in the third but didn't break, so it's a good feeling to be up 2-0,” Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman said. “You've got to win the game. That's the bottom line.”

The Atlantic Division champions scored three times in a 2:47 span in the second period, and the reeling Devils pulled goalie Keith Kinkaid after Killorn's third goal in two games made it 5-1 with 6:48 remaining in the period.

Kinkaid, whose stellar play since January helped New Jersey finish strong and claim its first playoff berth since 2012, yielded five goals on 15 shots.

Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point and Tyler Johnson also scored for Tampa Bay, which is up 2-0 in the series after going 0-2-1 against the Devils during the regular season.

Game 3 is Monday night in Newark, New Jersey.

PREDATORS 5, AVALANCHE 4: In Nashville, Tennessee, Ryan Hartman got a bit nervous with the puck so close to the empty net after a shot by P.K. Subban.

The Nashville forward wound up with not only the first playoff goal of his career but the winner with 1:09 left as the Predators held on for a 2-0 lead in their first-round Western Conference series.

Hartman's goal gave the Predators a 5-3 lead until Alexander Kerfoot pulled Colorado to 5-4 with 35.8 seconds left. But the Avalanche couldn't get another puck past goalie Pekka Rinne.

“I knew he made a shot toward the net, and I just wanted to be there in case he missed the net to beat out the icing,” Hartman said. “Sometimes those pucks don't bounce far enough to the front of the net, luckily it did. Those are the ones you get nervous about, the ones that are laying right there. You just want to make sure you put it in.”

The Presidents' Trophy winners gave up a goal on Colorado's first shot for a second straight game. Yet the Predators rallied again to take their first 2-0 lead when starting a best-of-seven series in their own building.

Kevin Fiala had a goal and an assist, and Viktor Arvidsson, Ryan Johansen and Austin Watson scored a goal apiece. P.K. Subban and Mattias Ekholm each had two assists for Nashville, which has won 12 straight over the Avalanche.

BRUINS 7, MAPLE LEAFS 3: In Boston, David Pastrnak had a hat trick and three assists to help Boston blow out the Toronto Maple Leafs for the second straight game.

Pastrnak shattered his previous career high of four points, scoring his third goal with 1:36 left to bring two trash cans full of caps and winter hats fluttering down to the ice. Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron each had four assists, and Torey Krug had three.

Tuukka Rask stopped 30 shots for Boston, and David Krejci, Rick Nash, Jake DeBrusk and Kevan Miller also scored.

Two nights after Frederik Andersen allowed five goals in the series opener, he gave up three more on five shots in the first 12:13 before he was replaced by backup Curtis McElhinney.

The Bruins added another power-play goal – their second of the night and fifth of the series – to make it 4-0 after one.

Mitch Marner, Tyler Bozak and James Van Riemsdyk scored for the Maple Leafs, who never got closer than three goals down after that. McElhinney stopped 19 of the 23 shots he faced.

The series moves to Toronto for Games 3 and 4 on Monday and Thursday. Game 5 would be back in Boston on Saturday, if necessary.

It doesn't look like it will be.

Already struggling on offense, Toronto lost No. 4 scorer Nazem Kadri for three games when he was suspended by the NHL for boarding Tommy Wingels in Game 1. @Sports roundup body:Wingels, whose injury was not disclosed, skated in practice Saturday but did not play. The Leafs could have used Kadri – and a few other scorers like him.

Pastrnak gave Boston a 1-0 lead five minutes into the game when he corralled a bouncing puck in the slot with his back to the goalie, settled it down, spun around and backhanded it in. After DeBrusk made it 2-0 on the power play four minutes later, Miller bounced one in off the back of Nikita Zaitsev to give the Bruins a three-goal lead.