The Boston Bruins advanced to the second round of playoffs for the first time since 1999, brushing aside the Montreal Canadiens 4-1 on Wednesday to sweep their best-of-seven series.
Former Canadien Michael Ryder scored twice to help the top-seeded Bruins end a stretch of five straight playoff series defeats — three of them at the hands of the Canadiens.
“It’s definitely a good feeling to beat your old team here in Montreal and make it the last one,” Ryder, a free agent signing by Boston, told reporters. “I kind of actually forgot about what happened last year. I’m a Bruin now and it’s a lot of fun.”
Tim Thomas had 26 saves in the triumph while David Krejci and Philip Kessel completed the scoring for Boston to clinch the 4-0 series victory.
FLAMES 6, BLACKHAWKS 4
At Calgary, Alberta, Eric Nystrom scored off a rebound with 6:56 remaining as Calgary to bear Chicago and even the best-of-seven series 2-2.
Nystrom also had two assists, Olli Jokinen scored the first two goals of his playoff career, Jarome Iginla completed a two-goal game with an empty-netter, and Adrian Aucoin added a goal for the Flames, 4-2 winners Monday night at home after dropping the first two games in Chicago.
Patrick Kane, Kris Versteeg, Cam Barker and Samuel Pahlsson scored for Chicago.
Game 5 is tomorrow night in Chicago.
RANGERS 2, CAPITALS 1
In New York, Henrik Lundqvist made 38 saves as the New York Rangers put the favored Washington Capitals on the brink of elimination from the playoffs with a 2-1 victory.
Lundqvist, who had a 1-0 win in Game 2, was on top of his game all night as the Capitals controlled play from the second period to the end — outshooting New York 39-21. But it’s the Rangers who hold a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Paul Mara staked the Rangers to the lead with 6:05 left in the first period, scoring just the second goal against Simeon Varlamov, the Russian rookie who has stopped 75 of 78 shots since taking over for Jose Theodore after New York’s 4-3 win in Game 1.
Chris Drury added his first goal of the series for the seventh-seeded Rangers.
Varlamov got Washington back into the series with a 4-0 win on Monday but now the Capitals — the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference — could be out of the playoffs today when they host Game 5.
Alex Ovechkin scored for Washington early in the third period.