A goal by Washington’s Troy Brouwer with 1 minute, 27 seconds left gave the Capitals a 4-3 victory over the Boston Bruins on Saturday, moving the defending NHL champions a loss away from playoff elimination.
Brouwer gave the Capitals a 3-2 series lead with his second goal of the playoffs, beating Tim Thomas over the glove with a wrist shot.
Alexander Semin and Jay Beagle scored in the second period to give Washington a 2-0 lead, before Dennis Seidenberg and Brad Marchand tied it with goals in a 28-second span late in the period. Washington regained the lead early in the third period when Mike Knuble scored off a rebound, only for Johnny Boychuk to tie it again.
The Bruins have been in this predicament before. They trailed the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 last year in the Stanley Cup finals, then won the last two games on the road to capture their first title since 1972.
The Capitals were in a position to wrap up the best-of-seven series at home yesterday.
BLACKHAWKS 2, COYOTES 1, OT
In Glendale, Arizona, Jonathan Toews scored 2:44 into overtime to give Chicago victory over Phoenix, cutting the series deficit to 3-2 and extending the run of overtime games in the series to five.
The Blackhawks came up with a tying goal in the third period for the fourth time in the series, though this one came a little earlier than the others with Nick Leddy scoring at 9:15.
Toews scored the OT winner, beating Mike Smith stick side.
Chicago, which rallied from a 3-0 deficit to force Game 7 against Vancouver in the second round last season, will have a chance to even this series in Game 6 today in Chicago.
Gilbert Brule scored in the second period for Phoenix.
PANTHERS 3, DEVILS 0
In Sunrise, Florida, Kris Versteeg scored a goal and set up another as Florida beat New Jersey and closed in on their first playoff series win for 16 years.
Jose Theodore made 30 saves for his second playoff shutout and Scottie Upshall also scored for Florida, which leads the Eastern Conference first-round series 3-2.
Tomas Kopecky was credited with an empty-net goal with 34 seconds left, after Ilya Kovalchuk impeded his clear path to the net.
Martin Brodeur made 30 saves for New Jersey, which host a win-or-else Game 6 tomorrow. If necessary, Game 7 will be in Florida on Thursday.
SENATORS 2, RANGERS 0
In New York, Ottawa pushed New York to the brink of elimination, taking a 3-2 series advantage.
Goalie Craig Anderson stopped 41 shots, while Jason Spezza scored both goals — one in the first period and an empty-netter in the final minute.
The Senators, the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference, will have a chance to knock out the Rangers today in Ottawa. If New York can stay alive, the deciding Game 7 would be back at Madison Square Garden on Thursday.
Anderson was perfect in earning his second career NHL playoff shutout.
He stood tall in the third period when the Rangers pressed for the tying goal. Since New York took a 2-0 lead in Game 4, Anderson has gone 116 minutes, 32 seconds without allowing a goal.
Henrik Lundqvist was nearly as good in making 28 saves for New York.
BLUES 3, SHARKS 1
In St Louis, Missouri, the hosts booked their place in the second round by beating San Jose in five games.
Jamie Langenbrunner and David Perron scored in a 45-second span in the third period and Andy McDonald wrapped it up with an empty-net goal in the final minute as the Blues recovered from falling behind to Joe Thornton’s second-minute goal for the Sharks.