Defending Stanley Cup champions the Boston Bruins staved off elimination from the playoffs with a 4-3 overtime win over the Washington Capitals on Sunday, while the Philadelphia Flyers and the Los Angeles Kings advanced with wins over the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Vancouver Canucks.
Tyler Seguin came to Boston’s rescue, storming into the Washington end and using a nifty shoulder deke to fool Capitals’ rookie goalie Braden Holtby, before sliding home the game-winner a little over three minutes into overtime.
Seguin, who led the Bruins in scoring during the regular season, looked forward to home-ice advantage in the series decider at Boston’s TD Garden.
“A couple of days off, play at home and get the Garden rocking,” Seguin said in a televised interview at Washington’s Verizon Center. “It’s going to be good.”
Seguin’s goal, his first of the post-season, tied the series at 3-3 and it set up a Game 7 showdown tomorrow in Boston to determine the winner of their Eastern Conference first-round series.
Boston led 3-2 on goals from Rich Peverley, David Krejic and Andrew Ference, while Mike Green and Jason Chimera replied for the Capitals.
With five minutes remaining in the third period, Washington forced overtime when Nicklas Backstrom won a faceoff that sent the puck to Alex Ovechkin, who coolly kicked the puck to his stick and beat Boston goalie Tim Thomas with a slapshot.
The Kings completed a stunning first-round series triumph over Western Conference top seeds Vancouver with a 2-1 overtime win.
Jarret Stoll grabbed a turnover in Vancouver’s zone and finished a two-on-one break himself for the game-winning goal as the Kings took the best-of-seven series 4-1.
It was the Kings’ first post-season series win in 11 years and it set up a second-round matchup with the St Louis Blues.
“That feels great. A lot of pride in our organization and our uniform,” Stoll said. “We have to keep going and make our own history. Once the regular season is over, that eighth seed is out of the window.”
In Philadelphia, Claude Giroux made sure the Flyers booked a ticket to the next round for the third consecutive season with a goal and two assists in a 5-1 victory over Pittsburgh that wrapped up the series 4-2.
Giroux set the tone early, dumping Sidney Crosby to the ice with a hard check after the opening faceoff, before stealing the puck from Steve Sullivan and going in for the opening goal just 32 seconds into the game.
“Usually we never get a good start,” Giroux said. “I was trying to start the team up. I was able to get a little hit on him [Crosby] and kind of get the guys going.”
Scott Hartnell and Erik Gustafsson gave the home team a 3-0 lead, before Evgeni Malkin put the Penguins on the board.
Danny Briere and Brayden Schenn rounded off the scoring to put the icing on the victory.
Giroux set the Flyers’ franchise record for points in a playoff series, finishing with 14 in six games, two ahead of the previous mark shared by Briere (2010) and Bill Barber (1980).