Sat, Apr 27, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Bruins, Blues off to winning start

AP, BOSTON

Sean Kuraly of the Boston Bruins, center, fights for the puck with the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 1 of their second-round playoff series on Thursday in Boston, Massachusetts.

Photo: AFP

Charlie Coyle was not thinking about his first goal, which tied things up at the end of regulation, or his second, which won it in overtime.

What was weighing on him was the time he coughed up the puck and handed Columbus a goal, even though he redeemed himself by leading Boston to a 3-2 victory in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals on Thursday.

Asked about his two late goals, Coyle said: “I had a costly turnover in the third period. You can’t have that during the game.”

“I’m just relieved we got the win,” he added. “I didn’t really care who scored.”

Coyle tied the game in the final five minutes of regulation and scored again with 5 minutes, 15 seconds gone in overtime to help the Bruins take the opener of the series and send Columbus to their first loss of the playoffs.

Tuukka Rask stopped 20 shots for Boston, who took a 1-0 lead on Noel Acciari’s short-handed goal in the first period, then fell behind in the third after Brandon Dubinsky and Pierre-Luc Dubois scored in a span of 13 seconds.

“I think we know how to respond to that. We didn’t get rattled,” Rask said. “We felt like we were going to get it back, and we did.”

A native of nearby East Weymouth who was acquired at the trading deadline from the Minnesota Wild, Coyle said that when he would play street hockey on the cul-de-sac where he lived he used to imagine himself coming through for his hometown team.

“You always think about that stuff,” he said. “I’m sure we’ve all done that. It’s pretty cool to be living it.”

Game 2 is tonight in Boston before the series moves to Columbus for Games 3 and 4.

“You can’t simulate a playoff game, especially a second-round playoff game against a really good team like that,” Dubinsky said. “I figured we’d come out with a little rust. Obviously, we need to be sharper.”

And the Bruins did not seem tired, outshooting Columbus 12-1 early in the game and scoring short-handed midway through the first after Coyle was sent off for hooking.

BLUES 3, STARS 2

Vladimir Tarasenko added to his growing playoff resume by scoring two goals as the St Louis Blues beat the Dallas Stars 3-2 in Game 1 of their Western Conference semi-final series.

Robby Fabbri also scored and Jordan Binnington made 27 saves for the Blues, who had lost three of four to Dallas during the regular season.

It was Tarasenko’s seventh career multi-goal game in the post-season, tying him with Bernie Federko for second-most in franchise history.

“Just God-given talent,” Blues coach Craig Berube said. “He’s a powerful guy that can skate. When he drives wide like that he’s really tough to handle.”

Jason Spezza and Jamie Benn scored for the Stars. Ben Bishop made 17 saves.

Game 2 is today in St Louis, Missouri, before the series moves to Dallas for the third and fourth games of the series.

Tarasenko’s power-play goal with 1 minute, 57 seconds left in the second broke a 1-1 tie. It was the first power-play goal in 17 chances allowed by the Stars this post-season.

“We talk a lot about the power play and we work on it in practice, and I will say that the hard work pays off and good thing it works,” Tarasenko said.

Stars coach Jim Montgomery said that Tarasenko was the difference.

“Well, I mean he’s an elite player, he’s an elite goalscorer,” Montgomery said. “He did it to us in St Louis earlier in the year, so I do think that’s an area where we need to get better is being a little harder on their best players.”

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