PITTSBURGH (AP)Danton Heinen’s first playoff goal in three years just past the midway point of the third period broke a tie to lift the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 7-4 victory over the New York Rangers on Saturday night to take a 2-1 lead in their first-round Eastern Conference series.
Pittsburgh blew a three-goal first-period lead but recovered behind the play of third-string goaltender Louis Domingue and Heinen, who jumped on a loose puck near the New York goal line and flicked a shot by Alexandar Georgiev 11:02 into the third.
Evan Rodrigues had two goals and assisted on another for the Penguins, who won despite any member of the top line of Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust not recording a point until Guentzel’s empty-netter with 2:14 to play sealed it. Jeff Carter also scored twice for the Penguins while Brock McGinn started the scoring on a wild night with his first goal of the playoffs.
Domingue made 32 saves and even recorded an assist in his second playoff start.
Kaapo Kakko, Frank Vatrano, Artemi Panarin and Andrew Copp scored for the Rangers. Georgiev finished with 19 saves on 20 shots after taking over for Vezina Trophy-favorite Igor Shesterkin, who was chased after allowing four goals in the first period.
Game 4 is Monday night in Pittsburgh.
AVALANCHE 7, PREDATORS 3
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Gabriel Landeskog scored twice in the second period, and top-seeded Colorado took a commanding 3-0 lead in the first-round Western Conference series.
Landeskog also had two assists. Nazem Kadri and Devon Toews each added a goal and an assist, and Artturi Lehkonen and Nathan MacKinnon scored a power-play goal apiece as Colorado went 4 for 5 on the man advantage to push Nashville to the brink of elimination. Cale Makar had three assists.
Valeri Nichushkin added an empty-net goal with 2:46 left. The Avs had a couple missed opportunities once Nashville pulled goalie Connor Ingram with more than 4 minutes remaining.
Avalanche goalie Darcy Kuemper was hurt with a minute left in the first period. Pavel Francouz replaced him and made 18 saves in his seventh playoff appearance of his career.
Matt Duchene, Eeli Tolvanen and captain Roman Josi each scored goals for Nashville. Alexandre Carrier had two assists.
Game 4 is Monday night.
CAPITALS 6, PANTHERS 1
WASHINGTON (AP) – Ilya Samsonov rebounded after allowing an early goal to make 29 saves, and Washington bounced back to take a 2-1 series lead against Presidents’ Trophy-winning Florida.
Alex Ovechkin scored a power-play goal and assisted on another and the Capitals blew out the Panthers in Game 3. Chants of ”Sammy! Sammy!” gave way to ”Ovi! Ovi! in the third period of the convincing victory.
T.J. Oshie deflected Ovechkin’s shot for one power-play goal, and Marcus Johansson, Trevor van Riemsdyk and Garnet Hathaway also scored for the Capitals, who shook off a 5-1 loss in Game 2 and an early deficit in Game 3.
Jonathan Huberdeau gave Florida a 1-0 lead less than three minutes in, and Sergei Bobrovsky had 25 saves.
Game 4 is Monday in Washington.
STARS 4, FLAMES 2
DALLAS (AP) – Joe Pavelski scored twice and got the game-winner on the first power-play goal in the series as Dallas took a 2-1 lead in the first-round Western Conference playoff series.
The Stars were 0 for 10 with an extra skater, though one of those power plays had been for only 4 seconds earlier in Game 3, before Pavelski’s tiebreaking goal with 9:55 left made it 3-2.
Radek Faksa scored the first goal for Dallas, and Roope Hintz added an empty-net tally just before the final buzzer. Miro Heiskanen had two assists.
Jake Oettinger, the 23-year-old goalie for the Stars, had 39 saves in his first playoff game at home. It came two nights after his 29 saves in a 2-0 win at Calgary that evened the series.
Elias Lindholm and Trevor Lewis had goals for Calgary.
Game 4 is Monday night in Dallas, before the series shifts back to Canada for Game 5 on Wednesday.
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