x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

NHL play-offs: Boston Bruins ruin Toronto's party

Return of play-off ice hockey for the first time since 2004 spoiled as Maple Leafs are beaten.

Boston Bruins won in front of Toronto Maple Leafs' 19,746 fans assembled inside the Air Canada Centre. Claus Andersen / Getty Images / AFP
Boston Bruins won in front of Toronto Maple Leafs' 19,746 fans assembled inside the Air Canada Centre. Claus Andersen / Getty Images / AFP

Boston spoiled the return of NHL play-off ice hockey to Toronto, scoring two quick goals in the second period in a victory over the Maple Leafs.

Adam McQuaid, Rich Peverley, Nathan Horton, Daniel Paille and David Krejci, with an empty-net goal with 1:17 remaining, scored for Boston.

The win came before 19,746 fans inside the Air Canada Centre. Outside, a blue-and-white throng watched on a big screen in Maple Leaf Square as play-off ice hockey returned to Toronto for the first time since 2004.

After being beaten 4-2 in Boston on Saturday night, the Bruins upped their game. The Leafs, meanwhile, made mistakes and were punished, although they tried to close the gap with a busy third period in which they outshot the visitors 18-6. The Leafs finished with a 47-38 edge in shots.

Game 4 is on Wednesday in Toronto, with Boston leading 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

The dominant line of Milan Lucic, Krejci and Horton finished with two goals and six assists. They have combined for 17 points through the first three post-season games, with five goals and 12 assists.

Jake Gardiner and Phil Kessel replied for Toronto in a physical game.

New York Rangers 4, Washington Capitals 3

Derek Stepan and Arron Asham both scored tie-breaking goals in the third period for the New York Rangers in a 4-3 victory over the Washington Capitals in Game 3 on Monday.

The Rangers finally found their offence and got back into their first-round play-off series. New York still trail 2-1 in the Eastern Conference series, with Game 4 on Wednesday night.

Stepan gave the Rangers the lead for good with 6:25 remaining when he deftly tipped in a pass in front from Rick Nash. Asham had put New York in front 3-2 at 2:53, but Jay Beagle got the Capitals even again 4:26 later.

Derick Brassard had a goal and two assists for the Rangers, who managed only one goal in the first two losses in Washington and had not scored since the first period of Game 1 – a scoreless stretch of 124 minutes, 6 seconds. That streak was broken by Brian Boyle's first-period goal that made it 1-1.

Detroit Red Wings 3, Anaheim Ducks 2

Damien Brunner scored with 4:50 left in overtime, lifting Detroit to a series-evening win over Anaheim.

Detroit defenceman Jakub Kindl started the winning sequence, passing the puck from behind Detroit's net up the ice to Joakim Andersson. He tried to connect with teammate Gustav Nyquist only to have Hiller poke the puck away.

Brunner, playing in his first NHL season, was in perfect position in front of the net and swatted in the puck to end the game.

Game 5 is on Wednesday night in Anaheim and Game 6 is back in the Motor City on Friday night.

During the Red Wings' run of playing in 22 straight post-seasons, they have won 11 of 19 series that were tied at 2-2.

Pavel Datsyuk scored a second tying goal for the Red Wings with 6:33 left in regulation. Brendan Smith made it 1-1 early in the third.

Matt Beleskey gave the Ducks their first lead 5:07 into the game and David Steckel put them ahead midway through the third period.

Hiller, who shut out Detroit in Game 3, stopped the first 32 shots and finished with 46 saves. Jimmy Howard had 31 saves for the Red Wings.

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