The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 8- 2, the Boston Bruins topped the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 in double overtime and the Los Angeles Kings beat the San Jose Sharks 3-1.
The Capitals, who have allowed the fewest goals of any team in the postseason at eight, won the best-of-seven series with a record of four games to one over the Rangers. Earlier, the Detroit Red Wings swept the Phoenix Coyotes to advance to the second round of the playoffs.
“I liked the way we suffocated them,” Brooks Laich told reporters. “We were systematic, we didn’t give them any room to breathe or any reason to hope that they might be able to come back.”
Mike Green, Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin scored goals for the Capitals on their home ice at Verizon Center.
Wojtek Wolski got a goal for the Rangers with 32 seconds left in the game. New York is 198-216-8 all-time in 422 playoff contests and 15-19 all-time in 34 postseason contests against Washington.
“We’re still in the process, so we just keep on going, trying to get better,” said John Tortorella, who became the Rangers’ coach during the 2008-09 season. “I don’t think our team has been built yet.”
At Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, the Lightning beat the Penguins to avoid elimination from the first round.
Simon Gagne, Steven Stamkos and Pavel Kubina scored two goals each as the Lightning pulled within 3-2 in their Eastern Conference series. Vincent Lecavalier and Dominic Moore also scored for Tampa Bay, which needs to win Game 6 on home ice tomorrow to stay in the playoffs.
At TD Garden in Boston, the Bruins took a 3-2 lead in their series when Nathan Horton’s goal at nine minutes, three seconds into the second overtime gave them the win.
The game was scoreless through the first two periods, with Brad Marchand scoring for Boston at 4:33 of the third period and Jeff Halpern getting a goal nine minutes later for the Canadiens who will be eliminated if they lose Game 6 on home ice April 26.
At HP Pavilion in San Jose, California, Wayne Simmonds, Kyle Clifford and Dustin Penner scored in the first nine minutes for the Kings, who avoided elimination with their win. Patrick Marleau got a goal in the second period for the Sharks, who hold a 3-2 lead in the series and travel to Los Angeles for Game 6 tomorrow.
In today’s sixth game for each team, the Buffalo Sabres can eliminate the Philadelphia Flyers with a win on home ice; the Nashville Predators can advance to round two with a victory over the Anaheim Ducks; and the top-seeded Vancouver Canucks travel to Chicago where they can knock out the Blackhawks with a win.
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