Blues Reach Round Two; Top-Seeded Rangers Near Elimination

The St. Louis Blues advanced to the second round in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup playoffs with a 3-1 win over the San Jose Sharks, while the top- seeded New York Rangers near elimination.

The Ottawa Senators defeated the Eastern Conference-leading Rangers 2-0 yesterday; the Washington Capitals topped the Boston Bruins 4-3; the Florida Panthers beat the New Jersey Devils 3-0. The winners all have 3-2 leads in their best-of-seven series.

The Chicago Blackhawks avoided elimination with a 2-1 win in overtime against the Phoenix Coyotes, who take a 3-2 lead in their series to Chicago tomorrow for Game 6. Jonathan Toews got the winning goal 2 minutes, 44 seconds into overtime.

Gilbert Brule scored his first playoff goal to give the Coyotes a 1-0 lead in the second period, while Nick Leddy’s initial playoff goal tied the score at 1-1 midway through the third period at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Arizona.

At Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Jamie Langenbrunner, David Perron and Andy McDonald each scored a goal in the final period for the Blues. Joe Thornton gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead with 41 seconds left in the second period.

Senators’ Jason Spezza scored his first two playoff goals as Ottawa shut out the Rangers at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Spezza hit the net midway through the first period and again with 54 seconds left in the game.

‘Things Happen’

“Things happen for a reason and these types of situations, as you continue to go further in the playoffs, help you,” Rangers coach John Tortorella told reporters. “I couldn’t be happier as far as how hard we played. I thought we re-identified ourselves as a team.”

The Rangers visit the Senators tomorrow when they will try to avoid elimination with a Game 6 victory.

“It’s been a tight series all along, so we have to regroup and we have to sit down and talk about a few things and get ready,” said Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who had 28 saves. “This is far from over.”

At TD Garden in Boston, Troy Brouwer broke a 3-3 tie to give the Capitals the winning goal with 87 seconds left in the third period. Washington had a 2-0 lead with goals by Alexander Semin and Jay Beagle in the second period until Dennis Seidenberg and Brad Marchand answered with Bruin scores 28 seconds apart to tie the game at 2-2.

Johnny Boychuk tied the game again in the third period five minutes after Mike Knuble gave the Capitals a 3-2 advantage.

The Capitals host the Bruins today as they seek to win the series in Game 6.

At BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida, Kris Versteeg, Scottie Upshall and Tomas Kopecky gave the Panthers their shutout against the Devils.

The Panthers visit the Devils where they will try to eliminate New Jersey in Game 6.

In other games today, the Philadelphia Flyers hold a 3-2 series advantage as they host the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Los Angeles Kings try to advance to round two with a victory over the Vancouver Canucks in Game 5 on home ice.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nancy Kercheval in Washington at nkercheval@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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