The Detroit Red Wings became the first team to reach the second round of the National Hockey League playoffs, while the New York Rangers moved to the brink of elimination with a double-overtime loss to the Washington Capitals after giving up a three-goal lead.
The Red Wings beat the Phoenix Coyotes 6-3 to sweep their best-of-seven Western Conference series 4-0.
At New York’s Madison Square Garden, the Capitals allowed three goals in the second period, then tied it with three of their own in the third. Jason Chimera got the winner in the second overtime period to give the Capitals a 4-3 win and a 3-1 lead in games in the series. Washington can close out the series with a home win in Game 5 on April 23.
“That was a fabulous hockey game, two warrior teams going at it and leaving nothing,” Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. “This has been a hell of a series so far. I don’t anticipate anything different on Saturday.”
The Rangers opened the scoring 5:24 into the second period through Artem Anisimov. Eight minutes later, Marian Gaborik and Brandon Dubinsky scored within seven seconds of each other to make it 3-0 for New York.
The score didn’t change until 2:47 into the third period, when Alexander Semin got the Capitals on the scoreboard. Marcus Johansson scored Washington’s second goal 57 seconds later and Johansson got his second goal of the game to tie it at 3-3 with 7:53 to play.
Chimera scored the game winner 12:36 into the second 20-minute overtime period.
“We looked nervous,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said. “We got beat by a goal that is a nothing goal. It is just a nothing play that turns into something -- obviously something big.”
At Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Arizona, Daniel Cleary scored 13:41 into the third period to give the Red Wings a 4-3 advantage. Todd Bertuzzi extended the lead to two goals less than two minutes later and Patrick Eaves got his second goal with 36 seconds left to play.
Also last night, Jason Pominville got the only goal at HSBC Arena in Buffalo as the Buffalo Sabres tied their series against the Philadelphia Flyers at two games each.
James Neal scored to break a 2-2 tie in double overtime as the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 to take a 3-1 lead in games in their series.
Corey Perry scored a goal 1:17 into the third period to snap a 3-3 tie as the Anaheim Ducks beat the Nashville Predators 6-3 to tie their series at two games apiece.
Boston plays tonight at Montreal, which holds a 2-1 series lead. Defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago is at Vancouver trying to avoid elimination by the Canucks, who lead 3-1 in their series. San Jose has a 2-1 series lead as it heads into Game 4 tonight in Los Angeles.