The Blue Jackets extended their postseason mastery of Tampa Bay, beating the NHL’s best regular-season team 3-1 on Sunday night in Columbus, Ohio, to take a 3-0 lead in the Eastern Conference first-round playoff series.
Matt Duchene, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Cam Atkinson scored, and Sergei Bobrovsky fended off a third-period charge to finish with 30 saves for the Blue Jackets, who will try to win a playoff series for the first time in franchise history when they host Game 4 on Tuesday.
“You don’t get to this time of year without a really good goalie to get in, and you don’t win playoff games without your goalie, so I thought he stood really big in those 10, 12 minutes there where they turned it up,” Columbus head coach John Tortorella said of Bobrovsky. “Bob doesn’t say anything. He just goes about his business. The way he prepares is second to none. We’re going to need him, because there’s going to be another push in Game 4.”
Without their top scorer, the suspended Nikita Kucherov, and injured defenseman Victor Hedman, the Lightning couldn’t find any momentum until late in the final period.
“As far as I know, we’re playing Tuesday,” Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper said, “so were still alive.”
Islanders 4, Penguins 1: Jordan Eberle scored for the third straight game and Robin Lehner stopped 25 shots as visiting New York beat Pittsburgh to take a 3-0 lead in the East series. The Penguins need to win Tuesday to avoid being swept for the first time since the 2013 Eastern Conference finals against Boston. “You’ve got to find ways to score goals this time of year,” Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby said. “It’s not easy, but you’ve got to find a way to do it and obviously we haven’t done a good job of it through the first three games.”
Jets 6, Blues 3: Kyle Connor scored twice and Patrik Laine had a goal and an assist as visiting Winnipeg trimmed its deficit in the Western Conference first-round series to 2-1. Kevin Hayes, Brandon Tanev and Dustin Byfuglien also scored and Connor Hellebuyck made 25 saves for the Jets, who can even the series with a win Tuesday in St. Louis.
Briefly: Toronto forward Nazem Kadri will have a meeting with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety on Monday after cross-checking Boston forward Jake DeBrusk in the face Saturday night, the Canadian website TSN reported. … Colorado defenseman Samuel Girard’s status for Game 3 of a West series with Calgary on Monday is unclear after Girard suffered a shoulder injury Saturday in Game 2.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sharks/article/Blue-Jackets-push-Lightning-to-brink-with-Game-3-13767421.php.