Predators beat Stars in OT to even series

Craig Smith has a knack for timely goals in the playoffs, and he helped the Nashville Predators avoid a very big hole heading to Dallas.

Smith scored five minutes into overtime to give the Predators a 2-1 victory over the Dallas Stars on Saturday, tying the first-round Western Conference series at 1-1.

The puck popped out around his feet, and he scored his first this postseason from the inside edge of the left circle. That goal snapped a three-game playoff skid on home ice for Nashville.

It was the first postseason overtime goal of Smith’s career, and the third winner of his career in the playoffs. That ties him for the most in Predators’ history, and Smith said it probably was one of his biggest goals.

“It was kind of a delayed reaction,” Smith said. “I think (Stars defenseman Roman) Polak knocked it down and I just tried to get a stick on it and tried to feather it in there. I don’t know how it got through.”

Rocco Grimaldi also scored for Nashville, and Pekka Rinne made 22 saves. The Predators had lost five of their previous six postseason games in the place they call Smashville.

Jamie Benn scored for Dallas, which was outshot 43-23.

Bruins 4, Maple Leafs 1: Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron scored and Tuukka Rask stopped 30 shots to lead host Boston, which tied the Eastern Conference first-round playoff series at one game apiece. Two nights after Toronto won 4-1 in the opener to claim home-ice advantage, the Bruins dominated their Atlantic Division rivals. Boston took a 3-0 lead with a 29-16 edge in shots on goal into the third period. Charlie Coyle and Danton Heinen also scored for the Bruins.

Capitals 4, Hurricanes 3: Brooks Orpik scored less than two minutes into overtime, Alex Ovechkin had two assists and host Washington, the defending Stanley Cup champions, took a 2-0 lead in the East series. Ovechkin assisted on goals by Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson. Braden Holtby stopped 25 shots, and T.J. Oshie also scored. Holtby allowed goals to Lucas Wallmark, Sebastian Aho and Jordan Staal, the last on a Carolina power play with 5 minutes left in regulation.

Briefly: Tampa Bay wing Nikita Kucherov, the NHL’s leadimg scorer, has been suspended for Game 3 of his team’s first-round series with Columbus on Sunday for boarding defenseman Markus Nutivaara late in Game 2. The top-seeded Lightning trail 2-0 in the series. … Oilers center Connor McDavid, who hurt his knee when he crashed into the net in his team’s season finale, has a small tendon tear but won’t need surgery, Canada’s Sportsnet reported.

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