Islanders top Panthers 5-1 to advance in playoff prelims

TORONTO (AP) — Anthony Beauvillier scored twice, and the New York Islanders beat the Florida Panthers 5-1 to clinch an NHL best-of-five preliminary round playoff series in four games on Friday.

Brock Nelson and Mathew Barzal had a goal and assist each in a game the Islanders never trailed. Defenseman Ryan Pulock made a diving stick save to prevent Florida’s Aleksander Barkov from scoring into an open side to maintain New York’s 3-1 lead midway through the second period.

Semyon Varlamov stopped 24 shots, Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored an empty-netter, and the Eastern Conference’s seventh-seeded Islanders bounced back from a 3-2 loss in Game 3 on Wednesday. New York will open the best-of-seven first-round series against a yet to be determined opponent next week.

Mike Hoffman scored his Florida-leading third goal and fifth point of the series, while Sergei Bobrovsky proved inconsistent in stopping 33 shots. The 10th-seeded Panthers wound up one-and-done for their fifth consecutive postseason appearance.

COYOTES 4, PREDATORS 3

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Brad Richardson scored on a rebound in overtime, Darcy Kuemper stopped 49 shots and Arizona advanced in the postseason for the first time in eight years.

The Coyotes, the Western Conference’s No. 11 seed, took a 2-0 lead early in the second period. But they allowed Nashville to tie it before going ahead 3-2 on Jordan Oesterle’s goal early in the third. Nashville pulled goalie Juuse Saros late in the period and Filip Forsberg tied it with 32 seconds left.

Richardson won it after he redirected Vinnie Hinostroz’s shot and punched in the rebound past Saros to help the Coyotes win the Stanley Cup qualifier series 3-1.

Michael Grabner and Phil Kessel also scored for Arizona, which faces Colorado or Vegas in the next round after advancing in the postseason for the first time since reaching the 2012 Western Conference finals.

Viktor Arvidsson scored for the third straight game before taking a shot to the ribs and leaving late in the second period. Matt Duchene also scored and Saros stopped 30 shots for the Predators, who bowed out of the postseason as the West’s No. 6 seed.

CANADIENS 2, PENGUINS 0

TORONTO (AP) — Artturi Lehkonen flipped a shot past Tristan Jarry with 4:11 remaining to lift Montreal to a stunning victory and clinching the Canadiens’ first playoff berth in three years.

Shea Weber added an empty-net goal in the final seconds as the 12th-seeded Canadiens captured the best-of-five qualifying round over fifth-seeded Pittsburgh in four games. Carey Price stopped 22 shots to collect his sixth career playoff shutout. Montreal will advance to the first round of the playoffs against either Tampa Bay or Philadelphia.

Tristan Jarry made 20 saves in his first career playoff start, including a stellar glove save to thwart a breakaway by Montreal’s Brendan Gallagher early in the third period. Pittsburgh’s star-laden lineup, including captain Sidney Crosby, provided little support.

BLACKHAWKS 3, OILERS 1

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Brandon Saad, Matthew Highmore and Dominik Kubalik scored and Chicago beat Edmonton, knocking the Oilers out of the postseason tournament.

The Blackhawks won the best-of-five qualifying series 3-1. Chicago advances to the round of 16.

Josh Archibald and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored for Edmonton.

The Oilers had been expected to beat Chicago, given they were the fifth-seeded team in the Western Conference tournament and the Hawks were the bottom seed at 12.

Corey Crawford made 41 saves for the win. Mikko Koskinen stopped 25 in the loss.

MAPLE LEAFS 4, BLUE JACKETS 3 OT

TORONTO (AP) — Auston Matthews scored on a power play 13:10 into overtime and the Toronto rallied from a three-goal deficit in the third period to beat Columbus, tying the best-of-five qualifying series at two wins apiece.

The Leafs scored three times in 3:34 to knot the score late in a game that Columbus and goalie Elvis Merzlikins had largely controlled until then.

This time, with Nick Foligno in the penalty box for tripping, Matthews beat Elvis Merzlikins from the right circle to push the series to a decisive Game 5 on Sunday.

William Nylander, John Tavares and Zach Hyman scored in the third period to set up Matthews’ heroics. Frederik Andersen had 36 saves.

Cam Atkinson, Vladislav Gavrikov and Boone Jenner scored for Columbus, and Merzlikins, who started his first playoff game, recorded 49 saves.

CANUCKS 5, WILD 4, OT

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Christopher Tanev’s slap shot just 11 seconds into overtime gave Vancouver a victory over Minnesota and a win in the best-of-five Western Conference qualifying round series in four games.

Tanev’s snipe from just in front of the blue line zipped through traffic and beat Stalock stick side to give the Canucks their first postseason series win since 2013. This is the first time in five years that Vancouver has reached the playoffs.

Bo Horvat, left alone in front as he crashed the net, scored for Vancouver off a feed from Tanner Pearson with 5:46 left in regulation — the third tying goal of the game for the Canucks.

Pearson, Brandon Sutter and Quinn Hughes also scored as Vancouver kept attacking a Wild defense missing stalwart Ryan Suter and wore down goalie Alex Stalock to erase leads of 1-0, 3-1 and 4-3.

Luke Kunin, Eric Staal, Joel Eriksson Ek and Nico Sturm had the goals for the Wild, who squandered their two-goal advantage over a 3:05 span midway through the second period.

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