Bruins, Hurricanes, Canucks and Avalanche look to advance to second round of the NHL playoffs

When Andrew Brunette was playing for Minnesota, the Wild worked their way back from two separate 3-games-to-1 deficits to win playoff series.

Now he will try to lead Nashville to a comeback from the bench.

The Predators trail Vancouver 3-1 in their first-round series, with a chance for the Canucks to advance in Game 5. The Bruins, Hurricanes and Avalanche can also move on with victories on Tuesday night.

Brunette said his team has been playing well enough to win.

“The hockey gods may … give you a little bit of a break here,” said the first-year coach, who was with Minnesota in 2003 when the Wild rallied against Colorado in the first round and Vancouver in the second to reach their only conference final.

PREDATORS at CANUCKS, Vancouver leads 3-1, 10 p.m. (TBS)

The Canucks can clinch a series and advance on home ice, something they haven’t done since they beat San Jose in five games to win the Western Conference title in 2011. Vancouver last reached the second round in 2020 in the Edmonton bubble.

Vancouver coach Rick Tocchet would like to finish things off now.

“If we’re not ready for it, you know we might not be able to be as resilient the next game,” he said.

The Predators went 24-14-3 on the road in the regular season and won Game 2 in Vancouver. But they are 6-15 in elimination games and haven’t won a postseason series since 2018, when they won the Presidents’ Trophy and reached the second round.

MAPLE LEAFS at BRUINS, Boston leads 3-1, 7 p.m. (ESPN)

Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe says the team is “hopeful” NHL goal-scoring leader Auston Matthews will be available when the series returns to Boston. Matthews was not on the ice for practice on Tuesday, two days after he was pulled in the second period of a 3-1 loss.

Matthews scored 69 goals in the regular season and had the Game 2 winner for the Maple Leafs. He had just four shots combined in Games 3 and 4 while dealing with an unspecified illness. The Leafs were also without No. 2 scorer William Nylander for the first three games of the series.

The Bruins appear to have abandoned their plan to alternate goalies after just one rotation.

After Jeremy Swayman started the Game 1 victory, Linus Ullmark was in the net for Game 2, which Boston lost. Swayman took his regular turn in Game 3 and was back on the ice for the fourth game, when Boston took a 3-1 lead in the series.

Ullmark greeted a crowd of reporters at his locker on Tuesday by joking, “I’m just the backup.”

“There’s a reason why I’m here today and it’s not being a sulky little crybaby about not playing. I try to stay professional, supporting the guys,” he said. “I’m trying to be positive and support him, obviously. If I’m not supporting my guy, I’m not supporting the team. And if I’m not supporting the team I’m not supporting him. It goes hand in hand.”

ISLANDERS at HURRICANES, Carolina leads 3-1, 7:30 p.m. (TBS)

The Carolina Hurricanes get a second chance to close out the New York Islanders on Tuesday after losing in double overtime as they went for a sweep. Doing a better job on faceoffs could help.

The Hurricanes won just 35% of their faceoffs in the past two games, by far the lowest percentage of any playoff team in road games so far. The Islanders won 48 of 71 faceoffs in Game 4 to extend the series.

“For me personally, sometimes it’s almost like you try too hard,” the Canes’ Sebastian Aho said Monday. “It’s you’ve got to get in there in the circle and just be confident about it. Obviously, all the centers have done it enough times to know that sometimes it goes like that. But obviously we’ve got to be better in that department.”

The Islanders will be without forward Matt Martin for the second straight game due to an unspecified injury.

AVALANCHE at JETS, Colorado leads 3-1, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)

The Jets have a sticky situation in net given the struggles of Vezina Trophy-favorite Connor Hellebuyck. He has allowed 19 goals through four games in the series. Hellebuyck was replaced by Laurent Brossoit for the third period in Game 4 on Sunday after surrendering four goals on 30 shots.

Jets coach Rick Bowness said after the game the change was simply to give Hellebuyck a breather. He defended his goaltender, who had a 2.39 goals-against average in the regular season but a 5.22 mark in the Colorado series.

“That’s not on him whatsoever,” Bowness said. “That’s on the players in front of him.”

Winnipeg defenseman Brenden Dillon is recovering from a cut to his hand during a scrum following the final horn in Colorado’s 6-2 win Friday. He received stitches and missed Sunday’s game. The Jets’ Vladislav Namestnikov also broke a cheekbone in Sunday’s 5-1 loss after being hit by the puck in the left side of his face.

For the Avalanche, it’s all about staying focused in the potentially series-clinching game.

“I don’t have to go tell them, ‘Hey, this is a big one. We need to win this game,’” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “This is the playoffs, and we have to have a killer instinct here and go play, put our best foot forward again for another game.”


AP Sports Writers Aaron Beard, Pat Graham and Teresa Walker and The Canadian Press contributed to this story.


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